Portrait – William Meppem.

Portrait – William Meppem.

Spend some quality time in the kitchen this weekend with Donna Hay and this easy yet impressive gnocchi recipe from her beautiful new cookbook, Basics to Brilliance. And when it’s time to plate up, shop our limited-time collection of Donna Hay Coastal for Royal Doulton tableware.

“I believe, just like anything you want to be good at, that mastering the basics is key to cooking with confidence,” says Donna. “In this book, I’m sharing my tried and true basic recipes with you. Each has clever variations, so one recipe becomes many and your repertoire naturally grows.”

Traditional potato gnocchi takes longer to make and can be difficult to get right, but Donna’s cheat’s version uses ricotta instead to make a light dough you can dress up any way you want. Here she mixes fresh herbs into the gnocchi, and tops them with a sweet cherry tomato sauce. 

Donna Hay's cheat's ricotta gnocchi dough. Photography – William Meppem.

Donna Hay’s cheat’s ricotta gnocchi dough. Photography – William Meppem.

Cheat’s ricotta gnocchi dough
(Makes 1 quantity)
This dough should be a little sticky to work with. Keep some extra flour on-hand for dusting when it comes time to shape and slice the gnocchi in the recipe that follows.

1½ cups (360g) fresh ricotta (see Tip)
1 cup (80g) finely grated parmesan
1 cup (150g) plain (all-purpose) flour
3 eggs
1½ teaspoons sea salt flakes
Cracked black pepper

Place the ricotta, parmesan, flour, eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Mix until combined and a sticky dough forms.

Tip For the best results, buy fresh full-cream ricotta, from delicatessens and the deli counter of supermarkets.

Donna Hay's herbed ricotta gnocchi with cherry tomato. Photography – William Meppem.

Donna Hay’s herb, ricotta and cherry tomato gnocchi. Photography – William Meppem.

Herb, ricotta and cherry tomato gnocchi
Serves 4

¼ cup each finely chopped basil and flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme leaves
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind
1 x quantity cheat’s ricotta gnocchi dough (above)
¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced
600g mixed cherry tomatoes
Finely grated parmesan and baby (micro) basil, to serve

Add the chopped herbs and lemon rind to the gnocchi dough and mix to combine. Lightly dust a clean surface with flour. Divide the dough in half and roll each piece into a 3cm-wide log. Slice into 2cm-thick pieces and set aside on a lightly floured tray.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the garlic and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Cook the gnocchi, in 2 batches, in a large saucepan of salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until firm and risen to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and toss in the pan with the tomatoes. Serve with the parmesan and baby basil.

Basics to Brilliance by Donna Hay ($55, Fourth Estate/Harper Collins) is available now.

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