This ricotta gnocchi dough from 2019 Best New Chef Misti Norris is first gently cooked in a water bath, then sliced, and then, right before serving, seared to achieve a crispy-on-the-outside, custardy-on-the-inside texture. Accompanied by roasted eggplant sauce, vinegar-spiked eggplant and peppers, and a creamy, dreamy Parmesan mousse, all of the dish components can be made ahead and assembled at the last minute, making this dish dinner party gold.

July 2019


Credit: Greg DuPree

Recipe Summary

3 hrs 10 mins
1 hr




  • Place oil and garlic cloves in a small saucepan over low; cook, undisturbed, until garlic is sizzling vigorously, about 7 minutes. Continue to cook, undisturbed, until garlic is tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool 20 minutes. Remove garlic cloves, and reserve for another use. Set garlic oil aside.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking dish with plastic wrap, allowing 3 inches to extend over all sides; set aside. Whisk together ricotta, eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt, and coriander in a large bowl until thoroughly blended and smooth. Add flour in 2 batches, stirring just until combined after each addition. Stir in 2 tablespoons garlic oil. Spread ricotta mixture in prepared square baking dish; fold plastic wrap sides over ricotta mixture, covering loosely. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil, and place in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Add water to a depth of 1 1/4 inches in the rectangular baking dish.

  • Bake in preheated oven until slightly firm, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove baking dish from water bath; refrigerate, uncovered, until warm, about 1 hour. Cut gnocchi into 1-inch strips; cut or tear strips into irregular 1-inch pieces.

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Heat remaining 2/3 cup garlic oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high until hot. Reduce heat to medium. Working in 3 batches, place gnocchi in skillet, and cook, turning often with a small offset spatula, until golden brown all over, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer gnocchi to prepared baking sheet, and season with salt to taste.

  • To serve, spoon about 1/4 cup roasted eggplant sauce in a circle on each of 4 plates; top evenly with gnocchi. Spoon sautéed eggplant evenly over gnocchi. Pipe small dollops of Parmesan mousse on each serving, and top evenly with pickled peppers. Garnish with basil leaves.

Make Ahead

Gnocchi may be prepared ahead through step 3; cover and chill until ready to sear, up to 1 day.

Suggested Pairing

Herbal, nutty Italian white.