Make the most of ramp season with homemade Beet Ricotta Gnocchi with sauteed Ramps. These purple pillowy pockets of pasta are worth the messy kitchen and stained hands!
When Braden and I returned home from our trip to Italy last year we were obsessed with Italian food. More so than I am on a normal basis mind you. We sought out tiny shops in Brooklyn that imported groceries from Italy and became super picky about our pasta.
In my mind at the time, if I was going to have pasta I wanted it to be fresh and the best, so I figured it can’t be that hard I’ll just make it myself. I ran out and picked up a Pasta maker, ravioli stamps, 00 flour – seriously the whole 9 yards. Then I proceed to make pasta, only to learn it’s not really my forte. The first attempt failed. The second was okay and the first was decent. After that the pasta maker ended up tucked away in the back of my closet never to see the light of day again.
At least so I thought. . .
Insert ramp season and my overworking mind of what to do with them this year.
I had written down in my notepad of recipes for sometime that I wanted to try out beet ravioli with ramps. The sweet beets, ricotta cheese and pungent ramps sounded like the perfect combination to me. Plus I loved the contrast of the purple and green.
So I dusted off that machine and got to work. Only to realize that yet again I’m not really cut out to make pasta and perhaps my first try in over a year should not have been with a flavored dough.
A giant, sticky, beet stained mess was created.
Time to rethink this plan.
I refused to give up my idea of beets + ricotta + ramps, so instead I just rethought the way they would be put together.
I’ve made gnocchi plenty of times but it’s always with potatoes. Why it took me so long to make the ricotta variety I have no clue but it’s worth the wait. This dough comes together easily, it’s still sticky, still messy but what you end up with is tender, pillowy pockets of gnocchi. Not counting the time it takes to cook the beets – from start to finish of making the dough you can have dinner on the table in an hour.
There’s enough here to feed a big family, a very hungry couple or to freeze half for a delicious dinner on a lazy night.
Just a couple of tips I found while making the gnocchi:
– You can roll the dough into ropes and cut it into 1 inch pieces but use a lot of flour to keep it from sticking or you can pinch pieces off and just roll it in your hands. The second way takes just a little bit longer.
– For dough that’s slightly less sticky you can refrigerate the dough until it’s chilled. I found it easier to work with but again a lot of flour will be needed. Repeat after me, don’t be shy with the flour.
- 2 medium beets, peeled and steamed or roasted until soft then pureed
- 15 ounces fresh ricotta
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2-3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1 large bunch ramps (about 20 ramps), root ends removed*
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- In a large bowl mix together the pureed beets, ricotta cheese, parmigiano cheese, egg and salt and pepper until combined. Stir in the flour starting with 1 1/2 cups, mixing to combine and add the extra 3/4 cup if the dough is very sticky.
- Once all the flour is added, the dough will still be quite sticky - if you feel like you can't work with it at this point add 1 tablespoon at a time until it's at a consistency that can be rolled into a rope. At this time you can move forward or chill the dough for an hour or overnight to make it easier to work with.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Take about 1/2 cup of dough from the bowl and roll it out on a very well floured surface to a rope that's 1/2 - 3/4 inches thick. Using a knife or bench scraper cut the gnocchi into 1 inch pieces. Continue to work with the remaining dough while the water comes to a boil. If you are cooking for 2 people, you can freeze half the gnocchi by laying it in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Transfer to a freezer bag once it's fully frozen.
- If you are cooking all the gnocchi, boil in small batches (no more than 10-12 at a time) and remove from the pot with a slotted spoon when it rises to the top. The gnocchi should take about 2-3 minutes to cook.
- Transfer to a colander to drain.
- Once the gnocchi is finished cooking, melt the butter and olive oil in a large saute or caste iron skillet over medium heat. Cook the gnocchi in batches until it's browned on each side. Add the ramps to the skillet and saute for 2-3 minutes or until they are wilted. Season again with salt and pepper and serve with a topping of parmigiano cheese.
If you are only cooking half the gnocchi, I recommend cutting the amount of ramps in the recipe in half to about 10.
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Have you ever tried making tagliatelle or spaghetti with your pasta maker? I find that way, way easier than ravioli or other shaped pasta!
Your gnocchi came out wonderful looking. 🙂
The first pasta I made was spaghetti but my problem seems to be with the dough. I can’t find a recipe that works for me yet or maybe I’m just impatient. I’ll keep trying and thank you! 🙂
I have never attempted a gnocchi alone. My grandmother was the one who I helped in the kitchen rolling and such but I am intimated by myself to say the least, plus I need to make them gluten free. BUT What a pretty dish!
I’ve never heard of ramps I mean other than the kind that you ride a bike or skateboard on haha. I’ll have to check out the produce section extra close next time to see if I can find any! Love the gnocchi!
I love how vibrant this looks!
I’ve made pasta for many years, but have never tried gnocchi. And I didn’t even know you could make gnocchi with ricotta – so interesting. I’d love to try this!
You sound like us – we bought a pasta maker after our honeymoon in Italy – and have only used it a few times in 10 years! This recipe looks amazing! Love beets and never thought to put them in gnocchi!
Beets add such a wonderful flavor and color, and this dish is so visually stunning. Great idea!