The secret to making gnocchi is to work the dough lightly when pulling it together, barely mixing and certainly not kneading it like a bread or pasta dough. It should pull together but not tighten, remain pliable and barely holding. Three-quarters of the flour should be used at first, with the rest added as needed. The less flour used, the more light and fluffy they will be. You can leave out grooving them with a fork. The grooves are there to hold the sauce to the gnocchi, so it's not absolutely vital. There's acidic and sweet in the vinaigrette and I opt for a brown-in-the-frying-pan version. Toss the just-cooked gnocchi in one tablespoon of olive oil, thinly sliced fresh mushrooms and a handful of finely sliced radicchio, with two chopped garlic cloves, and then scatter with grated parmesan to serve. The gnocchi will brown and develop a nutty flavour.
250g fresh ricotta
200g parmesan or romano cheese, finely grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
1 cup plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For tomato vinaigrette
150ml extra virgin olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 basil sprigs
2 tbsp sugar
75ml red-wine vinegar
4 ripe tomatoes, skinned and diced or 1 400g can chopped tomatoes
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, cut in half.
Combine ricotta, grated cheese, egg and salt in large bowl. Gradually add nutmeg and flour and lightly combine to create aworkable dough but don't overwork. Divide dough into quarters and gently roll into two-centimetre-wide logs.
Cut logs into two-centimetre slices and place on a lightly floured baking sheet.
Take each of the gnocchi and gently press down on to the back of a fork to make indents on one side, then roll gently along the fork to leave a thumb imprint in each dumpling. Repeat with remaining dough, then set aside.
To make the sauce, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat in a heavy-based saucepan. Add onion and cook until soft, about three minutes.