Michael Symon’s Grandmother’s Gnocchi: No Wonder He Became an Iron Chef

Call ‘em really really good party favors, the recipes Senior Editor Chris Christensen came back with from the elegant and exclusive James Beard Foundation fundraiser she attended at Zov’s Bistro.

Today it’s ricotta gnocchi with a lovely provenance from Iron Chef Michael Symon—his grandmother taught him the dish, he’s been making it since he was a child, and it was one of the first he made as a chef. To this day, it remains one of his favorites. Symon notes that when he and his wife cook at home it’s simple, often one-pot meals using the best ingredients they can find.

Indeed, it definitely behooves cooks to use the best available ricotta for these gnocchi… For a while I’ve been stone in L-O-V-E love with Angelo & Franco’s, imported from Hawthorne, available at Whole Foods and, I’m told, some Costcos (although I have seen only the mozz there.) And, it’s packed in a basket so that it comes perfectly pre-drained.

Michael Symon’s Crispy Gnocchi with Morels and Spring Peas

(4 servings)

Dough:

¾ cup all purpose flour, plus more for dusting

½ cup grated Parmesan

Grated zest from one lemon

¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

1 cup drained whole milk ricotta

1 large egg

Sauce:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

12 medium morels soaked briefly in salted water, rinsed and gently patted dry

(or other wild mushrooms, rinsed and dried)

½ shallot, thinly sliced

Kosher salt

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

12 fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Juice of 1 lemon

½ cup shelled fresh peas

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons water

Dough:

Combine flour, parmesan, salt and zest in a bowl. Add ricotta and egg. Combine well with a wooden spoon or fingers until dough just comes together, taking care not to overwork, which could cause dough to toughen.

Scrape dough onto well-floured surface and pat into a rough square. Cut dough into thirds using bench scraper or knife. Gently roll each piece into foot-long ropes about an inch in diameter, flouring as needed to prevent dough from sticking to surface. Place dough ropes on lightly floured plate or sheet pan and refrigerate, uncovered, for five minutes or up to two hours to rest.

After dough has rested, place ropes onto floured surface. Cut each rope into half-inch pieces with bench scraper or knife and set aside while starting sauce.

Sauce:

Put 4 tablespoons butter in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. When butter foams, add mushrooms and sauté until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add shallots and sauté, seasoning with salt. Add garlic and parsley and reduce heat to medium. Add lemon juice and peas, sautéing just until peas brighten in color. Turn off heat and set aside while sautéing gnocchi.

Heat 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat in a sauté pan large enough to accommodate all of the gnocchi without crowding. When butter becomes brown and fragrant, add gnocchi to pan and cook, turning as necessary until browned and crisp on all sides, 5 or 6 minutes. Pour in mushroom and pea sauce, turning to coat. Add remaining tablespoon of butter, Parmesan and two tablespoons water while turning gnocchi. Allow sauce ingredients to emulsify and form a silken coating, 1 to 2 minutes. Spoon gnocchi and sauce into shallow bowls and serve immediately.

 (Recipe courtesy Michael Symon.)

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