Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Daring Cooks maiden voyage!

Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter

The moment we've been waiting for has finally arrived... the first Daring Cooks challenge! I have really enjoyed being a part of the Daring Bakers, because it's pushed me to bake things I would never attempt on my own. But I really am a cook more than a baker, so I jumped at the chance to join this group as soon as the idea was first announced. I can't wait to see what types of creative and complex recipes we attempt as this group gets going!
Shaped and ready to cook.

Our first recipe was Ricotta Gnocchi, which is the most well known dish at Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. I hadn't heard of making gnocchi with ricotta before, but once I started looking online I discovered that this is the signature dish at Zuni Cafe. I managed to find the Zuni cookbook at the library the weekend before I tackled this challenge, and I had fun reading up on the restaurant before starting on this challenge. Zuni Cafe sounds like a really special restaurant, and I would love to visit next time I have the opportunity to visit San Fransisco.

Sadly, I really didn't end up liking the gnocchi this way! Everyone on the Daring Cooks message board commented on how light tasting these gnocchi were, but I decided upon tasting that I really prefer the heavier, traditional potato version. I also attempted to make sage brown butter to toss with the gnocchi, and I don't think I did a very good job with it. The gnocchi had a nice sage flavor, but tasted kind of bland and greasy to me. I did freeze half the recipe, and I am interested in seeing if I like them any better with some kind of tomato sauce. Even though I didn't love the recipe, I enjoyed the chance to try a new recipe that was different than I usually cook. I can't wait to see what other recipes this group decides to tackle!

Fresh ricotta

If you're interested in trying the recipe, you can find it here. Also, I made my own ricotta, which I would recommend trying! It was simple and fun to see the milk turn into creamy cheese. I used a recipe from Epicurious, and it worked really well. Click here for the ricotta recipe.

If you try this recipe, this picture is a great example of why it's important to test a single gnocchi before forming a lot. This was the result of my first test... not good! I added a couple tablespoons of flour to make the gnocchi hold up better, and the second test was much better!


Amanda said...

Congrats on completing the first DC challenge! Your ricotta looks great, even if the flavor/texture wasn't quite your thing. I didn't have time to complete this challenge by the posting date, so I'm glad you posted the last picture and suggestion. :)

Nicole said...

Gnocchi is not always easy is it. I have only done it once or twice. I have never done a ricotta one though. I love sage brown butter! It is yummy on mushroom or cheese ravioli!

zoe said...

wow, congratz on making gnocchi from scratch! I've never tried because Ive been too intimidated. Looks great!

Siren said...

For what it is worth, I like dense gnocchi as well. Who doesn't, really?

Joelen said...

I love ricotta gnocchi because it's so light and airy! These look delicious!

creampuff said...

Hi Erin!

I'm so glad that I tested a single gnocchi before cooking all of them or I would have ended up with a mess! I'm with you, these weren't the greatest!

Chris said...

I can't believe you made your own ricotta - I'm going to have to give it a try one of these days.

Being more of a cook than a baker, I'm also glad the see the Daring Cooks group get going - can't wait for next months challenge!

Sarah said...

I saw that they were starting up Daring Cooks. I think I'm definitely have to join up.