About a month ago, on an average after work grocery store run, I noticed a sampling table for Nello’s Sauce, a locally made tomato sauce which has recently been getting a lot of praise from local food lovers on Twitter.
Now, after eating some shape of pasta & tomato sauce for dinner almost every day during my freshman year of college, I haven’t really been interested in eating anything with tomato sauce for about the past ten years…let alone spend $8 on a jar of sauce if it might taste anything like my college ragù…but with all the talk, I was curious.
So I stepped up to the tasting table & took the piece of ciabatta soaked in sauce & prepared myself to just politely say “thank you” & continue on with my shopping, but instead I stopped, introduced myself Neal, the creator of the sauce & chatted for awhile the sauce & food in general. I could have easily sopped up the rest of the sauce at that tasting table, too, because a) I was starving & b) it really is delicious. Just the perfect balance of spices & the taste of fresh, bright, unadultrated tomatoes.
Nello’s, most recently, has introduced a Provençal Pomodoro Sauce with the subtle floral notes of lavender & without garlic, making it the perfect complement to these Pan Fried Roasted Garlic Ricotta Gnocchi.
Gnocchi (pronounced nyo-ki) are a traditional Italian dumpling, often made from potatoes. We haven’t been overwhelmed with any of the potato varieties we’ve made, finding them too much of a time investment to end up heavy, chewy & just okay. But this version is quite the opposite…they’re like fluffy pancake pillows of mild ricotta & the mellow sweetness of roasted garlic. & the time investment is next to nothing, even downright manageable on a busy weeknight.
10 cloves roasted garlic
1 15oz container whole milk ricotta
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (we used Nello’s Provençal Pomodoro)
1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
a few leaves basil, torn
On a cutting board using a fork, mash the cloves of roasted garlic into a smooth paste. Add the paste to a large bowl & add ricotta, mixing until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs, flour, & salt to the bowl & mix until just combined.
Dust a work surface lightly with flour & line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roughly divide the dough into four sections & move one of the sections to the floured surface. Roll the dough into a log about 1 inch in diameter & with a knife, cut into 1 inch pieces & lay them on the prepared baking sheet so they don’t touch. Repeat with the remaining dough.
In a large skillet, heat the butter & olive oil until the butter just begins to brown. Carefully add the gnocchi in a single layer into the pan (this may have to happen in 2-3 batches). Cook for about 2 minutes without moving, until the bottom side of the gnocchi turn golden brown. Flip them over & cook for about 2 minutes more. Remove cooked gnocchi from the pan & repeat with remaining gnocchi, if necessary.
Once all the gnocchi are cooked, add them all back to the pan & add tomato sauce & half the Parmesan cheese. Toss very gently to combine. Serve topped with a little more Parmesan & torn basil.
adapted from Eat This Poem
Full Disclosure: We were given two jars of Nello’s Provençal Pomodoro Sauce, but our opinions can’t be bought with free sauce. We have purchased the sauce & will continue to do so with our own hard earned $$.