Pasta-making is a fine culinary art that requires patience and dedication. And since we’re all spending an unprecedented amount of time at home anyways, now is as good a time as ever to give it a try.
This gnocchi dough and tomato sauce recipe comes straight from Top Chef Canada’s Mark McEwan’s kitchen. It’s simple, elegant, and full of rich tomato flavour.
Ricotta Gnocchi Dough
4 kg good quality ricotta, strung overnight
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
Zest of 2 lemons
14oz. All Purpose flour
1 tbsp. black pepper
Combine all ingredients, stirring in the strung ricotta and eggs together first, then mix in the flour, salt, pepper, and zest until well combined; taking care not to overwork the dough.
Roll the dough into 1/2-inch-thick ropes on a floured surface and cut into 1-inch pieces. Blanch off the gnocchi in boiling salted water until they float to the surface. Toss in oil and chill in the fridge on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
And for the sauce…
Classic Tomato Sauce
100oz whole canned tomatoes (Ideally San Marzano Roma Tomatoes)
1 large Spanish onion
5 cloves of local garlic
¼ cup of good quality olive oil
Pinch of black pepper
1 bunch of basil, picked and washed
Finishing salt to taste, upon serving
Begin by crushing the garlic cloves and finely dicing the onion. In a large saucepan, add olive oil and begin to slowly sweat the diced onions and crushed garlic over low heat. Stir the garlic and onions until translucent to release their natural sweetness and aromas. Once gently and fully cooked through, add all remaining ingredients. Cover the pan and let simmer for 2-3 hours.
Note: over time, the whole tomatoes should break down on their own (do not over-stir).
Once the tomatoes have broken down and basil is wilted, pass the mixture through a food mill. Using a food mill will maintain the natural flesh of the tomatoes ensuring a better texture and flavour. For this recipe, do not puree.
Serve over fresh-made pasta and salt to taste upon serving.
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