Kale Ricotta Gnocchi in House Italian Sauce
If you thought a billowing cloud-like soft gnocchi was only achieved with potatoes, think again. The answer is ricotta cheese. When I first made gnocchi with ricotta, it changed my life. It was for one of my food photography workshops roughly eight years ago. One of my guests had an egg allergy and I catered the entire day’s menu to be egg-free. This Kale Ricotta Gnocchi was the runaway hit dish of the day.
Imagine delicious soft, fluffy gnocchi dumplings swimming in a basil-infused pasta sauce - bright and white and big like good-sized Easter eggs accentuated with frilly green leaves. With golden strands of melted cheese on top. Hard to resist!
It is also amazingly easy and quick to make and will never fail you as it doesn’t rely on the flouriness of potatoes or eggs to bind it. You could get away with adding a WHOLE bunch of kale to make 18-20 good-sized gnocchi to serve 4 people. But you need to cook the kale first and chop it a certain way.
I cook a lot of Italian at home. Just like how a good sandwich needs great bread to start it off, a good homemade pasta dish needs a good tomato sauce as a jumping-off point. This deeply aromatic, herb-packed, vibrant tomato sauce that I share today is fondly known as my House Italian Sauce. It is the pasta sauce that has delighted many a dinner party and weeknight dinners. It is great for tossing through, for baking with, for dipping and certainly for having a backup jar in the fridge.
But first, let’s start with the kale prep.
How to prepare kale for the gnocchi
When trimmed and chopped, a whole bunch of kale will roughly yield 250g of leaves to be used as you wish. In this recipe, the kale gets cooked thrice albeit for short bursts of time - the blanch, the boil and the grill. It is important not to overcook it.