If you are a Trader Joe’s fan, you know that their cauliflower gnocchi has a cult-like following. The gnocchi tastes light and fluffy and is a healthy alternative compared to the potato original. The one problem that we have with the gnocchi is that they are nearly impossible to cook correctly. They go from cooked to mush in just a few seconds, so if we are boiling them or cooking them on the stove top, there is just about a minute to nail the timing of the recipe so that it all turns out perfectly. We are not into these stressful cooking scenarios, and tried to make these gnocchi in an alternative way so that there is more wiggle room for the recipe to be successful. By roasting them in the oven with some olive oil, they get a crispy exterior while still maintaining their fluffy texture inside. We tossed them in a brown butter sauce and topped them with fresh peas, mint, and lots of lemon. To take this dish over the top, we have added a dollop of whipped ricotta to the bottom of the serving dish. It provides the perfect salty and creamy punch and helps meld all of the ingredients together.
Baked Gnocchi with Peas, Mint, & Ricotta
An exciting vegetarian entree for summer. We love the combination of the crispy gnocchi, snappy fresh peas, and fluffy whipped ricotta.
- 1 package frozen cauliflower gnocchi
- 2 tbs butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- juice and zest from 1 lemon
- pinch of chili flakes
- 1 cup fresh peas
- 1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves, stems removed and minced
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a cooking sheet well with cooking spray and lay the frozen gnocchi in a single layer on the cookie sheet and season them with salt and pepper. If there are pieces that are frozen together, do your best to separate them. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, removing after 15 minutes into cooking to flip the gnocchi before placing back in the oven .
- Make the whipped ricotta. Put the ricotta into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer on medium-high speed to whip the ricotta until it is light and fluffy. about 3 minutes. If you continue to whip it and it isn’t changing texture, add a teaspoon or two of water at a time until it is light and airy and has very few lumps in it. Set aside.
- Make the brown butter sauce. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. It is very important to brown the butter slowly – if you try to do this over high heat you’re likely to burn it. Cook the butter for about 7 minutes, stirring regularly, until the butter is light golden brown. It is ready when it starts to smell nutty. Remove the butter from the heat until you are ready to finish the dish (the gnocchi should have about 5 minutes left of the 25 minutes).
- To finish the dish, bring the pan with the butter back onto medium heat. Add the garlic, lemon zest and juice, pinch of chili flakes, peas, and mint to the butter. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until the peas are slightly tender. Season the peas with salt and pepper to taste. When the gnocchi comes out of the oven, add it to the brown butter and pea mixture and toss everything well to coat.
- Use a spoon to put a big dollop of whipped ricotta onto each of two bowls. Add the gnocchi and pea mixture to each of the bowls and garnish with additional fresh mint leaves, if desired.