Fabulous ricotta gnocchi

Traci Des Jardins, chef and co-owner of Jardinière, shows us how to make this wonderful recipe.

Ricotta Gnocchi with Delta Asparagus and Meyer Lemon
Serves 8


  • 16 ounces ricotta
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch medium asparagus, woody stems removed
  • 4 tablespoons butter (olive oil may be substituted)
  • Zest of a Meyer lemon
  • 1/4 cup of chicken stock (vegetable stock or water may be substituted)
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan Reggiano

Place the ricotta into the bowl of a food processor and add the flour, eggs, olive oil, salt and a little pepper, blend into a smooth paste. Place a saucepan full of water onto the stove and bring to a boil, add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Form the gnocchi into little footballs by using two spoons and clipping the dough between them. Place the gnocchi into the boiling water one at a time and poach for about one minute or until firm to touch. Remove from the water, drizzle with scant olive oil and allow to cool. Keep the water on the stove at a low simmer.

Thinly slice the asparagus. Place the butter into a sauté pan and add the asparagus, sweat for about four minutes or until tender, add the zest and the chicken stock, season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat the gnocchi by placing back into the boiling water, strain and add to the asparagus mixture. Place into a bowl and top with the Parmesan.

Event information:

Top culinary talent gather Sunday, April 6th, for Taste of the Nation

WHAT: Taste of the Nation gala dinner and auction to benefit Share Our Strength.

WHO: Iron Chef Michael Symon and contenders for The Next Iron Chef including Chris Cosentino, Traci des Jardins, Gavin Kaysen and Elizabeth Faulkner. Plus local culinary luminaries and MC Tyler Florence.

WHEN: Sunday April 6, 2008 – 6:30pm hors d'oeuvres, 7:30pm dinner

WHERE: Acme Chophouse (24 Willie Mays Plaza)

WHY: To benefit Share Our Strength, America's leading anti-hunger organization

TICKETS: $250-$300. www.sftaste.org or 1-877-26-TASTE

About Traci Des Jardins, Chef/Co-owner of Jardinière:

Raised on a farm in California's San Joaquin Valley, Traci Des Jardins developed a deep love for the earth and its bounty. The Des Jardins dinner table featured produce from the garden and game from the land in dishes reflecting her heritage - Mexican on her mother's side, Louisianan-French Acadian on her father's. Traci began baking with her mother at age six. While she was a student in veterinary studies at the University of California, she realized her true calling was the kitchen. She left Santa Cruz to follow her heart.

Though she never had a job in a restaurant before, through sheer determination she convinced Joachim Splichal, then at 7th Street Bistro in Los Angeles, to hire her. Within two weeks she was running a station in the kitchen. Says Des Jardins, "I was lucky enough to start with one of the best chefs in the country. He had an uncompromised discipline and standard of excellence and for me there was no turning back." With Splichal's encouragement and recommendations she apprenticed in Europe with many of the French greats, including Michel and Pierre Troisgros, Lucas Carton, Alain Ducasse and Alain Passard.

Back in the States, Des Jardins worked at Montrachet in Manhattan before returning to California as opening chef de cuisine of Splichal's Patina. She moved to San Francisco, where she had always wanted to live, and opened Aqua with George Morrone and Elka Gilmore. In 1997, she opened her own restaurant, Jardinière.

Now one of the most acclaimed and respected chefs in the country, Des Jardins has been honored with numerous awards. She was a James Beard Foundation "Rising Star Chef of the Year", one of Food & Wine Magazine's "Best New Chefs", San Francisco Magazine's" Chef of the Year", and was listed as one of the top three chefs in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle each year since opening.

Currently, Traci is a guest blogger at Epicurious. Click here to visit Traci's blog.

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