Eggplant is low in calories and contains numerous antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Try this healthy version of gnocchi with eggplant!
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
1 large eggplant
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 1⁄2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese, drained of excess moisture
1⁄3 cup finely grated parmesan
1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
Additional salt for cooking gnocchi
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Peel, slice and salt the eggplant (using half the salt) and let sit for 20 minutes to drain. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Add the eggplant, egg, rest of the salt and half the ricotta to a food processor. Pulse until completely blended.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix in the remaining ricotta and parmesan cheese.
- In another bowl, stir a pinch of nutmeg into the flour. Add the flour into the other bowl by hand, starting with 1/2 of the flour. Combine everything with your hands until the mixture holds together as a dough.
- Put the dough on a lightly floured pastry board or smooth, clean surface. Knead lightly for about a minute, adding additional flour if the dough sticks too easily to the board or your hands. (At this point, if you wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate it for an hour, it will be easier to roll out.)
- When the dough is smooth, pliable and just a little bit sticky, divide it into 4 portions, each the size of an orange. Flour your hands lightly. For each portion of dough: Use both hands and a light touch to roll out the dough with a back-and-forth motion, starting at the center and stretching out the dough into the shape of a rope. This is the tricky part — you don’t want to use so much pressure that you compress the dough, but you do need enough to create a rope of dough. (Hint: stretch the dough sideways as you’re rolling.)
- Once the segment you’re working on gets to be about a foot long, you may find it easier to cut it in half and start working on that smaller segment. Then, roll the dough out until it has the thickness of a middle finger. (Note that if you have too much flour on your hands or the board, you may not have enough traction between your skin and the dough to easily stretch it sideways.)
- Cut each roll into 1-inch pieces. Hold a fork at a 45-degree angle with its tines facing down on the board, the curved part of the fork facing away from you. Starting with the curved outside bottom of the fork, press the length of the tines along each piece of dough. Let the gnocchi fall back down. This is a pretty quick motion; the result is an indentation of the fork tines on one side of the gnocchi and an indentation of your fingertip on the other.
- Place the gnocchi on a lightly floured cookie sheet. At this point, they can be cooked or kept in the refrigerator several hours or overnight.
- To cook the gnocchi, fill a large, wide pot halfway with water. Bring to a boil; salt lightly to taste. Once the salt has dissolved, gently drop the gnocchi into the water, one by one. Try to do this in a way that the gnocchi don’t fall in on top of each other but rest on the bottom of the pan in a single layer. As the gnocchi cook, they will rise to the surface of the water after a couple minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the risen gnocchi from the pot; place in a serving bowl. Sometimes the gnocchi can stick a little at the bottom. If you suspect this, nudge them a little to unstick them. As you remove some gnocchi, you can add a few more to the pan.
- After cooking, fry in a frying pan with butter on medium-high heat for 2 minutes, until brown on one side, and then serve.