Jolly Cookathon: ricotta gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce

Heard about the Jolly Cookathon? It’s our latest community challenge, in celebration of eating together. Entries close on 20 November, get all the details and join in, jolly friend.

Reuben Riffel, SA’s very own celebrity chef, minus the airs mind you, spends most of his time at his self-named restaurant chain, Reuben’s, and will soon be the name linked to the One & Only Hotel. It’s understandable why he loves entertaining at home with top notch gourmet foods like this gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce.

Ingredients for the sauce:

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons double cream
100g gorgonzola cheese, crumbled


Melt the butter with the cream in a saucepan over low heat. Add the gorgonzola and squash and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a thick and creamy mixture (about 1 minute). Turn off the heat but keep warm until you are ready to serve the gnocchi.

Ingredients for the gnocchi:

400g ricotta
3 organic egg yolks
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
5 tablespoons semolina
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley


Mix the ricotta, egg yolks, Parmesan (the pre-grated stuff will not do), semolina, salt, pepper and a couple of good pinches of nutmeg in a large bowl, and mix thoroughly to make dough.

On a lightly oiled surface (you could use a plastic tray or large chopping board if you don’t want to oil your work surface), roll the dough into thin sausages about as thick as your thumb. Cut the rolls with a sharp knife into lengths about 2cm long. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.

When the sauce is just about ready, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and adjust the heat so that the water simmers gently (do not let it boil). Lower the gnocchi, one batch at a time, on a slotted spoon into the simmering water and poach until they float back to the surface – about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a warmed serving dish. Drop more dumplings into the pan. Repeat the process until all your dumplings are cooked.

To serve, spoon the gnocchi onto plates or bowls. Briefly warm through the sauce and pour over the gnocchi. To garnish, sprinkle with the finely chopped parsley.

TIP: These gnocchi can be made a day ahead. They must be kept covered and in single layers, not touching, in the refrigerator, and cooked just before serving.

Serves 4 – 6

Reuben’s gnocchi recipe is from Taking it Easy, Andy Fenner’s brilliant new compilation cook book with home entertaining favourites from 20 of South Africa’s leading chefs.