summer gnocchi

this dish was the result of my need to use up a tub of ricotta before it passed its sell-by date. i had bought it to stuff courgette flowers with but didn’t manage to cook with the flowers before they wilted beyond use, despite my best efforts – they really do need to be used on the day you pick/get them.

so, i turned to dennis cotter and decided to adapt his semolina gnocchi recipe, using ricotta in place of the goats cheese, adding a handful of herbs from garden – sage, oregano and thyme – and topping the gnocchi with a lightly cooked mix of green beans (again from the garden), peas and broad beans. i finished it with a lime cream, having run out of lemons.

the result was delicious – very light, summery and perfect if you want something a bit special, either as a treat or if you are cooking for friends. the gnocchi adapted well to having the ricotta added and was very forgiving of my use of twice as much cheese as the original recipe called for. i also baked it for much longer than the original recipe suggests – 10-15 minutes each side, having turned them over once, rather than the suggested 10 minutes in total. this gave me golden slight crunchy gnocchi which went really well with the lightly cooked vegetables.

semolina gnocchi with summer vegetables and lime cream (serves 4)

semolina gnocchi – as noted above, i used 250g ricotta instead of 120g goats cheese, plus herbs

lime cream:

100ml vegetable stock

100ml white wine

300ml double cream (i used sour cream as it needed finishing)

zest and juice of a lime

a couple of handfuls of broad beans, podded

a couple of handfuls of peas, podded

c150g green beans

25g butter

2 small/medium courgettes, cut into small pieces

a handful of sunblush or roasted tomatoes

1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts

parmesan, for serving

make your gnocchi. when you put it in the oven to cook, start making your lime cream and vegetables. as noted above, i turned my gnocchi when it started to turn golden and crispy – this took c15 minutes. the second side took less time to cook.

to make the lime cream, bring the stock and wine to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until it has reduced by half (about 5 minutes). add the cream and reduce again to get a “slightly thickened pouring consistency” then add the lime zest and juice. add seasoning if it is needed and set aside.

bring a pan of water to the boil (put this on while you are waiting for the stock and wine to reduce). cook the broad beans until they are just done. remove with a slotted spoon and put in a bowl of cold water to cool down. bring the water in the pan back to the boil and cook your peas. when they are ready, remove with a slotted spoon, bring the water back to the boil and cook the green beans. remove the broad beans from their pods, if necessary.

when the gnocchi is almost ready, melt the butter in a pan and add the courgettes, cook for a few minutes then add the broad beans, peas and green beans to warm through.

to assemble, place some gnocchi on a plate, top with vegetables, a few tomatoes, some lime cream and a sprinkling of pine nuts and parmesan shavings.