Herbed Cornbread-Ricotta “Gnocchi” with Fresh Tomato Pesto
Fresh Tomato Pesto:
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, divided use
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil
Herbed Cornbread-Ricotta “Gnocchi”:
16-ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese, drained
1 large egg, whisked
1/4 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
1/4 cup finely chopped herbs, plus additional for garnish (mixture of basil, thyme, parsley, and oregano)
zest from 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns
1 (6-ounce) package Martha White Cotton Country Cornbread Mix, divided use
4 teaspoons butter, divided
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1. Heat oven to broil setting. In a small bowl, toss tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Place on a 11.5-inch Lodge Rectangular Cast Iron Griddle and broil until tomatoes are lightly charred; remove from oven and let cool. Reduce oven temperature to lowest setting for warming. (Note: If griddle is newer or not yet well seasoned, line with foil to protect from the acidity of the tomatoes).
2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the charred tomatoes, walnuts, anchovy paste, garlic, lemon juice and zest, black and red peppers, cheese, basil, and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Process until mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. (Note: Add a bit of water to thin if desired).
3. To a large bowl add ricotta cheese, egg, Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses, herbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper and mix with a rubber spatula until ingredients are incorporated. Add 1 cup of the cornbread mix (reserve the remaining mix for rolling out dough) and gently mix to combine. Cover and chill for 15 minutes.
4. Lightly dust work surface with reserved cornbread mix. Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Gently roll each portion to form a 12-inch rope and cut into 8 equal pieces; repeat with remaining dough.
5. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon butter and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a 12-inch Lodge Cast Iron Skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add 8 “gnocchi” at a time and cook, turning carefully against the side of the pan to form a triangle shape, until golden brown. Remove from pan to a platter and place in warmed oven until ready to serve. Wipe pan with paper toweling and repeat with remaining dough. 6. To serve gnocchi, toss in or drizzle with pesto and garnish with herbs and Parmesan cheese.