Spring is arrived.
During this time of the year I love spending some time on my terrace, the temperature is still chilly in the early morning but I love sipping my coffee giving a look to the new born green leaves, the many small pink buds that each year the azalea offers to me, it’s 10 years old now!
There is always something magic in the beginning of a new season, it’s comforting to see that Mother Nature following this perennial cycle even nowadays when the weather seems crazy.
My local farmers market is plenty of “carciofini”, the small artichokes perfect to be canned in extra virgin olive oil, fresh peas and broad fava beans, asparagus and super sweet cherry tomatoes from Sicily.
To me, springtime means also the starting of a new season of cooking class. I feel blessed as I love my work so much, but I’m conscious, after more than 7 years doing this job, that in few weeks I will be so busy, running between classes and family …. and me?
This year I have just one proposal: I don’t want to stop writing the blog during the high season. I don’t want to stop testing recipes, taking pictures and writing. I need doing this, to inspire me, to improving my skills… and keeping in touch with you!
The recipe I propose you today is… spring in a dish: fresh peas, sheep milk ricotta and pecorino. I made this dish for our Sunday lunch and the whole family enjoyed these dumplings , cleaning all the plates and asking for more. When this happen… the recipe can be shared!
Ricotta dumplings with peas and pecorino sauce
For the gnocchi: 500 g. sheep milk ricotta – 150 g. all- purpose flour – 2 eggs – 100 g. grated Parmigiano Reggiano – salt and pepper – dusting all-purpose flour and semolina
For the peas sauce: 200 g. fresh peas, cleaned – half garlic clove – extra virgin olive oil – salt and pepper
For the pecorino sauce: 100 g. full fat milk – 1 teaspoon potato starch – 50 g. fresh grated middle aged Tuscan or Sardinian pecorino cheese – salt and pepper
For the pecorino chips: about 3 tablespoon fresh grated middle aged Tuscan or Sardinian pecorino cheese
For the gnocchi: in a bowl combine all the ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl with a lid a let it rest in the fridge for half an hour.
In the meanwhile you can prepare the sauces.
Cook the peas in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. In the meanwhile prepare a bowl with water and ice cubes. Drain the peas – reserving one glass of water – and pour them in the icing water to stop the cooking and save the nice green colour. Once the peas are cooled, drain them and mix in a blender adding extra virgin oil, salt pepper. Add some reserved cooking water if necessary to obtain a smooth consistency. Set aside.
For the pecorino sauce: in a small saucepan pour the milk and add the potato starch stirring until dissolved. Add the cheese, a pinch of salt and pepper. Turn on the flame at low heat and bring to the boil, always stirring. Cook until the sauce will be smooth and thick. Set aside.
For the pecorino cheese chips: warm at low heat a no stick pan. Put a teaspoon of pecorino for each chips. You can prepare 3 in the same time. When the cheese is melted and the edges become golden turn them on the other side using a metal tong. Once they are golden on both sides, put them directly on parchment paper.
Let them cool.
Dust a wooden board or a large flat tin with semolina flour. Put a couple of spoon all purpose flour in a plate. Take the bowl from the fridge and using a tablespoon and your wet hands, shape the gnocchi. I made them round and big like a walnut.
Bring to the boil the water to cook the gnocchi. Add salt. In the meanwhile warm again the two sauces. Put the gnocchi in the boiling water, when they float they are ready. Cover the bottom of the individual plates with the peas sauce, put the gnocchi, add about one spoon of percorino sauce. Decorate with pecorino chips. Serve immediately
– You can prepare the pecorino and the peas sauce in advance. Reserve them in the fridge well covered
– The pecorino chips can be made in advance, reserve them in a jar