Melt-in-your-mouth, pillowy Italian ricotta gnocchi. You won’t believe how delicious and quick to make they are! You only need 4 ingredients + salt and pepper to make them. My favorite way to serve them is with chanterelle sauce.
What you’ll need:
- Ricotta cheese – I used regular supermarket ricotta. Don’t use fresh ricotta as it’s too watery. It gives the gnocchi light and pillowy texture.
- Parmesan cheese – it’s best to buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself. It tastes much better as the pre-shredded cheese. How to grate the cheese: don’t grate in on the microplane but on the small holes of a box grater. Cheese grated on the microplane can clump and not distribute well in the dough.
- An egg – binds the dough together.
- Flour – I used regular all-purpose flour. You can use 00 Italian flour to make it lighter if you have such flour on hand.
- Salt and pepper. Be generous with pepper! Do not add a lot of salt as the Parmesan cheese is already salty.
Ricotta gnocchi are a variation of classic Italian potato gnocchi. They are made with ricotta cheese instead of cooked potatoes. Another variation of ricotta gnocchi are gnudi. They are made with ricotta cheese and spinach.
How to make ricotta gnocchi step by step:
STEP 1: Drain the ricotta.
STEP 2: Make the gnocchi dough: Add the egg to a medium bowl and lightly beat it. Add the remaining ingredients: drained ricotta, grated Parmesan cheese, flour, salt, and pepper.
STEP 3: Mix quickly until the ingredients are combined.
STEP 4: Form the gnocchi: Transfer half of the batter onto a well-floured wooden board. Gently roll each piece of the dough into a wide cylinder to a thickness of about 1 1/4-inch/3cm. Brush off excess flour. Using a sharp knife, cut each log into 1.5-inch/4 cm pieces. Repeat with the remaining dough. You should have about 25 gnocchi.
STEP 5: Cook the gnocchi: Bring a large amount of well-salted water in a big pot to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in 2 batches. When the gnocchi float to the surface, cook them for 1 minute then transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate.
How much flour is enough:
You may need to adjust the amount of flour in this recipe because the amount of water in the ricotta cheese may vary. It depends on the brand and how thoroughly you have drained the cheese. The dough will be sticky soft and not very firm. Make sure your wooden board is sprinkled well with flour. You should dip your hand in flour and be able to form nice uniform dough logs. The logs should not be too soft and collapse, they should hold their shape. If the dough doesn’t stick at all it means you’ve added too much flour. If the dough sticks to your knife, you can also dip the knife in flour. If the dough is so sticky that you are not able to easily form the logs, just add more flour to it.
How to measure flour: if you will use a kitchen scale to measure out all the ingredients, it all goes easy breezy! But if you’re using measuring cups, remember that 1 cup of flour can weigh 120-150g, depending on how you’re filling your cup. For this recipe you need 1/2 cup of flour which is about 60-65g – you need to spoon the flour with a spoon into the measuring cup, then level its surface with a knife (don’t scoop the flour, dipping the cup in the bag of flour).
How to cook gnocchi:
- Make sure your water is well salted.
- How many gnocchi should you add at once to the pot: This will depend on the size of the pot – add fewer dumplings into a small pot and more into a bigger pot. It’s important not to add to many, or the water temperature will be too low and the gnocchi won’t be cooking and can fall apart. I add about 12 gnocchi at once into a medium-large pot.
- How long to boil them: Be careful not to overcook the gnocchi or they will be tough. The cooking time will depend on how big your gnocchi are, and how high the heat under your pot is and so on. Very small gnocchi may be ready when they float to the surface, bigger ones may need 1-2 mins cooking time. You can cook 1-2 gnocchi first to see how it is working in your kitchen conditions.
- Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon.
Top tips on how to make the best ricotta gnocchi you’ve ever had:
- Drain the ricotta cheese. Thanks to this step, you can add less flour to the dough and the gnocchi will be more tender. The water content may vary depending on the manufacturer.
- The dough will be sticky, so resist the urge to add more flour. Roll each piece of dough into a wide cylinder on a wooden board, generously sprinkled with flour. This way the flour will be outside the dough and not inside. You can brush off excess flour.
- Don’t overmix the dough, or the gnocchi will be tough. Combine all the ingredients until almost completely combined, but they don’t have to be thoroughly mixed.
- Be careful to not overcook the gnocchi, or they will be tough. If you’re not sure how long to cook your gnocchi (overcooked gnocchi will be tough!) you can cook just 1 gnocchi and if you’re happy will the results, cook the whole batch!
What to serve it with:
- My favorite way is to serve them is with chanterelle sauce. Chanterelle mushroom season is quite short, so out of the season, you can make a simple mushroom sauce with button or cremini mushroom (exactly like in the above-mentioned recipe, just use another mushroom type).
- With simple tomato sauce, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
- Sage butter and Parmesan.
- Pesto sauce or pesto cream sauce (pesto sauce mixed with heavy cream).
- Red chili pesto rosso
- Gorgonzola sauce – either my simple 2-ingredient gorgonzola sauce with spinach and pan-fried fish or gorgonzola walnut sauce.
- You can serve this creamy lemon garlic sauce with chicken and zucchini with gnocchi instead of pasta.
- With this creamy mushroom and butternut squash sauce (instead of potatoes).
- With creamy sun-dried tomato and spinach sauce (instead of pasta) and pan-fried Tuscan chicken.
- Spinach and artichoke gnocchi
- Vodka sauce
- Italian mixed meat roast
How to drain ricotta cheese:
- Leave the cheese overnight on a strainer lined with cheesecloth.
- Pat dry with paper towels: On a large plate, lay out 2 layers of paper towels, spread the ricotta cheese, and press it carefully with more paper towels until they soak up the water. Gently pull the paper towel by pulling its edge. Repeat, trying to drain as much moisture as possible (this is shown on the video).
Other recipes using ricotta cheese:
- ricotta meatballs with spicy tomato sauce
- lemon ricotta doughnuts
- lemon ricotta pancakes with raspberries
Storing and freezing tips:
- Storage: Cooked gnocchi will keep in the fridge for about 2 days. The next day, you can pan-fry the cooked gnocchi with butter (don’t leave the uncooked dough in the fridge).
- How to freeze gnocchi:
cooked: spread the gnocchi apart on a board/tray, freeze and then transfer to zip-lock bags/containers. Cook the frozen gnocchi until they float to the water surface (don’t thaw them).
uncooked: freeze them as described above. Cook like freshly prepared gnocchi BUT add less gnocchi at a time to the pot (they can fall apart due to rapid water temperature drop).
You probably haven’t drained the ricotta properly or you’ve bough very watery ricotta. You could have also not measured the flour and Parmesan cheese correctly .
They haven’t been cooked long enough, cook them just a little bit longer.
Either the dough was not firm enough (you should add more flour) or you’ve added too many gnocchi at once into the water which lowered its temperature too much.
This will depends on what are you serving them with, but I usually take 12 small gnocchi for 1 serving.
- 8 oz ricotta 250g (amount before the draining), whole-milk ricotta
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup flour 60g, spoon and leveled
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 40g
- salt and pepper to taste
- Drain the ricotta: On a large plate, lay out 2 layers of paper towels, spread the ricotta cheese and press it carefully with more paper towels until they soak up the water. Gently pull the paper towel by pulling its edge. Repeat, trying to drain as much moisture as possible.
- Make the gnocchi dough: Add the egg to a medium bowl and lightly beat it. Add the remaining ingredients: drained ricotta, grated Parmesan cheese, flour, salt, and pepper. Mix quickly until the ingredients are almost combined, but they don't have to be thoroughly combined.
- Form the gnocchi: Transfer half of the batter onto a well-floured wooden board. Gently roll each piece of the dough into a wide cylinder to a thickness of about 1 1/4-inch/3cm. Brush off excess flour. Using a sharp knife, cut each long into 1.5-inch/4 cm pieces. Repeat with the remaining dough. You should have about 25 gnocchi.
- Cook gnocchi: Bring a large amount of well-salted water in a big pot to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in 2 batches. When the gnocchi float to the surface, cook them for 1 minute then transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate.
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