Gallery: Behind the Scenes: Making Ricotta Gnocchi at The Lobby

The Lobby's Ricotta Gnocchi
The Lobby's Ricotta Gnocchi

Fully composed and updated for spring.

Spreading the Ricotta
Spreading the Ricotta

Making the dumplings is a four-day process, which begins with chef Wolen (pictured) spreading ricotta cheese out on a cheese-cloth-lined slotted tray.

The Ricotta
The Ricotta

Wolen sources the ricotta for his gnocchi from New Jersey via Pastoral Artisan Cheese. It arrives in a tall tin and looking a bit like ice cream.

Pressing the Cheese
Pressing the Cheese

Here Wolen is pressing the ricotta into a thin layer across the cheese cloth. He'll then cover it over with cheese cloth and add another tray on top in order to squeeze out practically all the moisture trapped within it. Drying the cheese can take three days. He stressed how important this step was in obtaining a texturally superior end product.

Into the Robot Coupe
Into the Robot Coupe

Once the ricotta is thoroughly dry, it goes into a restaurant-grade food processor along with eggs, parmesan cheese, and flour. (Wolen is protective of this particular recipe and respectfully declined to reveal it.)

After a Spin
After a Spin

A thick, creamy dough eventually forms.

Bag It
Bag It

Wolen then transfers the dough to a piping bag.

Ready to Squeeze
Ready to Squeeze

The cheese, egg, and flour mixture is now set to be piped.

Main Squeeze
Main Squeeze

Dollops of dough are then piped onto a parchment-paper-lined sheet and refrigerated.

Ball Game
Ball Game

The cold dollops of cheesy dough are then rolled by hand into balls.

Good Form
Good Form

They now begin to resemble the gnocchi that will grace the diner's plate.

Next Step, Semolina
Next Step, Semolina

The gnocchi balls then spend another day in the refrigerator, packed in semolina to further dry them.

Powder Coat
Powder Coat

Once their day in the semolina is over, the gnocchi are sifted out and ready for cooking. They get flash-boiled for about 45 seconds—jsut long enough, Wolen said, for the interior to get warm. Overcooking can ruin their texture.

Inside Look
Inside Look

Wolen sliced open a semolina-crusted gnocchi ball to show the interior.

A Quick Sauté
A Quick Sauté

To incorporate the dish's flavors, the freshly boiled gnocchi are then sautéed in a creamy sauce with the English peas.

Plating
Plating

One of Wolen's sous chefs, Eddie Lee, transferred the peas and gnocchi to a broad, shallow bowl.

Toppings
Toppings

Lee then added flourishes like breadcrumbs and yellow and green pea tendrils.

Don't Forget the Ham
Don't Forget the Ham

A couple of paper-thin slices of Serrano ham are carefully laid down, as well.