Italian Pasta Recipes

Homemade Gnocchi

Ever since I made the Extra Spicy Linguine with ricotta a few weeks ago I have been thinking of other recipes that use ricotta. For some reason I got it in my head that I wanted to make gnocchi. I have never made any sort of homemade pasta before so this was going to be a new culinary experience for me.

After searching the internet for a while, I decided on this recipe that is adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe. Although Cook’s Illustrated recipes are often a little bit (or sometimes a lot) more work, they almost always turn out really well.

Ricotta Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

– 1 container whole milk ricotta (15-16 oz)
– 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
– 1 large egg
– 2 tbsp minced fresh basil
– 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
– 1/2 tsp table salt
– 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
– 6 tbsp all-purpose flour

Ingredients for gnocchi
Fresh herbs for the gnocchi dough

– 4 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
– 2 tbsp minced shallot
– 2 tsp fresh minced sage

1. Line a fine-mesh strainer with 3 layers of paper towels and place over a bowl. Place the ricotta in the strainer and put it in the fridge for an hour to drain.

Straining the ricotta

2. Put the ricotta into a large bowl and mix it with a spoon to loosen it. Add the egg, basil, parsley, salt, pepper, flour, parmesan, and bread crumbs to the bowl. Stir until combined and then place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Gnocchi dough

3. While the dough is in the fridge, fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil, once boiling reduce to a simmer. Also begin prep for the sauce (see step 6).

4. If the dough is too sticky, add a little bit of flour. Dust a surface with flour and take a lemon-sized piece of dough and roll it into a 3/4 inch thick rope. Cut the rope into 3/4 inch pieces and transfer to a baking sheet line with parchment paper. Repeat until all the dough has been formed into small dumpling shapes.

Formed gnocchi ready to cook

5. Add half of the gnocchi to the simmering water and cook until the gnocchi floats to the top. Then simmer the gnocchi for 2 minutes longer and remove with a slotted spoon. While the gnocchi is cooking, make the butter sauce (see step 6). Let the water drain from the gnocchi and add the gnocchi directly to the sauce.

Straining the cooked gnocchi

6. Melt the butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally. Simmer until browned, about 1 1/2 minutes, and it will release a nice nutty aroma (a burning smell or black specks in the butter is bad, wipe out the pan and start over). Add the sage and shallot off heat and let it cook for a minute. Toss with the cooked gnocchi and serve immediately.

Gnocchi tossed with butter sauce

To be honest, making the pasta from scratch was a lot of work and I am not sure if it was worth it. I was lucky to have my mom helping me, but it still took a lot of time and effort to get everything ready, especially on a week night.

The pasta dough was very crumbly, which made rolling it out very troublesome. It also would have been tricky to carefully watch the butter sauce (to ensure it didn’t burn) while cooking the gnocchi if I was doing it all on my own. So again, it was really nice to have another pair of hands (thanks mom!) in the kitchen.

The gnocchi tasted good, but they were very, very rich, especially with the brown butter sauce. I also found the gnocchi to be a little bit mushy, but maybe that is how they are supposed to be and I just didn’t like it.

It was a lot of fun to try making the gnocchi from scratch, but overall, I think the end result wasn’t worth the trouble.

Ricotta Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

Happy Thursday!


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