The easiest homemade gnocchi recipe you’ll try! Using ricotta instead of mashed potatoes, this entire ‘gnocchi di ricotta’ dish can be ready in less than 30 minutes, making it a speedy weeknight meal for busy families. Topped with a simple tomato sauce and fresh basil, the whole family will love this dish!
If you love homemade potato gnocchi, but don’t love the time and mess involved, then try this faster, easy to make ricotta gnocchi! More tender and delicious than its potato counterpart, ricotta gnocchi is ready in half the time of traditional gnocchi and can be made using just one bowl for minimal mess!
My 4 year old calls ricotta gnocchi “pasta clouds”. And I can’t think of a better description! These bite sized little ricotta dumplings are smooth, fluffy and dreamy, just like a cloud.
Even if you’ve never made gnocchi from scratch before, I’ll show you how with 30 minutes and some simple ingredients!
- Quick and easy – The best thing is, anyone can make this ricotta pasta. Even beginners! You’ll need one bowl, one pot and about 30 minutes.
- Vegetarian – this recipe is vegetarian, and can be adapted with any sauce you like to add extra veggies. Perfect for a meat-free dinner!
- Pantry friendly – made with basic pantry items like flour, eggs, and spices (nutmeg, salt, pepper).
What you’ll need
To make this ricotta gnocchi recipe, you will need the following ingredients; (The full ingredient list and instructions can be found in the recipe card below).
- Ricotta. For this recipe, use smooth ricotta in a tub from the supermarkets rather than fresh, Italian ricotta. The fresh deli version needs to be drained of its excess liquid for around 30 minutes before making the pasta, in either a cloth or paper towel. It’s much easier to use the simple, supermarket tubs of smooth ricotta which has a spread-like consistency and are ready for immediate use.
- Flour. I recommend using ‘00’ flour which is a finer flour, perfect for pastas and breads. The fine flour makes the gnocchi pieces extra soft. But normal, plain flour will also work if ‘00’ flour is not available.
- Egg yolks.
- Parmesan and feta cheese. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and crumbled feta.
- Salt and pepper to season.
- Lemon zest.
Plus, for the pasta sauce;
- Canned tomatoes. Try using plain canned tomatoes with no added flavours, preservatives or additives.
- Olive oil.
- Garlic. Fresh cloves or minced garlic is fine.
- Lemon juice.
- Fresh basil.
- Salt and pepper.
And some fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve.
Step by step instructions
To make ricotta gnocchi;
- Mix the pasta ingredients except the flour together in a bowl.
- Add the flour and bring the mixture together with your hands until a soft dough forms. The dough should be soft and pliable and a little sticky, but not too sticky. Add a little more flour, if needed.
3. Knead the dough for a few minutes, until smooth.
4. Then, cut into four equal portions and roll each portion into a long sausage shape.
5. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into small, bite sized pieces. Toss the pieces in a little extra flour to stop the pieces from sticking together.
How to cook gnocchi di ricotta
Gnocchi is cooked in the same way that you cook traditional pasta; in boiling, salted water. Fresh homemade gnocchi only takes 3-5 minutes to cook (depending on the size of the pieces). The gnocchi pieces will start to rise to the top as they cook. You can test a piece by biting or cutting it in half. When cooked, the gnocchi will be soft and slightly chewy and a little fluffy on the inside.
When ready, simply drain the pasta and toss it through the tomato sauce (or your sauce of choice).
Can I freeze gnocchi?
Yes, gnocchi freezes beautifully! Perfect for a speedy weeknight dinner, straight from the freezer.
To freeze gnocchi, spread the uncooked pieces out in a single layer (not touching) over a lightly floured sheet of baking paper on a flat tray. Place the tray in the freezer until the gnocchi has frozen (around an hour) and then place the pieces into an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 2-3 months. Separate any layers with baking paper.
To cook frozen gnocchi, either allow the pieces to defrost at room temperature and add to boiling water, or place the gnocchi straight into boiling water while still frozen. The second option will take a couple of minutes extra, but the result will be the same.
Why is my gnocchi hard?
Gnocchi being too tough is usually caused by one of two things (or both!). Either there is too much flour added, or the dough has been kneaded for too long. You want the dough to be smooth, soft and a little sticky. For gnocchi with a fluffy texture, knead for a few minutes for the ingredients to come together, without over-working. The less extra flour added, the better.
What goes well with gnocchi?
Try serving ricotta gnocchi with a simple homemade tomato sauce (recipe below).
Another delicious gnocchi sauce idea is browned butter with sage. To do this, simply heat ⅓ cup of butter in a frying pan until bubbling. Add a handful of fresh sage leaves and a little salt and pepper and stir until the leaves become crisp. Remove pan from the heat when the butter has turned a golden brown colour and quickly toss the gnocchi through the sauce. Burnt butter and sage sauce is amazing on its own, and even better with some roasted pumpkin or prosciutto tossed through the butter as well!
And a good quality, crusty bread or garlic bread is always a must with pasta dishes!
If you love the look of this gnocchi di ricotta, you’ll want to try these recipes too:
If you try this gnocchi di ricotta, I’d love to hear about it! Feel free to leave a comment or review below, or send me a message. For more food inspiration, tips and to share your own recipes and creations, head over to my Facebook Recipe Group.
Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi (Gnocchi di Ricotta)
For the gnocchi
- 1 ¼ cups smooth ricotta
- 5 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese fresh, grated
- ¼ cup feta cheese finely crumbled
- ¼ tsp nutmeg ground
- salt and pepper
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- 2 cups 00 flour plus extra for kneading and coating
For the tomato pasta sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4-5 garlic cloves finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- 4 cups canned tomatoes diced
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 1-2 tsp lemon juice
- fresh parmesan cheese grated
- basil leaves
For the gnocchi
- Place the ricotta, egg yolks, parmesan, feta, nutmeg, lemon zest and a generous amount of salt and pepper into a mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
- Add the flour to the mixture and use your hands to form a soft dough. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky, but not stick to your hands.
- Knead the dough on a clean, floured bench for 3-4 minutes, until soft. Divide the dough into four equal portions and use your fingers to roll each dough portion into a thin sausage shape on your bench.
- Using a knife, cut the rolled dough into small, bite sized pieces. Sprinkle with a little extra flour to prevent the pieces from sticking together.
- Place the gnocchi into a large pot of boiling, salted water. You may need to cook in batches, depending on the size of your pot. Continue to boil for around 3-5 minutes. The gnocchi will start to float to the top when it is ready. Allow to cook for another minute. Test a piece of gnocchi by removing it from the water. If it is soft and not chewy, it is ready. **Cooking time will vary slightly depending on the size that you cut your pasta. Remove from the heat and drain.
For the tomato sauce
- While the gnocchi is cooking, add the olive oil and garlic, salt and pepper to a large frying pan and cook over medium heat until the garlic softens. Add the canned tomatoes, torn basil leaves and lemon juice and simmer for five minutes.
- Stir the gnocchi through the tomato sauce and spoon into bowls. Top with freshly grated parmesan and basil and serve immediately. Enjoy!
- The gnocchi can be made ahead and stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 2-3 days, before cooking. To store, place the pieces in the container without touching and separate layers with baking paper. Cover and store until ready to cook.
- Try making a double batch and freezing half for next time! Gnocchi freezes beautifully. Perfect for a speedy weeknight dinner, straight from the freezer. To freeze gnocchi, spread the uncooked pieces out in a single layer (not touching) over a lightly floured sheet of baking paper on a flat tray. Place the tray in the freezer until the gnocchi has frozen (around an hour) and then place them into an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Separate any layers with baking paper.
- To cook frozen gnocchi, either allow them to defrost at room temperature and add to boiling water, or place the gnocchi straight into boiling water while still frozen. The second option will take a couple of minutes extra, but the result will be the same.
- For this recipe, use smooth ricotta in a tub from the supermarkets, rather than fresh, Italian ricotta. The fresh version needs to be drained of its excess liquid for around 30 minutes before making the pasta. It’s much easier to use the simple, supermarket tubs!