I was on the hunt for the perfect pasta course for a summer dinner party. We would be dining al fresco, so I wanted the flavors to match the atmosphere: fresh, light yet a touch indulgent. I wanted the flavors of summer to shine through, so naturally I thought of tomatoes and basil, but plain old marinara seemed boring. After much cookbook poring-over and a great visit to my local farmers market, I came up with this. It was a huge hit. Serve small portions in little bowls as an appetizer or pasta course, or in larger bowls as a main course.
1 cup ricotta
8 sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1 1/2 cups flour, plus more as needed
2 egg yolks
salt and pepper
1/4 cup Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil, such as Italian Blend plus more for frying and serving
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn
In a food processor, combine ricotta, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, flour, egg yolks and a pinch of salt. Pulse to form a sticky dough, adding a bit more flour if necessary. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Form dough into several long snakes, about 3/4" thick. Using a very sharp knife, cut into 1" "pillows." Set aside on a clean plate.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a light boil over high heat. Add gnocchi, working in batches if necessary, and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until gnocchi float to the surface of the pot. Drain.
Heat 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook gnocchi for 1-2 minutes on each side in oil or until they are golden-brown and crispy. Turn off heat.
Toss gnocchi with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, chopped tomato, remaining garlic, Parmesan, snipped basil, salt and pepper.