The Lobby's Ricotta Gnocchi
Fully composed and updated for spring.
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.
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
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
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
A thick, creamy dough eventually forms.
Wolen then transfers the dough to a piping bag.
Ready to Squeeze
The cheese, egg, and flour mixture is now set to be piped.
Dollops of dough are then piped onto a parchment-paper-lined sheet and refrigerated.
The cold dollops of cheesy dough are then rolled by hand into balls.
They now begin to resemble the gnocchi that will grace the diner's plate.
Next Step, Semolina
The gnocchi balls then spend another day in the refrigerator, packed in semolina to further dry them.
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.
Wolen sliced open a semolina-crusted gnocchi ball to show the interior.
A Quick Sauté
To incorporate the dish's flavors, the freshly boiled gnocchi are then sautéed in a creamy sauce with the English peas.
One of Wolen's sous chefs, Eddie Lee, transferred the peas and gnocchi to a broad, shallow bowl.
Lee then added flourishes like breadcrumbs and yellow and green pea tendrils.
Don't Forget the Ham
A couple of paper-thin slices of Serrano ham are carefully laid down, as well.