Ricotta Gnocchi with Dandelion Pesto
By Lori McCarthy of Cod Sounds
After a long winter here in Newfoundland — a place where nothing grows for almost 8 months of the year — the spring greens have always been a welcomed sight.
As someone who fell in love with our foods later in life, the moment you taste a flavour that you have patiently waited 12-months for — knowing that you won’t get that again for another 12 months — well, it’s pretty special. To help celebrate this food moment, I try to take an old traditional dish and bring it to the table in ways that may have never been done. I think it’s fair to say that mom’s generation never heard of gnocchi or dandelion pesto.
Serves: a family of 4
1 cup fresh ricotta
½-1 cup flour (add more if needed, this is based on the consistency of the ricotta)
- Place a medium size pot of heavily salted water (6 cups of water) over high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiled, reduce to a simmer and cover until you begin cooking your gnocchi.
- Place your ricotta cheese in a bowl. Sprinkle with the flour, starting with ½ cup.
- With fork begin to gently fold in your flour. Make a well in the centre of the ricotta flour mixture and crack the egg into the well.
- Scramble the egg in the well with a fork, then gradually mix with the surrounding ricotta flour mixture — do not overwork.
- Slowly adding flour, combine all ingredients together until you have a ball that can be gently kneaded. Add more flour as needed.
- Fold and knead for a total of about 20 times. The dough should be slightly springy and not sticky —gentle, gentle, gentle.
- Using a scraper or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Lightly dust each piece and roll each out into a slender log approximately ½” to 1” thick. Cut each log into 1” pieces. These pieces can be cooked now, or they can be pushed over a wooden gnocchi board or the back of a fork to form the signature ridged gnocchi texture.
- Place freshly made gnocchi in the simmering water pot and gently boil until they float to the surface (approximately 2 minutes of cooking).
- Strain out of the water with a slotted spoon, place in a large serving bowl and dress with your pesto while still hot.
2 cup of finely chopped fresh dandelion
3/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¼ tsp. pepper
Light olive oil
- I like to use a mortar and pestle because I like a coarse consistency, but you can certainly put your ingredients in a blender (except the oil).
- Add your oil slowly until you get a loose paste.
About Lori McCarthy:
Lori McCarthy’s passions for the land is matched only by her passion for food culture that she shares with her company Cod Sounds. Deeply rooted in Newfoundland, Canada, the skilled chef and outdoors-woman is guided by a sense of responsibility to place. With the ethics of conservation and sustainability inform her every move, Lori is as serious about protecting Newfoundland culture, resources and food ways as she is about sharing them. She’s committed to keeping the wild foods, including game of her province on our plates for generations to come — passing on the pride she learned at her own mother’s knee to her own children who will inherit the island’s bounty.