As someone who makes art with pasta, people tend to think it takes hours and hours for me to create something delicious that’s also beautiful. In my last post I detailed how I transformed a Fabletics print into edible art (which did take quite a while). So this time, I wanted to show how to make something a little simpler but no less impactful! This sweet corn gnocchetti with summer puree, vegetables and oozy egg is a colored pasta that anyone can make without a pasta machine. Don’t be intimidated by the seemingly lengthy list of ingredients; with proper planning, everything comes together easily with minimal fuss!
For the Gnocchetti
• 1 cup corn kernels (you can use a mix of corn, peas, shelled edamame or fava beans)
• 1 whole egg
• 1 cup ricotta cheese
• 1/3 cup packed parmesan cheese
• ½ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp nutmeg
• 2 cups flour (more as needed, cake or “00” flour preferred but not necessary)
For the Puree
• 4 slices thick-cut bacon, roughly sliced
• 1 medium leek, roughly sliced
• 2 cups chicken stock
• 1 cup shelled peas, frozen or otherwise
• 5 Swiss chard leaves, tough stems removed and roughly chopped
• Salt, to taste (approx. ½ tsp)
• ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
For the Vegetables
• 1 bunch of asparagus, tough ends removed, chopped into ¼” lengths
• 8 garlic scapes
• 2 tbsp. butter
• 1 cup sugar snap peas, sliced lengthwise, kept in shell
For the Oozy Eggs
• 4 eggs
• 3 tbsp. olive oil in a large, heat-proof mixing bowl
• Pea vines
• Butter-sautéed croutons
1. For the gnocchetti, start by pureeing the corn, egg and ricotta in a blender until smooth. Spoon into a medium bowl and add the remaining ingredients, starting with 1 cup of flour. Mix well with a rubber spatula and continue to add flour while stirring, until it becomes a very light dough. Do not add too much flour or your gnocchetti will be tough. Once you have a ball of dough, turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface and knead it until it comes together somewhat smoothly (about 30 seconds). Divide the dough into quarters and work with one quarter at a time, covering the remaining dough with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Roll the quarter of dough into a long snake using the palms of your hands in a back-and-forth motion (I have video tutorials of this process on my Instagram page @saltyseattle). Once the snake is ½” in diameter, cut it into ½” pieces. At this point you can either keep the gnocchetti as-is or make depressions in it so that the sauce clings to it. To make depressions, roll the gnocchetti across the tines of a fork or a gnocchi/cavatelli board using the side of your thumb (again, see Instagram for a video demonstration). Repeat with all gnocchetti dough and leave to rest uncovered on a well-floured surface.
2. For the puree, sauté the bacon in a medium saucepan until some of the fat renders (about 3 minutes). Add the chopped leek and stir occasionally until it is soft and the bacon is lightly crispy (about 4 minutes). Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the remaining vegetables and ¼ tsp salt. Simmer for 10 minutes. Puree in a blender along with the mint. Taste and adjust salt to your preference.
3. Bring a stockpot of 3 quarts of water to boil along with 2 tbsp. salt. Once it’s boiling, blanch the asparagus and garlic scapes in the water for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider and keep the water boiling for the gnocchetti.
4. Meanwhile, soft-boil the eggs. Let a medium saucepan of water come to a rolling boil. Lower the heat and let the water reduce to a rapid simmer. Gently lower the eggs into the water one at a time. Cook the eggs for 5 minutes for soft yolks. Alternatively, you may sous vide the eggs at 146 F for 45 minutes if you have an immersion circulator and want them going in the background while you’re making the pasta and sauce.
5. To cook the gnocchetti, gently lower all of the pasta into the boiling water in the stockpot. Stir it to break it up a few times and wait for the water to come back up to boil. Once it’s boiling, lower the temperature so it maintains a steady boil but not so raging that it boils over. The gnocchetti are done when they float to the surface and can be removed with a slotted spoon into the bowl with the 3 tbsp. olive oil. Toss gnocchetti to coat with olive oil.
6. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus and garlic scapes and sauté for 1 minute, just to lightly brown.
To plate: spoon ½ cup puree onto each plate. Top with ½ cup gnocchetti, some asparagus, garlic scapes, shelled peas (uncooked), a soft-boiled egg for each plate and optional garnishes if you wish. Buon Appetito!