Ricotta gnocchi: a Sardininan variation

Ricotta gnocchi..a Sardinian variation
Gnocchi are usually made with potatoes or semolina, this recipe comes from Sassari and uses ricotta cheese instead of the potatoes, therefore making the dish much lighter, though equally scrumptious.  Here it is served in a tomato and basil sauce  and topped with some grated parmesan. Another very popular version is with  butter and sage, again topped with a coating of grated parmesan.  This is just an example of the excellent food one can find in the many B&Bs or holiday farms scattered all over the island.

Ricotta Gnocchi

Serves 4
500g/ 17 oz Ricotta cheese (preferably of sheep)
200g / 7 oz  flour
An egg
Two spoons of grated parmesan
Salt and pepper

Tomato and basil sauce
500g tomatoes/ a tin of chopped tomatoes
a sprig of basil
olive oil
a pinch of salt

Take the ricotta, if very wet, leave to drip in a colinder for an hour. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce by simply placing the tomatoes with a tablespoon of olive oil and the basil in a pan and leave to simmer for roughly 15 minutes until the tomatoes are  cooked and the sauce has reduced, salt and taste.
Go back to the ricotta and place the cheese in a bowl and squash with a fork.  Add the flour and egg so as to obtain a smooth and slightly doughy mixture,  and add the  salt and pepper( if you like some grated nutmeg too). If the mixture appears too squishy, add some more flour.
Take a piece of the ricotta mixture and roll into a long sausage on a  floured surface, cut the sausage into little squares as one does when making traditional gnocchi. Continue in the same way  with the rest of the mixture.
Boil the ricotta gnocchi in a pan of boiling water and drain when they rise to the surface of the water (approximately 2 minutes).  Once drained, throw the gnocchi  into the tomato sauce and stir over a  high heat for 10 seconds adding the grated parmesan. Serve piping hot!

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