Tender ricotta gnocchi in a lemony sauce with asparagus and prosciutto. [Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]
Fresh ricotta gnocchi may be the fastest fresh-pasta recipe I know. With a little practice, I’ve gotten it down to under ten minutes (8 minutes 53 seconds, to be precise). But the great part about this recipe is that it serves as a suitable base for a huge variety of sauces and flavors. For instance, last week a friend of mine brought over some delicious first-of-the-season fresh asparagus which we combined with prosciutto and an easy cream sauce to make a delicious impromptu (and fast!) meal on the spot.
Why It Works
- Quick gnocchi dough comes together in less time than it takes to boil a pot of water.
- Using heavy cream makes a quick and easy pasta sauce with minimal ingredients and great flavor and texture.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into thin ribbons
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced green garlic or scallions, white and pale green parts only (about 4)
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound asparagus, cut on a bias into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon grated zest plus 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon, divided
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 1 recipe ricotta gnocchi, prepared through the end of Step 4 (do not cook and do not make sauce)
Set a large pot of salted water over high heat. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet or slope-sided saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add prosciutto and cook, stirring, until mostly crisp, about 2 minutes. Add scallions and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add asparagus and cook, tossing and stirring frequently, until asparagus is just starting to turn tender, about 2 minutes.
Add heavy cream and half of Parmesan. Cook, stirring, until cream thickens and coats the asparagus pieces, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add gnocchi to now-boiling pot of water, stir gently, and cook until gnocchi float for 30 seconds, about 3 minutes total. Drain gnocchi, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water. Add gnocchi, lemon juice, half of lemon zest, chives, and 2 tablespoons of cooking water to saucepan with sauce and bring to a hard boil, stirring gently. Add more pasta water to thin sauce to desired consistency. Serve immediately, topped with lemon zest and additional Parmesan cheese.
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