Gnocchi at Monsú, you are quite the world-traveled dish!
That’s right. My recipe was taken home from Chef Peter McAndrews and Damien Messina’s trip to Sicily. They feasted on a rigatoni dish with tomato cream sauce, crab and mozzarella. I’m their take on that recipe, which is from Catania, a coastal town on the Ioanian Sea.
So what are the main differences between you and your cousin in Sicily?
Well, instead of rigatoni, I’m a light, pillowy-textured ricotta-based gnocchi made with ricotta impastata, nutmeg, pecorino, eggs, flour and salt.
What about the sauce?
The sauce is simple: San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, heavy cream, lemon juice, salt, lemon and orange zest and mint. That’s it! Then add your toasted pistachios, fresh crab meat and garnish with ricotta salata.
That is simple!
Uncomplicated and delicious. And unlike some other joints, you won’t find me drowning in sauce. I don’t swim.
What’s the difference between ricotta impasata and ricotta salata?
Ricotta impastata is a light, creamy cheese that has been drained of most of its moisture while ricotta salata has been pressed, dried and salted so it’s drier and more savory.
So what would you suggest customers order along with you?
Chef Messina thinks I’m perfect just on my own. To him, the best thing about Italian cooking is its simplicity, so order me as your main course and bring along a bottle of Pinot Noir. Alla fine.
Anything you’d like to share that customers are saying about you?
I’ve become a neighborhood dish on 9th Street. My fans say that I’m the best “gnocchis” they’ve ever had! I’m so flattered that I don’t even correct the silly Amedigans that gnocchi is already plural.
Monsú, 901 Christian St., 215.440.0495. monsurestaurant.com
Dinner with Luke Palladino