Gnocchi are one of my favorite pasta shapes–I just love how they puff up like tiny pillows after a short stay in boiling water. Surprisingly light thanks to airy ricotta cheese in the dough, they're also wonderfully filling. Usually I toss the dumplings with a smooth basil-tomato sauce, but they'd also taste decadently good in a simple browned butter.
2 cups ricotta (whole-milk or part skim, 1 pound)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 ounces), divided
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (more as needed)
2-3 cups of preferred tomato sauce (store-bought or homemade)
salt and pepper
1. Stir together ricotta, eggs, 1 cup cheese, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
2. Add flour, stirring to form a soft, wet dough.
3. Shape dough on a well-floured surface with floured hands into two 1-inch-thick ropes. Cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces with a floured knife and let rest on a floured board, counter top, or baking sheet.
4. Cook gnocchi in 2 batches in a pot of boiling water, adding slowly to pot and stirring occasionally until cooked through (about 4 minutes per batch). Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain in colander.
5. Meanwhile, heat sauce until warm. Toss cooked gnocchi with sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and fresh basil to serve.