I'm sure I'm not the only one who fell in love with ratatouille after watching Ratatouille. That movie was probably the first cooking movie that I thoroughly enjoyed, even more than Spanglish (although it's a close call!). There's just something so beautiful about vegetables roasted to perfection. It's actually a simple dish but when done right, it's incredibly delicious. I love digging in a big bowl of ratatouille with a side of crusty sourdough bread but today I'm stepping it up a notch. Homemade ricotta gnocchi with ratatouille sauce just seemed like the right way to go for tonight's dinner and it certainly was.
Ricotta Gnocchi with Ratatouille Sauce
- 1 lb whole milk ricotta
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 4 ounces cremini mushrooms chopped
- 1 small eggplant chopped
- 1 medium zucchini chopped
- 2 red bell peppers chopped
- 4 tomatoes chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- ½ cup grated parmesan
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- Make the ricotta gnocchi. Beat together ricotta with eggs, grated parmesan, salt, and Italian seasoning until well combined. Slowly add all-purpose flour until well incorporated. Divide dough into 4 pieces.
- Dust a clean work counter with flour and working with one portion at a time, roll into a ½ inch thick rope. Cut the rope into ½-inch pieces and transfer the gnocchi onto a lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Roll dough down back of fork if desired to get groove marks or use gnocchi paddle. Chill until ready to use.
- Prepare the ratatouille. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms, and eggplant and cook until softened, about 7-8 minutes. Add zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic, and cook another 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Add crushed tomatoes, parsley, and thyme, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover the pot and continue to simmer for 25-30 minutes. Season ratatouille with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, make the garlic-infused oil. Heat extra virgin olive oil with garlic over medium heat in a small saucepot. Bring to a simmer and conitnue to cook until garlic is lightly golden brown. Remove from heat and let sit.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully drop gnocchi into the water and boil until they float to the surface, about 1-2 minutes. Drain gnocchi and transfer to ratatouille saucing, gently stirring to coat.
- Portion gnocchi into bowls and finish with a drizzle of garlic oil, chopped basil, and grated parmesan. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Ratatouille is a great summer meal because all of the vegetables are in season. However, you can still make this dish during the winter and it'll still taste great. We're cooking down the vegetables and simmering them all together so the flavors will still be present.
You usually make ratatouille in the oven but today we're going to make it on the stovetop. Chop all the vegetables into small chunks, making sure they are not too big.
Eggplant and mushroom take longer to break down so they go in the pot first. Once they soften, add the remaining vegetables and saute until tender. Add the canned tomatoes and fresh herbs and let the sauce do its thing.
If tomatoes are in season, feel free to use only fresh tomatoes instead. If the tomatoes in your market aren't looking so great, substitute the 4 tomatoes with another 14 ounces of canned crushed tomatoes.
While the ratatouille is cooking, making the garlic-infused oil. Simply simmer the garlic in extra virgin olive oil and let it sit. This oil isn't completely necessary but it does add a bit of oomph to the gnocchi.
Whenever I need to make gnocchi, I always use cheese as the base ingredient instead of potato. Gnocchi is dense but gnudi (gnocchi made with ricotta) is lighter, "pillowy," and easier to make. Just beat together the cheese with eggs, parmesan, salt, and all-purpose flour until the dough comes together.
After the dough has chilled, roll it into long ropes and cut it into bite-size pieces. You can also make the gnocchi the day before and chill until ready to cook.
If you want to take the extra step, roll the gnocchi down the back of a fork to get the signature groove marks. You can certainly skip this step but the extra effort does make them look quite attractive!
Like all fresh pasta, this homemade gnocchi cooks in a matter of minutes. You'll know when they are ready when they float to the top. Drain the gnocchi, top with a generous portion of the ratatouille, and finish with garlic oil and grated parmesan.
This ricotta gnocchi with ratatouille sauce is a labor of love and it comes through with every bite. Slowly braised vegetables that have broken down and soaked in all the flavor dress up the soft pillowy pasta in the most perfect way. Meatless Monday who? More like meatless every day!
For more gnocchi inspiration check out this sweet potato gnocchi with browned butter, arugula, and pinenuts!