SMOKED RICOTTA GNOCCHI WITH RAMPS, FAVAS & THAI GREEN CURRY
Inspiration can come from anywhere, and this dish started because I bought a tub of smoked ricotta and it loomed in the fridge. There were some stray egg yolks as well, and I thought about how I could use it all up: a ricotta tart, savoury cheesecake...but ultimately landed on making gnocchi.
When I mentioned it to my girlfriend, she told me a secret her grandma used for her gnocchi, which she said were the ultimate. Potato flakes! Instant. Mashed. Potatoes. And her grandma was a genius! So in playing around with making the ricotta gnocchi, I added some in, and light, fluffy (without any dough-y taste) gnocchi resulted.
I also happened to be working on a spring thai curry with ramps and favas and dipped one of the butter-browned gnocchi in because why not. So this dish!
If you scroll down, you may decide that there is an insane amount of work to make this dish. But I think what's great is that there are elements to play around with to do from scratch or decide not to: You can use store-bought gnocchi. You can make the gnocchi with regular ricotta instead of smoked. You can just make the curry and throw some fish and shrimp in (which is what I did with the leftover curry!). You can leave out some of the hard-to-find Thai ingredients and still have an amazing dish. I've played around with all of these, and it's still damn good.
And this Thai green curry is everything you want in a Thai curry - super spicy (seriously not for the faint of heart) with that beautiful lemongrass-ginger-kaffir lime fragrance and brightness from Thai basil. And it only takes 10 minutes to make. So so good...
Serves 4 to 6
For the gnocchi:
8-ounce container ricotta cheese, preferably whole milk
1 egg yolk
½ cups freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1 ½ tsp kosher salt, plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup potato flakes
¼ cup "00" or all purpose flour
½ stick unsalted butter
For the curry:
2 cans (13.5 ounces) coconut milk (full fat)
4 tablespoons Thai green curry paste*
½ cup water
1½ teaspoons palm / coconut sugar or brown sugar
6 kaffir lime leaves
4 ramps, top leaves chopped and bottom stems left in tact (about 1 ½ inches at the bottom)
1 lemongrass stalk, outer leaves removed and inner stalk finely chopped (optional)
½ inch piece of galangal, thinly sliced (optional)
¼ cup fava beans, shelled & peeled
2/3 cup green beans, snipped and halved
1 tbsp fish sauce
Garnishes: handful of chopped fresh cilantro, handful of chopped Thai basil and 4 halved Thai chilies
For the gnocchi:
Set a large pot of water on the fire to bring up to a boil while you are prepping the gnocchi. Remember to salt the water heavily once it’s up to a boil.
First, you want to dry out the ricotta a bit. You can drain or just blot your ricotta with paper towels depending on how much moisture it has.
In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg yolk, egg, Parmesan, salt and some freshly ground black pepper using a wooden spoon or a spatula. You want the mixture to be uniform. Add in the potato flakes and flour and fold until incorporated.
On a floured surface, mold dough into a circular disc. Cut into 4 quadrants using a pastry cutter or a knife. Roll each quadrant out into a 12-inch cylinder and then cut into 8 to 10 gnocchi.
You can cook these right away or freeze to cook later. If you are freezing to cook later, let them freeze on a floured baking sheet with space in between each gnocchi before putting them in plastic bags. That way, they won’t stick together.
Add gnocchi gently to the boiling, salted water and cook for about 3 minutes or until the gnocchi float for about 30 seconds. If you are cooking all of these, I wouldn’t do them all at the same time – break it up into 3 rounds of boiling.
If you are cooking from frozen, add on an extra minute or two and follow the same rule for floating.
For the curry:
Start with the canned coconut milk. Don’t shake the cans before using! You want to take the thickened coconut cream from the top of one can and sauté in a medium saucepan. Saute for about 6 to 8 minutes over medium-high heat until it breaks and looks a bit curdled. Add the Thai green curry paste and sauté for another 5 minutes. You want to cook out any rawness in the curry paste.
Add in the remaining coconut milk, water, palm sugar, kaffir lime leaves, ramps, lemongrass and galangal (if using), and bring up to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add in the fava beans and green beans and simmer another 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and add in the fish sauce, Thai basil, cilantro and chilies. Cover and let sit 5 to 10 minutes to infuse.
In a skillet, melt the butter until it browns. Add in the gnocchi and sauté for about 1 minute per side to crispy brown. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with a bit of salt.
Spoon the curry into the bowls and top with the gnocchi and extra basil and cilantro, if desired.
*I like Maesri.