Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ricotta Gnocchi with Herbs

If the only gnocchi experience you have had is limited to those that resemble goliath albino pill bugs and come in shelf-stable vacuum packs at the grocery store, these will be a departure for you.

These gnocchi, made with ricotta cheese and flour instead of mashed potatoes, are delicate little pillows of tasty dough. You can serve them with your homemade marinara, or glossed with basil pesto, but they're flavorful enough on their own to go commando, gleaming with butter or good quality olive oil and sprinkled with some freshly grated Parmesan. Or even better, make a speedy gremolata to serve on top - mwah (kiss fingertips)!

The thing to keep in mind when you're making these is that the less you handle them, the better. Don't do to much rolling with the dough; rather, just pat it into shape and cut it. I like to make my gnocchi freestyle, but if you prefer, you can "roll" them with a fork to make the characteristic lines around their middle.


Herbed Ricotta Gnocchi


  • 1 cup (8 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional as needed


  1. Combine ricotta, eggs, Parmesan, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic in a medium mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until ingredients are evenly distributed. Stir in 1 cup of flour. If the mixture is very sticky at this point, add additional flour by tablespoons to make a dough that you can work with. It will still be soft and sticky but will hold together.

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Place dough on a floured surface and divide into fourths. Working with one fourth at time, roll dough out into a rope about 1/2-inch thick. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces and set these aside on a floured plate. (If you are making a double batch or you feel the process is taking a long time, set this plate in the refrigerator while you're working.)
  3. Repeat the process with each of the four ropes. When you are done, you can cook your gnocchi as is, or you can mark them with a fork. To do this, gently roll the back of a fork over each gnocchi, pressing down slightly to make an imprint with the tines.
  4. To cook, drop gnocchi in four batches into the pot of boiling water. Do not stir. Gnocchi will rise to the surface when they are finished ~ after about 2 minutes. Remove gnocchi from boiling water with a slotted spoon, place in an ovensafe bowl, drizzle with olive oil or melted butter, and place in a 170 degree F oven to keep while you cook the next batch. Continue until all the gnocchi have been boiled.
Serves 4.

Recipe Notes:


    • You can use either whole-milk ricotta or part-skim ricotta in this recipe.

    • Use grated or shredded Parmesan cheese; do not use the dry Parmesan in the sprinkle-on canister or your gnocchi will have a gritty texture.

    • Feel free to add additional herbs as you like. I like to add a tablespoon or two of fresh basil cut into a fine chiffonade, or chopped fresh rosemary.
    • To avoid making your gnocchi tough and rubbery, don't overwork the dough. Stir it just until it comes together, and don't worry about rolling it out into a perfect cylinder ~ you can "pat" it into a rope shape.
    • If you have trouble cutting your dough ropes with a regular knife, try using sharp kitchen shears and snipping the rope into pieces.
    • Cook the gnocchi in small batches. Crowding the pot will lower the temperature of the water, causing the gnocchi to have to remain in the water longer to cook.

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