Living alone in a small seaside community, food writer Nici Wickes found her happy place. In her new cookbook, A Quiet Kitchen, she shares how her love of food and cooking has helped shaped her contentment and shares simple yet delicious dishes that can fill a soul, sole or otherwise, with moments of satisfaction and pure pleasure. A "dream dish" is how she describes this ricotta gnocchi. "Gnocchi ought to be like soft little pillows of pasta, eager to soak up whatever sauce we throw at them. Try these little beauties made with ricotta instead of potatoes — you'll be in heaven."
|½ cup||fresh ricotta|
|⅓ cup||plain flour, plus extra as needed|
|50g||grated parmesan (⅓ cup)|
|Small handful each||parsley and basil, chopped|
|1 tsp||sea salt|
|2 Tbsp||extra virgin olive oil|
|2 cloves||garlic, peeled and smashed 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed|
|Handful||cherry tomatoes (fresh or canned)|
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To serve: grated parmesan, squeeze of lemon juice and basil leaves
- Mix the gnocchi ingredients together in a big bowl to form a soft, just-sticky dough. Don't overmix. Turn out onto a well-floured surface. Handle the dough gently, like a hot potato, and use plenty of flour.
- Divide dough into two portions, then roll each into a 3cm-thick log. With a floured knife, cut into 2cm lengths, dusting with flour as you go. Set aside while you cook the tomatoes for the topping.
- Heat oil in a large pan and add garlic. Cook for 30seconds then add tomatoes and chilli flakes and cook until tomatoes soften and become juicy. Turn off heat.
- Cook gnocchi in a large pot of well-salted boiling water. Do this in batches, cooking for 4–5 minutes only (they will sink then rise to the surface). Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and transfer directly to the pan with the tomatoes.
- Toss gnocchi with tomatoes and serve with grated parmesan, a squeeze of lemon juice and basil leaves.
A Quiet Kitchen by Nici Wickes, photography by Todd Eyre, published by Bateman Books, RRP$45
- Serves: 1, generously