I have to write about these cute little gnocchi because they have become a regular in our dinner rotation, they are easy to make, and they are delicious! In less than an hour, you can make these from scratch and have dinner on your table. Everyone in my family loves these, and that’s a bonus!
I like that they are made with ricotta cheese instead of potatoes… easier to make, and more dependably good. I make Kenji Lopez-Alt’s recipe. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Kenji? Mainly because of his pie crust recipe that changed my pie world. And now these gnocchi. My husband Matthew doesn’t even like gnocchi, but he loves these.
I haven’t done anything different to Kenji’s recipe (I don’t think!), because it is so simple and perfect. But here it is anyway. If I can do it, so can you.
- 1 1/2 cups (340 grams) fresh ricotta, the best you can find
- 1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (use a microplane)
- goodly pinch of salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour (preferably King Arthur flour) plus more for dusting
- Place 3 to 4 paper towels on a large dinner plate. Place the ricotta on the paper towels and spread it out with a spatula.
- Cover the ricotta with 3 to 4 more paper towels, and press down to absorb excess moisture.
- Remove top layers of paper towels. Spoon 1 cup (about 230 grams) of ricotta and place in a large bowl. Save the rest of the ricotta for another use (I often just keep it to add to the next batch of gnocchi).
- Add the egg, egg yolk, 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese*, salt and pepper. Stir to blend.
- Add 1 cup (120 grams) flour and stir lightly to blend. Dough should be fluffy and airy. Don’t over mix. If the dough feels a bit too wet, sprinkle a bit more flour and stir lightly.
- Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Sprinkle with flour and press lightly on the dough to spread it into a square or rectangle.
- Cut into four equal pieces. Roll each quarter into a short log, then cut the logs in half. This leaves you with 8 pieces.
- Roll each piece into a long rope about 12″ in length. Cut the rope into pieces about 3/4″ wide. I try to get about 15 pieces per rope. Toss pieces with flour so they don’t stick together. Repeat with the rest of the ropes.
- At this point, you will have little pillows of dough. You can consider yourself done with the process, unless you want to shape them further.
- If you would like to shape the gnocchi, you can roll each floured pillow against the back of the tines of a fork, or you can use a gnocchi board, which is what I use. They are inexpensive and fun to use! I just take the gnocchi, place on the back of the fork tines or gnocchi board, press into the center of the dough as I roll it off of the board. The pressing into the center creates a little divot that is good for holding on to sauces, and you will have nice ridges on the outside that also serve as sauce holders. BUT, it’s not necessary. Every time I get to this point in the process, I think I’m not gonna do it, but then I do, because they are so cute.**
- Put your favorite sauce to simmer in a dutch oven or other large-ish pot. I like to throw together a half recipe of this one. Then bring some salted water to boil (4 quarts) in a large, wide pot. Once the water comes to a boil, stir it to create a swirling whirlpool effect. Dump the gnocchi into the swirling, boiling water. They usually cook in about 3 minutes or less. I like to give the pot a quick stir once they are all in there. The gnocchi will rise to the top of the water and float when they are done.
- Using a “spider” or a large slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to your simmering sauce. Add maybe a half cup of the pasta water to the sauce, then stir gently once to coat the gnocchi. Bring to a slow boil and let boil for a minute. Remove from heat and serve with salad and a good crusty bread.
*For the cheese, I just take a microplane grater and grate the cheese directly into the bowl with the other ingredients. I eyeball it and keep going until the mountain of cheese looks like a hearty 1/2 cup, or even a bit more. Oh, and it’s best to use a microplane grater so that the cheese is very fine. You don’t want bigger bits of cheese in the gnocchi.
**If you are not going to cook the gnocchi right away, you can freeze them to be used at a later date. Once they are shaped as you like them, spread the gnocchi out on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Freeze for several hours. Place the frozen gnocchi into a freezer storage bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and store in your freezer. They will only take a few more minutes to cook from frozen.
And here are some photos with some more tips…