This past Saturday we welcomed a cold front to Austin, and we enjoyed gray skies and temps that barely reached into the 70s – a good 20 degrees cooler than Monday through Friday.  We opened the windows, and I cooked up this dish while the boy slept and Tim checked up on the 5k results (he won his age group!  and PRed!).  It’s as comforting as a cheesy Italian dish can be, but with a hint of springy freshness thanks to the fresh parsley in both the dumplings and the sauce.

Moosewood has a different name for this dish: Ricotta Gnocci and Mondo Bizarro Sauce.  Mine is more boring, but probably a bit more descriptive of what you really get.  Don’t expect gnocci-esque flavor or texture from the dumplings, and the sauce is a delicious oil-free pesto.

Ricotta Gnocci (adapted slightly from The New Moosewood Cookbook)

  • 1 lb ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 lb (4 oz) mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 c minced parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 c parmesan
  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together ricotta and eggs.
  3. Add all other ingredients and mix well.
  4. Drop ~1 Tbsp balls of mixture into boiling water.  Allow water to come back to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook 15 minutes.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove boiled dumplings to a baking sheet to drain. (Note: you can stop here, and wait for your company to arrive.  Heat the dumplings for a few minutes in the microwave before broiling.)
  6. Butter a 9×13″ dish.  Arrange dumplings in a single layer on the bottom of the dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan.
  7. Broil ~5 minutes, until starting to brown.
  8. Spoon sauce over and between dumplings, continue to broil another few minutes, until sauce is warmed.  Serve.

Mondo Bizarro Sauce (adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook)

  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 c fresh basil leaves
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 t salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 c parmesan
  • 1/3 c pinenuts, toasted
  1. Put the garlic, basil, parsley, and spinach into the food processor or blender and process to a paste.
  2. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and pulse 10-15 times to incorporate.
  3. Add cheese and pinenuts, pulse 5 times, just to mix.