Ricotta Gnocchi with Lemon Brown Butter

I get these cravings.

They’re not quite pregnant lady cravings (dear lord, no!) but they are intense, can’t-get-a-dish-out-of-my-mind, give-that-to-me-right-NOW! cravings. Usually that’s when I seek out a restaurant that makes the best possible version of whatever dish I’m craving. (Side note, but related, Proof makes a really lovely chocolate hazelnut cake…another recent craving.)

So when I recently got a hankering for ricotta gnocchi? No luck, Chuck. I was fresh out of ideas for where to get that in the District.

After waiting a couple weeks to see if my craving would abate I happened to be watching The Cooking Channel (which is like, whoa, the best channel ever) when lo and behold! Chef Michael Symon, on his show Cook Like An Iron Chef, was making…RICOTTA GNOCCHI!! And oh, look at that!! I had just bought Keswick Creamery, fresh ricotta (which you can find at the Dupont Farmers Market)!! How convenient.

So there I was, on a Sunday afternoon, in something like 90 degree weather, making ricotta gnocchi. You know why all those people on Top Chef make gnocchi? Cause it’s totally easy to make and pretty fail-proof. And I’ll tell ya! If I can do it, you can do it. I promise. And there’s something kind of rhythmic and soothing about making the little fluffs – an unexpected, but added bonus when a person has something thinking to do.

I do warn – it’s a heavy dish. Maybe tuck this recipe away for another month ’till it cools down a little bit? Other than that, rock this recipe in your kitchen pleeease! You will love each. Fluffy. Pillow. Covered. In. Brown. Butter. NOM!

Enjoy! :)

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Perfect Cheesecake Crust

Yesterday I shared how to make the candied lemon peel garnish for the (trumpets, please) goat cheese cheesecake (which, coworkers gave an overwhelming thumbs up), but today I’m getting back to basics with the perfect cheesecake crust.

I don’t know about you, but I love a strong graham cracker crust on my cheesecake. Something crunchy, buttery…rough almost…to offset the heaviness cheesecake can often bring to your mouth. Personally, I think a classic graham cracker crust is the best way to go, and this particular Ina Garten crust has never failed me.

First, a tip for crushing the graham crackers (or those Teddy Grahams if you’re in a pinch). Most will tell you to put the crackers in a ziploc bag…then put that bag in another ziploc and go to town on it with a rolling pin. Well you know what! That still leaves me with a mess on my counter, so screw that! Plus it ruins two ziploc backs!!

Put the crackers in one bag, and put that bag in your mixing bowl. Grab a heavy-bottom glass (nothing that’s gonna break too easily) and pound the crap outta those crackers.

Mess contained. Graham crackers crushed. Capisce!!

Now that you have your crumb, follow the recipe (after the jump) to make your crust…’cause this is where we get down to brass tacks.

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