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Dan Silverman's Ricotta Gnocchi with Local Asparagus and Ramps (Wild Leeks)
From The Green Market Cookbook by Joel Patraker and Joan Schwartz, with permission from Viking, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc.

Yield: 4-6 Servings

For the Gnocchi

  • 1 pound fresh ricotta
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and reduce and simmer.

Meanwhile, combine the ricotta cheese and eggs in a food processor or mixer and blend well. Add flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and process until smooth and slightly stiff.

Using 2 teaspoons to forms small ovals, gently drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the simmering water. Once the gnocchi rise to the surface, let them cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Cook in batches of 10 or 12, so they are not crowded in the pot. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon or skimmer, refresh in a bowl of cold water, and drain. Can be made up to 3 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate.

For the Asparagus and Ramps

  • 1 pound pencil-thin asparagus, tough ends snapped off
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • 5 ramps (wild leeks), cleaned and finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and blanch the asparagus until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Plunge into ice water and let chill 2 to 3 minutes. Drain.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, combine the butter and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the gnocchi, asparagus, and shallots and stir gently. Cover and cook gently until heated through. Add wild leeks to taste (they can be quite assertive). Add the parsley, salt, and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.