Ricotta gnocchi are probably my favorite pasta out there. I even prefer them to ravioli. Unlike their potato cousins, ricotta gnocchi are light little puffs, never heavy, but always tender. They are like eating clouds covered in tomato sauce. They are actually pretty easy to make, and I will describe the process below. I also hope to add a video at a later date.
Before I give the recipe, I want to explain a little about gluten. Gluten is a protein formed when wheat flour is agitated in the presence of water. It is a long, stringy protein chain that adds chewiness and body to a flour dish. It is a good thing or a bad thing depending on the dish. For instance, gluten in pizza dough is fantastic and gives a springy chewy crust. It flat out ruins a gnocchi.
With that in mind, remember this. The less flour you put into, and the less kneading you do to your gnocchi, the more tender they will be. That being said, here is la ricetta!
1 lb of whole milk ricotta (I like Sargentos)
1 cup of grated Romano cheese (or Grana Padana, etc.)
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp of salt
1 cup of flour (plus more as needed)
Add everything together in a bowl and begin mixing with your fingertips. Mix lightly and form a light dough. The dough is going to be wet, that is okay. You may have to add a tablespoon of flour a little at a time until the dough stays together. Use only as much as needed. Take off a small piece of dough and put it in a pot of boiling water. If it holds together and rises to the top, you are done adding flour. If it falls apart, add a little more flour, knead and repeat.
Once you have a dough that will hold up, flour a cutting board and roll out a piece of dough (flouring your hands too) into a rope about 1/2 thick. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces and gently press down with the tines of a fork.
I place them on a floured cookie sheet. Once you are done rolling and cutting, add them slowly a few at a time to boiling water. Cook until they float to the surface. Do it in small batches or they will stick and you will get a messy glob.
Put them in a casserole dish covered with red sauce. Do not stack them on top of each other or they will stick. Sprinkle with Romano cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for about fifteen minutes.