Richard Blais forks over a fool-proof recipe for light and fluffy cottage cheese gnocchi that gets tossed in a zesty zucchini pesto.
"The most pillow-like gnocchi you've ever had—made with cottage cheese!" Richard says. "Gnocchi is usually made with potatoes or ricotta cheese, but using cottage cheese makes making the dough so easy! This dough is nice and soft but filled with protein. It's a fancy dinner —I'd charge probably $32 for this dish in a restaurant! We're going to make it with a simple zucchini pesto sauce too. If you don't like pine nuts, you can swap them out for whatever nuts you like best. I love sneaking zucchini into a recipe like this—it just oozes fitness and health, not to mention the fact that it's just super super delicious! Broccoli or kale would work for this too."
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- ½ jalapeño, seeds removed, chopped
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 cup all-purpose or "00" flour, plus more for dusting
- ¾ cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 pinch fine sea salt
- 1 pinch nutmeg
For the pesto, in a food processor, combine the garlic, pine nuts, zucchini, jalapeño, parmesan, basil, parsley, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse until almost smooth.
For the gnocchi, place cottage cheese in a colander or cheese cloth and press to extract some of the liquid. In a food processor, combine the cottage cheese and the remaining ingredients and pulse gently until a dough ball is formed.
Dust a work surface with some flour. Working with about ¼ of the dough at a time, roll out the dough to form a ½- to ¾-inch-thick rope, sprinkling with more flour if too sticky to roll. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces and transfer to a flour-dusted baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
To cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add some salt and drop in the gnocchi. Cook until they float to the top, 3 to 5 minutes.
While the gnocchi are cooking, heat the pesto in a large skillet over medium heat.
Once the gnocchi float, using a spider or a small strainer, remove gnocchi from the water, transfer to the zucchini pesto, and toss to combine.