Potato and ricotta gnocchi with brown butter and cherry tomatoes
FOR THE GNOCCHI: 3 medium floury potatoes, about 500g; ½ tsp salt for the cooking water; 1 large egg plus 1 yolk, whisked; 185g ricotta; 150g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting; 50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese; ¼ tsp sea salt
FOR THE SAUCE: 90g unsalted butter; 500g cherry tomatoes, halved; ¼ tsp sea salt; ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus extra to serve; 1 tbs lemon juice; 60ml potato cooking water; 10g torn fresh basil leaves, loosely packed, plus a few extra, to serve
To start the gnocchi, peel and chop the potatoes into pieces, about 3cm. Put in a small saucepan with the salt and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium–high heat and cook until very tender, about 15 minutes, testing with the point of a sharp knife. Drain the potatoes, reserving 60ml of the cooking water, and return them to the saucepan over low heat for 1 minute to ensure any excess water has evaporated. Pass the potato through a ricer or mash very well. Set aside to cool.
While the potatoes are cooking, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over medium–high heat, ready to cook the gnocchi. Start the sauce while the potatoes are cooling. Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Cook the butter until it starts to brown, about three minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer on medium–low heat until the tomatoes become soft and start to melt into the butter, about eight minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and 60ml of the potato cooking water until combined. Taste and add more sea salt and pepper if needed. Reduce the heat to low and stir the sauce occasionally while you make the gnocchi.
While the sauce is simmering, measure 395g of the cooked, smooth potato into a large mixing bowl. Pass the ricotta through the ricer (or push it through a sieve) and add to the mixing bowl. Add the flour, 35g of the Parmesan cheese, the egg mixture and sea salt to the mixing bowl and mix with a spatula or your hand for as short a time as possible, just until the sticky dough starts to come together.
Tip the dough on to a lightly floured work surface and bring together in a rough ball. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and roll each quarter into a long cylinder that’s about the width of your finger. Cut each roll of dough into 2 cm pieces and place them on a lightly floured tray while you roll and slice the remaining dough.
Cook half of the gnocchi in the large saucepan of boiling water over medium–high heat. When they rise to the surface, leave them for 20 seconds and then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the tomato sauce. Add the basil and turn the gnocchi gently in the sauce. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi. Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan, basil and pepper and serve immediately.