Pan Fried Lemon- Thyme Ricotta Gnocchi

Few things in this world are better than homemade pasta.

When I was younger, I used to spend a few weeks in the summer visiting my dad in Iowa.  We had a sitter that sometimes took us to her house during the day while my dad was at work.  She lived on a farm out in the middle of nowhere.  There were dirt roads and chickens and pigs and cats running around.  It was amazing.  Far from what I was used to, growing up in the suburbs of Cleveland.  Her mother was Donna Reed minus the make up and heels.  She made everything from scratch…. everything.  One of my clearest memories of that time was sitting in the kitchen and watching her cook.  One afternoon she made pasta.  My young mind was totally blown.  Pasta??  Really??  Not from a box??  I watched in awe as she rolled and folded the dough into a log, and then cut little strips that resembled noodles.

They were absolutely amazing.  So tender and delicious.  To remember something so clearly after 15 some years, it had to have been amazing.

The next time I would have homemade pasta was at a tiny italian restaurant in Midland, PA.  Unfortunately, that place is closed now (which is a horrible culinary tragedy).

One day I will make my own noodles, but for my maiden voyage I decided to stick with something a little more goof-proof.  These little gnocchis were freaking amazing.  I’m talking I didn’t even put my plate on the table because I needed it to be as close to my face as possible amazing.  I served them with a simple spring mix salad with chevre, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  The salad really helped to balance the richness of the gnocchi.

Lemon – Thyme Ricotta Gnocchi
1 cup all- purpose flour
1 1/2 lbs whole milk ricotta cheese
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 egg
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp fresh thyme

Spread the flour out on a clean, dry work surface.  Mix together all other ingredients and put on top of flour.  Lightly knead the mixture with your hands to incorporate all ingredients.  Gently knead the ingredients into  a log about 10 -12 inches long and let rest for a few minutes (I’d say about 7-10 would be good.  I took the dogs out during my resting time, and I wished I would have let it rest longer).

Cut the log into 4 equal pieces.  Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with flour and very lightly roll each piece into a 1 inch thick piece of rope.  Cut the gnocchi into 1/2 inch pillows, and lightly dust them with flour.

How To Cook
Heat a skillet on medium heat.  Add a tablespoon of olive oil and a pad of butter.  When the butter has melted, add the gnocchi in a single layer.  Do not overcrowd the pan.  Cook until one side is nice and golden brown (about 2-3 minutes), then flip them over and add 2 cloves of minced garlic.  Cook for another couple minutes until the other side is nice and brown.  Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy.

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