If you read food blogs, then you’re probably aware of the Daring Bakers, a group that started a little over two years ago. The brainchild of Yvonne and Lis, it started small – just a group of bakers who wanted a new baking challenge every month. The group grew to include thousands of bakers all over the world, recently launched a new web site, and this month initiated the Daring Cooks, which will focus on cooking challenges. My decision to participate in this group certifies that I have lost my marbles.
I have been crazy busy this year. And yet I blog, participate in The Daring Bakers, Tuesdays with Dorie, Pies with That (are you sensing a baking addiction here?) and, far too occasionally, I join the Bread Baking Babes and Bread Baking Day. I also decided to sign up for Recipes to Rival last year, because I figured that woman cannot live by yeast, flour, butter, and cream alone. Last week, I went round the bend and, cackling like a lunatic at my computer, I hit “send” and joined Natalie’s new endeavor, baking through the Bread Baker’s Apprentice (for this, I blame Susan of Wild Yeast Blog, because she wrote about it. If I hadn’t read her blog, a regular addiction, I would have remained blissfully ignorant).
Despite all this, moved by an unfathomable force, I joined in the Daring Kitchen’s maiden voyage and made ricotta gnocchis. Lis and Yvonne chose the recipe from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco’s Beloved Restaurant. What a great choice! I grew up making potato gnocchi at home, and I hadn’t made them in years, an oversight I’ve been wanting to remedy.
After reading about the troubles others had if they didn’t drain the ricotta enough, I made sure – or thought I made sure – to drain the ricotta. It still wasn’t enough, so I added a couple tablespoons of flour and a little extra parmigiano reggiano to help these little guys hold together. I grated a little lemon zest into the mixture, as well as some salt and pepper. I threw together as simple tomato sauce, and topped the whole thing with a little more parmigiano reggiano. I have to say, after the whole draining-the-ricotta thing, these dumplings are really fast and easy to make and cook. And want to hear something funny? I used a tub of frozen ricotta that I had stashed away a couple months ago. So now you know – the recipe works with frozen, thawed ricotta.
The verdict? Wonderful taste, just wonderful. Somehow I hit just the right of lemon zest – enough to enhance the mixture, but not enough to overwhelm it. Texture? It was light and fluffy, but I think I’m a potato gnocchi gal at heart, and that’s probably what I’ll stick with in the future. I like a tad more density to my gnocchi. But I am so glad that I gave this a try. If you’d like the recipe, check out Lis’ blog, or here, and the Daring Kitchen website to see the results of the other cooks.