Foodie Friday #ShroomTember: Mushroom-Stuffed Ricotta Gnocchi w/ Mushroom-Herb Browned Butter

Foodie Friday #ShroomTember: Mushroom-Stuffed Ricotta Gnocchi w/ Mushroom-Herb Browned Butter

All of my life, I have hated mushrooms.

My memories of mushroom-aversion run deep and wide, all the way back to that traumatic time as a kid when my gag-reflex over being forced to eat the mushrooms on my plate got me into what I thought was some terribly unjust trouble.

Over the years though, I came to start appreciating mushrooms’ culinary uses. Contrary to my long-standing belief that it was their ability to “absorb” flavors that was supposed to make them great — a claim I always found dubious — I found instead that they were actually an excellent source of flavor themselves.

Eventually I would find out why, when I came to be familiar with the concept of umami, the so-called “fifth taste” beyond those of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. Sometimes it’s explained as “savory,” but the Japanese word actually translates to give a meaning more like “deliciousness.”  Umami is something found in foods which are high in glutamates, and one of the highest glutamate foods is, as it turns out, mushrooms. With this knowledge — and frankly, having married a woman who loves mushrooms — I was happy to begin experimenting with using mushrooms in my cooking. As it turns out, they’re actually really good when given a chance. Who knew?

A few weeks ago, my friends at Life of Dad approached me about joining them as they help the Mushroom Council celebrate Mushroom month this September. Or as they are calling it: #ShroomTember.

Their request? Come up with a quick and easy mushroom recipe, and encourage others to do the same, for a chance at winning $500 for the best recipe.

I’m more than happy to oblige!

I went and got myself a nice pack of interesting local mushrooms, and got thinking about what I could make…

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I’d recently tried my hand for the first time at making ricotta gnocchi (I’ve previously posted a recipe for a delicious potato gnocchi as well), and it was so good that decided to try adapting it to make mushrooms the star. This might look complicated, but it’s actually a pretty quick and easy recipe and surprisingly fast. One of the benefits to gnocchi is that it involves rolling out dough into awesome snakes, and is very forgiving as far as shaping the actual gnocchi themselves, so this is a perfect dinner to cook with the help of your kids.


Mushroom-Stuffed Ricotta Gnocchi w/ Mushroom-Herb Browned Butter

Ingredients

  • 1-2 lb mushrooms of your choice
  • 2 cups whole-milk ricotta (skip the low-fat stuff and be sure to get the whole milk variety!)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups grated real Parmigiano-Reggiano (3 ounces), divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, divided
  • Fresh herbs (I used 2 rosemary sprigs, about 5 small whole leaves each of sage and basil)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Finely chop about half of the mushrooms (a few pulses in a food processor will do this in a jiffy!) and saute in 2 tbs of the butter for a few minutes in a small pan. Set aside to cool a little bit.
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  2. Fill a large pot with water and begin bringing to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together the ricotta, eggs, 1 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, the nutmeg, and about a 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and freshly ground pepper.
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  4. Add the cooled cooked mushrooms and gently stir together.
  5. Add the flour and stir to form a wet dough.
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  6. On a well-floured cutting board or counter-top, dump out dough and shape into several 1″ thick snakes with your hands (flouring your hands makes this much easier).
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  7. With a dough-cutter or knife, cut each snake across, into 1″ pieces. This recipe will make approximately 48 1″ pieces, but if you’d prefer them smaller, simply cut them smaller! 🙂
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  8. (Optional, but suggested!) Roll each piece on a gnocchi board, the back of a fork, or (this is my awesome trick!) on a baking rack in order to make ridges. You can skip this step, but these ridges will help hold the sauce later and give the gnocchi a nice rustic texture.
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  9. As you go, lay each pieces onto a to the baking rack, or a parchment-lined baking sheet. At this point the pieces can be refrigerated or frozen, if you are making them ahead of time.
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  10. When the water is at a rolling boil, salt the water (about 3 tablespoons for 6 quarts of water) and then begin adding the gnocchi a few at a time, in at least two batches.
  11. Cook gnocchi for 3-4 minutes per batch, until they float and are cooked through.
  12. Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon, drain, and then add to an ice bath for a few minutes to stop cooking, before transferring back to baking sheet.
  13. Repeat with second batch, until all gnocchi is cooked.
  14. While last batch is cooling in the ice bath, bring a large skillet to medium-low heat and cook butter, remaining mushrooms (roughly chopped) and herbs, until butter is golden brown (about 5 minutes) and mushrooms smell amazing.
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  15. Add gnocchi to brown butter mushroom sauce in skillet, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese, and toss. Season with salt to taste, and continue to brown gnocchi if desired.
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  16. Serve hot, with more Parmigiano-Reggiano, to your grateful — and now mushroom-loving — children!
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The Contests

ShroomTember-LODThere are three contests throughout #ShroomTember. Each of them could land you a $500 prize for the best recipe!

Week 1 (September 8-14) – The Simple Dinner

Create a quick, simple dinner featuring mushrooms that any parent can throw together after a long day of school, soccer practice and work. Make it delicious, but also make it simple. Your meal should be something that will soon be in everyone’s weekly rotation.

Week 2 (September 15-21) – Blended Paradise

MLB playoffs are almost here. The family is getting together to watch the pennant races. Put a fresh spin on your family’s “go-to” ground meat recipes by blending and extending your meal with mushrooms. Ground meat and finely chopped mushrooms go together like peanuts and Cracker Jacks. The combination works because finely chopped, umami-rich mushrooms look similar and take on the flavor properties of meat. The possibilities in this challenge are endless and the 7th inning stretch will never be the same again. Get the Blendability playbook at mushroominfo.com/blendability.

Week 3 (September 22-28) – Game Day Burgers

It’s time to hit the grill! We want you to create the ultimate handheld meal for football season. When you’re tailgating, plates and utensils aren’t always an option, but deliciousness is mandatory. Your challenge is to put together the absolute best mushroom-infused burger you can. Marinate a portabella patty, blend a beef or turkey burger with fresh ‘shrooms, or grill up a mushroom topper to create burger bliss and you can be doing a touchdown dance with an extra $500 in your pocket.

So get your chef’s cap on, come up with the most delicious, mouth-watering recipe that you can, and enter any or all of the contests!

To enter the contest you must:

  1. Create and photograph your own mushroom based meal following the guidelines and timing above.
  2. Share the photo of your image on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #ShroomTemberand email it to MushroomCouncil@lifeofdad.com
  3. That’s it!

The Mushroom Council will choose the winners on the basis of:

  • Creativity of your recipe
  • Quality of photo
  • How hungry your meal makes them

**Be sure to join us for the #ShroomTember Twitter party on September 23rd at 1PM EST to learn all about the great recipes and to win some cool prizes.

All of the info you should need on contest rules, judging, etc, you can find on the contest landing page here: http://shroomtember.lifeofdad.com

Mushroom Council LogoHungry for more? Get inspired by recipes, resources and videos from the Mushroom Council

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad, LLC for the #ShroomTember promotion. Sponsored by The Mushroom Council, the #ShroomTember promotion gives anybody the chance to win a $500 Visa gift card.

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