Ricotta gnocchi with squash, fennel, and salsa verde

So this dish was actually inspired from when I was watching The Chef’s Line on Netflix. For those unfamiliar with the program, it’s a cooking competition show that was originally in Australia, before it premiered on Netflix as well. Sadly the show is no longer running, but there were a lot of cool recipes and dish ideas I found from it, one being this recipe. The cooks had to create a gnocchi dish, and one of them prepared gnocchi in a salsa verde with squash and squash blossoms. I really loved how it looked, with the greens, whites, and oranges really popping out to me. So I wanted to make my own take on it, since I don’t believe that they have a published recipe for that particular dish anyways.

For my recipe, I went with a ricotta gnocchi, but I opted to not use any eggs in it. I found that the gluten in flour alone, mixed with the whey(water) from ricotta that isn’t strained from a cheese cloth, works as an efficient binder for the gnocchi dough. And I was right in that hypothesis, because it literally worked! For the salsa verde, mine used fennel and green apple, which are not traditional in that, but I like the combination of apple with cheese, and the fennel and squash work nicely together, while apple and fennel work well, so it all comes together organically and nicely. From this dish, you can expect plump and tender gnocchi smothered in a creamy, tangy salsa verde, and finished with pieces of squash, fennel, and squash blossoms for a colorful, summery dish. It literally was quick to put together as well, as it only took me 45 minutes from start to finish!

Makes enough for 6 people:

For the gnocchi:
8oz ricotta(unstrained)
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
A pinch of white pepper

Mix until combined. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into boiling salt water, using a knife to cut the dough as you’re piping it into 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch pieces. Transfer to a pan and sear the gnocchi as they float to the top.

For the salsa verde:
1 zucchini
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 cup mint
2 tbsp fennel fronds
3 cloves garlic
Juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 anchovy filet
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 green apple, cored
Reserved squash blossom pollen

Dice the zucchini. Blanch in boiling water for 20 seconds then shock in ice water. Repeat this with the parsley, mint, and fennel fronds, but for only 10 seconds. Drain any excess water from those ingredients. Transfer everything to a blender and purée until smooth and creamy.

For garnish:
1 cup diced fennel
1 cup sliced zucchini
3 squash blossoms, separated into petals(reserve the pollen)
A pinch of salt
Olive oil
Fennel fronds

Blanch and shock the zucchini and blossoms. Sauté the fennel in olive oil until soft. Season. Toss into the pan with the fennel your boiled gnocchi and stir until the fennel is mixed throughout. Pour into a bowl, toss with the sliced zucchini and the blossoms. Then mix in your sauce to finish. Since it’s a fresh sauce, you don’t want to heat it up too much or it’ll turn brown! To plate, simply place the gnocchi into a bowl and garnish with the fennel fronds to finish.

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