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Easy Gnocchi Recipe: Try This Trick for Perfect Homemade Pasta!

Gnocchi are cloud-like dumplings that evoke feelings of comfort and warmth as only a steaming plate of pasta can. But for me, gnocchi have always been more of a special occasion meal that I avoided making at home. If you’re like me and you typically order it from a favorite restaurant where you know it will be good, or you leave it for your grandmother to make just right, we’re here to help you get rolling in your own kitchen.

If you have ever attempted the somewhat arduous, hands-on process of making potato gnocchi, then you know it can be time-consuming and probably not worth attempting on a busy weekday. Here, we’re simplifying the process into a dish you can make and enjoy any night of the week. With a few easy tips, making homemade gnocchi has never been easier.

How to Make Easy Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi

First and foremost, using a four-ingredient dough with a ricotta base makes these pillowy dumplings an absolute breeze to prep. Just mix together ricotta with egg, flour, and Parmesan cheese, and you are on your way. While this method comes together quickly and easily, it’s best to make these at least a day before you want to serve them. (More on that in a minute.)

Most recipes will tell you this, but we’ll mention it again: start by drying your ricotta out well. You can do this both overnight in a strainer over a mixing bowl and/or spread out on paper towels to remove as much extra moisture as possible.

Once the cheese is very dry, I like to use a food processor to whir together my ingredients for a dough that comes together in about two minutes. The food processor also helps smooth out the ricotta for a more creamy consistency. The ricotta goes in first and gets pulsed until smooth, then the rest of the ingredients join in the fun to make the dough. For flour, I used my blend of 00 and semolina that I use whenever I make fresh pasta and pizza dough. But you can also use all-purpose flour or whatever flour your go-to gnocchi recipe calls for.

We have a tried-and-true ricotta gnocchi recipe here, but I modified it slightly based on personal preference. And, not to oversell it, but the recipe below holds the best tip for making gnocchi that hold together well and have a perfect texture.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Add drained ricotta to a food processor and process until smooth. Add eggs and pulse a few times to incorporate. Add in flour, Parmesan, salt, and pepper, and pulse a few times just until dough comes together.
  2. Turn out dough onto a flour-dusted surface. Knead slightly to form a ball. Divide ball into four sections. Roll out each section into a rope of preferred size, about 1/2-inch thick. Cut rope into about 1-inch pieces with a knife or pastry cutter. Place dumplings onto a parchment-lined or floured baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Place the baking sheet into the freezer for at least 20-30 minutes so gnocchi can freeze individually without sticking together. Move gnocchi dumplings into a freezer-safe resealable plastic bag or container to store. Freeze for at least 24 hours (and up to 2 months) before cooking.
  4. When ready to prepare, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in frozen gnocchi (right from the freezer) and cook for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes, in batches if needed so as not to crowd the pot. 
  5. Place gnocchi on a platter and serve with your sauce of choice.

The Best Trick for Making Homemade Ricotta Gnocchi

If you didn’t guess already, the real hack here is using the freezer. Ricotta gnocchi are more delicate than other versions, so freezing them before cooking is the best trick to ensure they are hearty enough to stand up to any sauce, yet tender enough to give you the bite you want. This helps keep their shape and integrity when they take the boiling water plunge. Plus, it gives you another great freezer meal to pull out whenever you need one.

Andrea Lobas

How to Serve Ricotta Gnocchi

Now that you have your beautiful dumplings ready to serve, dress them up with whatever strikes your fancy. You can’t go wrong with the traditional tomato sauce route, of course. But if you want something different or seasonal, dress up your gnocchi with pesto garnished with mint, peas, and asparagus in spring, a brown butter sauce with sage and diced squash or sweet potatoes in fall, or creamy Alfredo in winter (or anytime, really).

Since you have a batch in the freezer, any night is a good night for gnocchi.

Andrea Lobas

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