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It Took Me 20 Years to Pin Down Grandma's Gnocchi

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Every so often, we scour the site for cool recipes from our community that we then test, photograph, and feature. This one comes from cdilaura, who shares a favorite recipe from her grandmother that's simple, satisfying, and make-ahead friendly.

Yes, homemade gnocchi can be a weeknight dinner.
Yes, homemade gnocchi can be a weeknight dinner. Photo by Ty Mecham

I grew up going to my Italian grandmother's every Sunday for dinner. I have fond memories of handmade pasta drying on a rack, big pots of sauce simmering away on the stove and stinky hard Italian cheeses that I loved to snack on, even as a child. But my most favorite Sundays at Grandma's were the Sundays when she made her gnocchi.

For many years she used potato, but then wised up to the ease and lightness of using ricotta instead. It took about 20 years before I finally pinned her down and made her write the recipe that had always been made by memory and feel. Isn't that how all Italian grandmother's cook?

We Could Watch These Italian Nonnas Make Pasta All Day
We Could Watch These Italian Nonnas Make Pasta All Day

It’s a fairly easy process. First, mix egg, ricotta cheese, and oil together, then add the grated parmesan cheese and sprinkle with nutmeg to taste. Once you sift and mix the flour in, form a ball and cut off slices of dough like cutting a loaf of bread. Roll into thumb-sized-thick ropes by spreading out your hands and fingers and rolling from center out to each edge of the rope.

To cut the gnocchi, line your ropes parallel to one another and cut two at a time into 1-inch pieces. Roll each piece off the back of a fork to make imprints that will help hold the sauce.

Freezing is not necessary if you are cooking right away, but it does help prevent them from sticking together when you add to the water. All you really need is about 10-15 minutes to give them a chance to firm up on the outside before dropping in the pot. If you aren't going to make them right away, it's important to let them freeze on the tray first so that they don't stick together when you store in a bag or container for future use, since they are so soft and delicate.

As soon as you're ready to cook, they should go straight from the freezer to the boiling pot (no defrosting) and will cook in essentially the same amount of time. Nice thing to have on hand for a midweek meal!

Grandma DiLaura's Italian Ricotta Gnocchi

Grandma DiLaura's Italian Ricotta Gnocchi

cdilaura cdilaura
Serves 4
  • 1 pound fresh whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg to taste
  • 2 cups flour, sifted, plus extra for rolling dough
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Do you have a recipe that's been passed down in your family? Or one you want to make sure your future generations make? Let us know in the comments and it might be featured as one of our heirloom recipes!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Pasta, Heirloom Recipes