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Watch Chef Douglass Williams Show How to Make Tender and Light Ricotta Gnocchi at Home

The chef behind Mida in Boston shares some valuable tips on better Italian cooking.

Cacio e Pepe Gnocchi Photo: courtesy Emily Kan

“People confuse simple and easy,” Douglass Williams says. The chef behind Mida in Boston touches on what’s so great about the Italian cuisine he loves and cooks—what looks so uncomplicated at first glance can actually be the result of an extraordinary amount of care and craft. For instance, one of Williams’s specialties, pasta, is only a couple of ingredients but can take a lifetime of work to approach mastery. Gnocchi is another example. It’s just ricotta, parmesan, flour, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg, but you want to get your technique and quality of ingredients on point if you want to make the dish exceptional.

In this episode of Robb Report Culinary School, Williams joins editor Jeremy Repanich to share his tips to make great gnocchi every time. He explains why you want to use three large eggs, but discard the whites for two of them; he offers tips on making a cacio e pepe sauce that works perfectly with the delicate dumplings; and advises you find fresh nutmeg to grate into your mixture. Williams also offers a preview of his two upcoming restaurants—a second, larger Mida location and Apizza, a restaurant devoted to his beloved New Haven-style pizza.

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Odds and Ends and Additional Links

  • Make sure you always have a Microplaner handy when you’re cooking for zesting citrus, grating hard cheeses or adding fresh nutmeg do a dish.
  • The gnocchi hold really well in the freezer, so make a large batch, then store them in 200-gram portions, which will serve one person each.
  • If you’re interested in comparing ricotta gnocchi to potato gnocchi, check out the Instagram Live with Jonathan Waxman from last fall.
  • You can follow Williams on Instagram @douglasswilliams and Repanich @jrepanich.
  • Head to Robb Report’s Instagram page to check out more episodes of Culinary School, including Top Chef winner Mei Lin’s congee and James Beard Award-winner Chris Shepherd’s recipe for bacon chile jam.

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