Chicken Roulade and Gnocchi

Here are two items I made this week – chicken roulade stuffed with a mashed vegetable filling, and goat cheese ricotta gnocchi in a walnut butter sauce. These don’t look particularly colorful together on the plate – but along with a side salad they made a tasty meal together.

Gnocchi are typically made with potatoes, but ricotta cheese gnocchi are especially rich and flavorful. I first ran into these at the Italian restaurant chain Maggiano’s, where they serve the ricotta gnocchi with a tomato vodka cream sauce – wow! [That reminds me, I need to make that sauce too sometime before the end of the month :)]

This gnocchi recipe uses a mixture of goat cheese and ricotta for a stronger flavor. The ingredients are mixed into a soft dough, rolled into a snake shape and cut into piece. The pieces are then rolled over a small grater to make an unique shape. It will take a little practice to get this right!

Goat Ricotta Gnocchi
3/4 c. goat cheese
1 c. ricotta
1 c. flour
6 Tbsp. butter
1/3 c. chopped walnuts
1 Tbsp. chopped thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the goat cheese, ricotta and flour and knead the dough until it doesn’t stick to a wooden surface. You may need to add a little more flour, depending on the type of flour and the climate. [I actually made this batch a bit sticky, as you can see from the picture of the completed product, which kind of melted together somewhat…]

Roll out the dough about 1-inch thick, and then slice small pieces about 1/4-inch pieces. Roll the pieces over a small grater to form a consistent shape. Place onto a flour-coated sheet and put in the fridge until you’re ready to boil. Boil a pot of salted water, then add the gnocchi. They only need to cook briefly, about 1-2 minutes until the gnocchi float back to the top of the water. Drain while you make the sauce.

Make the walnut butter sauce by melting butter in a saucepan, then add walnuts and thyme for about 30 seconds, add a couple Tbsp. of pasta water and mix well to make a sauce.  Add the gnocchi to the pan and stir to mix and coat with sauce. Then serve immediately.

The chicken roulade was supposed to be made with chicken breasts, but I had some frozen thighs that I wanted to use – so I adapted it. They don’t turn out as pretty with thighs, but tasted delicious.  The basic concept of this recipe is to cook cabbage and other vegetables together for a long time over low heat, then puree into a mashed vegetable mixture that is used to stuff the chicken. It is then sealed up in aluminum foil and baked.

Chicken Roulade
4 boneless chicken thighs
olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small carrot, diced
4 c. shredded cabbage
1 Tbsp. thyme
1 Tbsp. parsley
1/4 c. water
2 Tbsp. heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion, celery and carrot in olive oil over medium heat for about 5-6 minutes, until tender. Then add the cabbage and herbs and continue to saute until it wilts. Turn the heat way down, add 1/4 c. water and cover to simmer over very low heat for about 30 minutes, adding more water as necessary to keep from sticking.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Butterfly and pound the thighs thin, set aside.

Puree the vegetables with cream and salt and pepper to taste. Use this paste to stuff the thighs or breasts and roll them up, sealing in aluminum foil. [There will be some stuffing leftover, use it to serve with the roulade as a sauce.] Place in a baking dish and bake at 425F for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool, then slice and serve.

Both recipes Adapted from: The Italian Farmer’s Table

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