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Ricotta Gnocchi with Fresh Tomatoes, Spinach & Chicken Sausage

A few things are worth noting about this dish:

  1. It's made with mostly kitchen staples. Yay!

  2. It's super fresh and super delicious. Double Yay!

  3. Ricotta gnocchi is not only easier to make than potato gnocchi, it's just as tasty, too! Mmmhmm...yay

Here's the thing: I made this with a variety of different tomatoes to add different textures and slightly different flavors. I highly recommend going this route, but don't feel like you need to rush to the store or anything. Any kind of tomatoes will work - just make sure you use a lot of them! :)

The combination of fresh tomatoes, spinach and chicken sausage is so good, guys! The sauce is warm and tasty in all the best ways. I've decided this is summer comfort food!

Special shout-out to True Story Foods for the best chicken sausage around and to Mama Lil's Peppers, your sweet and spicy pepps are some of my favorites!


Enjoy!

Ricotta Gnocchi with

Fresh Tomatoes, Spinach & Chicken Sausage

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Servings: 4-6


INGREDIENTS:


Ricotta Gnocchi:

15oz whole milk ricotta, patted dry (I'll explain)

1-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup Tipo "00" Flour (All-Purpose works, too!)

2 eggs, beaten

salt + pepper


Fresh Tomato Sauce:

1lb chicken sausage, diced

2 roma tomatoes, diced

3 heirloom tomatoes, diced

heaping handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

4 garlic cloves, minces

1/2 tsp red pepper flake

1 Tbsp fresh herbs, minced (oregano + thyme)

6oz fresh spinach

1/3 cup Mama Lil's Peppers, diced

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/4-1/3 cup water

salt + pepper

olive oil

Parmesan cheese, for topping


INSTRUCTIONS:


To make the ricotta gnocchi:

  1. Pat dry the ricotta cheese with paper towels:

  2. Place a triple layer of paper towels on the counter.

  3. Spread the ricotta cheese in a thin layer on top of the paper towels.

  4. Layer another set of triple layered paper towels over top of the cheese and gently pat.

  5. Set the cheese aside for 5-7 minutes. You'll notice that quiet a bit of liquid is absorbed by the paper towels.

  6. Scrap the cheese into a large mixing bowl.

  7. To the cheese, add the eggs, Parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined.

  8. Add 1/2 cup of flour and stir to combine. Slowly add the additional flour and knead until the dough is no longer sticky. I added an additional 1/3 cup of flour as I was kneading. Once the dough forms and holds a ball shape, flour a flat surface and turn the dough out onto it. It's easy to finish kneading this way. Knead until the dough no longer sticks to your hands.

  9. Using a knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 5-6 pieces, lightly flour your work surface and hands, and begin to roll them into 1” thick rope-like strips.

  10. Once rolled, cut the dough into 1/2"-1" long dumplings and then use either a gnocchi board or fork to create the indents.

  11. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. I like to fill up a little more than half my pot with water. Once boiling, add salt.

  12. Gently place the gnocchi in the boiling water. Once the gnocchi begins to float, remove from what with slotted spoon and add directly to your sauce. 

To make the sauce:

  1. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When oil shimmers add garlic and red pepper flake. Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

  2. Add the diced chicken sausage and season with salt and pepper. Saute chicken until it just starts to crisp, about 6-8 minutes.

  3. Add wine and minced herbs. Cook for about 3-4 minutes and then add all of the diced tomatoes, peppers and 1/4 cup of water. Stir to thoroughly mix.

  4. Lower temperature slightly and simmer for 15-20 minutes. As it's simmering, the tomatoes will soften and you can break them up to further release the juices. The sauce will also reduce as it cooks. You don't want a thick sauce, but you also want enough sauce to coat the gnocchi.

  5. In the last five minutes of cooking the sauce, add the spinach. I find that adding it in two batches helps. Spinach starts out big but shrinks as you cook. Stir to combine everything together.

  6. Add the cooked gnocchi directly to the pan with the sauce and stir to fully incorporate. Season with a little more salt and pepper.

  7. Divide into bowls and top with Parmesan cheese!


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