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Ricotta Dumplings (Quenelles)

I recently had a hankering for gnudi [1] (aka gnocchi). However, I didn’t want to spend the time rolling, cutting, and pushing each dumpling off the back of a fork. Don’t get me wrong, gnudi or gnocchi are delicous and worth the effort when they shine center stage at a dinner party. This time around though I wanted simplicity.

There are many ways to enjoy these dumplings; including in a cheese sauce, sautéed in butter (as pictured below), nestled in a tomato sauce or floating in a soup. They would also be a fine accompaniment for roasted chicken, broiled fish or even a steak off the grill.

This recipe will make between 18 – 20 but the recipe can easily be cut in half.

About 2 cups (15 – 16 oz) whole cow’s-milk ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups (4 oz) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup (4 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
Minced chives for garnish

In a large pot bring about 3-inches of water to a boil; then reduce to a simmer. Add enough salt so that the water tastes like the sea or how you imagine the sea would taste.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, 3/4 of the Parmigiano, eggs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Sprinkle the flour over the ricotta mixture and fold it in just until it all combines together.

Using one or two tablespoons make a quenelle (a football shape dumpling) with the batter and gently drop into the simmering water. Simmer the quenelle until tender and cooked through, between 6-7 minutes; drain. If not using immediately, shock in ice water to stop the cooking. Otherwise, sauté in butter, or add to a tomato or cheese sauce. Just prior to serving sprinkle with reserved cheese and garnish with minced chives.