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What Is Ricotta Gnocchi?
Ricotta gnocchi, also called ravioli gnudi (“naked ravioli”), are Italian dumplings made from ricotta cheese, flour, and just enough egg to bind it all together. Unlike the more famous potato gnocchi, ricotta gnocchi are hard to mess up, since they’re mostly made of creamy ricotta cheese. The earliest gnocchi (Italian for “lumps”) were made from a combination of ancient-grain flours and curdled milk, so ricotta gnocchi are actually older than potato gnocchi.
What Is the Difference Between Ricotta Gnocchi and Potato Gnocchi?
Potato gnocchi, popular in Italy since the nineteenth century, is made by combining mashed potatoes with flour and sometimes egg, then shaping the dough into small dumplings that are then boiled. Ricotta gnocchi are made in the same way as their potato cousins, but with ricotta cheese in place of the potato.
How to Serve Ricotta Gnocchi
Since ricotta gnocchi can be a little bland on their own, they’re great pan-fried in butter. Plus, you can use a little extra butter to make a brown-butter sauce. Top with herbs such as fried sage or fresh basil, and you’ve got a one-pan pasta dinner. Ricotta gnocchi are also great with tomato sauces such as pomodoro or marinara, and their light flavor and texture pairs wonderfully with herby pesto and sautéed vegetables.
4 Tips for Making Perfect Ricotta Gnocchi
- Use whole milk ricotta for the best flavor, and make sure it doesn’t contain moisture-locking additives (like humectant).
- Drain ricotta for as long as possible (ideally overnight) to help the dough bind together better.
- Stir your dough as little as possible—overworked dough will produce tough gnocchi.
- You can freeze uncooked ricotta gnocchi dumplings on a lightly floured, parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer the gnocchi to a zip-top freezer bag once frozen and store for up to one month.
Easy and Quick Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi Recipe
Prep Time15 min
Total Time45 min
- 15 ounces whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- ½ cup all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
- The night before you plan to cook the gnocchi, drain the ricotta cheese overnight in a colander lined with cheesecloth (you can also use paper towels or a kitchen towel) set above a bowl. Alternatively, wrap the ricotta in a kitchen towel and wring out as much moisture as possible.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. In a large bowl, use your hands to gently combine drained the ricotta, eggs, parmesan, salt, and pepper. Add the flour and mix with your hands until a sticky dough forms.
- Heavily salt the boiling water. Then, scoop out a tablespoon of dough, roll into a 1-inch piece, and drop in boiling water. If the test gnocchi holds its shape, the dough is ready. If not, add a little more flour, mix, and test again.
- Use a tablespoon to scoop a few gnocchi (about six), shape, and drop into the boiling water. When the gnocchi rise to the surface, after about 2-4 minutes, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate, or pan-fry in a hot skillet coated in butter or olive oil.