This is the another course I served during Robert Plant and Patty Griffin's lunch a few days ago. I normally make gnocchi with potatoes because that is traditionally what is used but I decided to use sunchokes instead because sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes) are a great substitute for potatoes. They can be a pain to peel if you get some that are really knobby, so I try to avoid buying ones like that. I love the subtle flavor of sunchokes and think it is a highly underrated vegetable. Back in WWII they were one of the few vegetables that were available. Sunchokes were got the nickname of the "poor mans" vegetable during that time. They were later over shadowed by the potato but are indigenous to the north America in the north east region. I had bought some a little while ago and had not used them so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity.
15 sunchokes peeled (1 1/2 lb)
1 cup of ricotta
1 Meyer lemons juiced and zested
3 cups of flour
Salt and Pepper
1 stick of butter
3 Meyer lemons juiced and 1 zested
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup cream
2 garlic cloves minced
8 oz of cleaned hedge hog mushrooms
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of toasted bread crumbs
For the Sunchoke Gnocchi
In a small pot place 3 cups of water and take one lemon and juice into the water (reserve the zest for later). Peel the sunchokes and immediately place into the pot of water. Sunchokes will oxidize very fast so place them in acidulated water to stop the oxidation. Repeat until all the sunchokes are peeled and in the water. Then place on the stove with 2 tbsp of salt. Bring the pot to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the sunchokes are tender. Strain off the sunchokes and dry them slightly. Then place into a food mill or ricer and rice the sunchokes. Because the sunchokes retain a lot of water I place them in a small fine mesh strainer and squeezed as much of the water out of them as possible. You could also use a towel. Place the dry sunchoke pulp in the middle of a bowl. Add the ricotta cheese to the middle of bowl as well. Add about 2 1/2 cup flour around the outside of the bowl so you have the cheese and sunchokes in the middle. Season the sunchokes and ricotta with lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add the egg to the mix and with a fork combine the sunchokes, ricotta, and egg mixture. Then slowly with the fork start working your way outside the middle to incorporate the flour. After you get about half of it incorporated with the flour I would get rid of the fork and use your hands to work the flour into the rest of the ingredients to make a light fluffy dough. You might need to add a little more flour to mix depending on how wet your dough is. Once your dough has come together place on your counter or cutting board. I divide my dough into roughly 5 pieces by simply slicing the dough into half inch slices. Then take each slice and roll between your fingers on the counter to make a long tube. Cut the tube into bite size gnocchi pieces and roll them in flour to prevent them from sticking. Repeat the process until you have all the gnocchi finished.
Place pot of salted water on the stove and bring to boil. Meanwhile in a sauté pan on medium high heat add butter and hedge hog mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes and then add the minced garlic. Cook for one minute and then add the white wine. Reduce by half and then add the lemon juice. At point in time you want to add your gnocchi to the boiling water. Cook for roughly 2 minutes or until they start to float to the top of the water surface. Strain off the gnocchi and place into your sauté pan. Add the lemon juice and zest from one lemon. Add your cream and let it reduce for a minute. Finish the gnocchi with parmesan, salt, and pepper. To serve just add a couple spoonfuls of gnocchi to a bowl with some sauce, garnish with bread crumbs and fresh parmesan. If you like lemon and gnocchi you will love this recipe. If you can't find sunchokes feel free to substitute potatoes. Enjoy these excellent lemon ricotta gnocchi!