Pillowy puffs of perfection

I have been terribly remiss. And for that I am sorry. I don't even know if Choux Choux Charcuterie is still carrying sheep's milk ricotta (and for a ridiculously low price too). This cheese is soft, fairly moist and just barely crumbly, with a rustic ewe taste. You could eat slabs of it, drizzled with honey, alongside the loads of sunset-and-damsoned summer fruit that we need to stuff ourselves with before Fall takes over entirely.

I would suggest you make gnocchi though. Not the regular, stiff and substantial potato variety. No, this would be an entirely different beast, or maybe I should say angel. Bite through the perfect golden crisp and vanish into a cloud, light, ephemeral. Despite shelling out some pretty pennies for chanterelle mushrooms, and my fiendish love for fresh summer corn, these savoury delicacies stole the show. 

In case you're not sold, I should tell you how ridiculously easy they are to make: Simply mash together most of your ingredients, shape into a log and freeze. When you're ready to eat, slice 'em up, toss them in cornstarch (for extra crisping), introduce them to your gently sizzling pan and minutes later you're done.

What are you waiting for?

Sheep's Milk Ricotta Gnocchi
Adapted from Food & Wine

In the Food & Wine recipe the gnocchi are served with a mushroom and corn ragout. That part was okay - I would have been just as satisfied with a plate of bare, beautiful gnocchi. Thus, I am only giving the recipe for said gnocchi. Serve with them what you will.

1 lb sheep's milk ricotta
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Start by clearing room in your freezer, then line a large rimmed baking sheet that will actually fit in there with wax paper. In a large bowl, blend the ricotta with the flour, Parmesan, egg yolks, salt and pepper. You can either construct a makeshift piping bag by spooning the gnocchi dough into a large, sturdy, resealable plastic bag and cutting off a 1/2-inch corner from the bottom, or coax the dough into about five 1-foot-long strips, roughly 3/4-inch wide, with your fingers. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 3 hours, or up to 3 days.

When you're ready to proceed, preheat the oven to 275 F. Let the gnocchi dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes then cut the strips into 1-inch lengths. Sprinkle with cornstarch and toss gently to coat.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add half of the gnocchi and cook over high heat until browned on the bottom, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to moderately high. Use a spatula or tongs to turn the gnocchi and brown the other side, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest of the gnocchi with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.

Serve on warm plates with whatever you want. Swoon.

Makes enough gnocchi for 4.

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