Make Ahead

Ricotta-Feta Gnocchi Tossed in Maple-Brown-Butter and Sweet Peas Sauce

March 26, 2012
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Try this mouthwatering ricotta gnocchi; it is easy, authentic and delicious! My Mom used to make them often for breakfast. In Russia Ricotta Gnocchi are called “Lazy Dumplings” and made with Farmer’s Cheese. They are light and tender velvet-like cushions to your bite and are equally delicious just cooked and then browned in butter or tossed in sour cream, mixed in fresh tomatoes sauce, served with mushrooms or with caramelized onions. Today I made them in a combination of Ricotta and salty feta, which is paring nicely with the sweetness of Maple Syrup and nuttiness of brown butter. I added the sweet peas to celebrate the beginning of spring, lemon juice and zest for freshness. The beautiful photos #4, #5, #6 were taking by Dabblings, who tested and reviewed this recipe. —Kukla

Test Kitchen Notes

You know you have a winning dish on your table when every one from the parents, a 12 year old, a picky 4 year old to a 2 year old scoff it up. I made Kukla's Gnocchi Ricotta-Feta Gnocchi Tossed in a Maple-Brown-Butter and Sweet Peas Sauce for my family of 5 for dinner and it disappeared with a chorus of “mmmm's”. What could be better than pillow soft gnocchi and a buttery maple sauce scented with thyme and lemon? Both easy to make and special enough to wow some company, this meal will be gracing our table again. —Dabblings

What You'll Need
  • For the Gnocchi
  • • 1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk ricotta, homemade or purchased, drained for at list 4 hours or overnight
  • • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) best quality French or Greek feta
  • • 2 extra- large egg yolks
  • • 3/4 cup "00" flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • • 2 tablespoons semolina (which is used for cooking Cream of Wheat, not flour)
  • • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • • Coarse salt and finely ground black or white pepper
  • • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • For the Maple-Brown-Butter
  • • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (preferably grade B)
  • • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • • 1 sprig of fresh thyme
  • • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • • 1 cup sweet green peas, fresh or frozen and thawed
  • • About 2 teaspoons lemon zest, for serving
  • • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, for serving
  • • Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  1. For the Gnocchi
  2. To make the Gnocchi: In a large bowl, using a large fork, mix well ricotta and feta until smooth; add egg yolks, lemon zest, salt and pepper, mix until combined. Sift flour over the mixture; sprinkle semolina and using a rubber spatula gently fold together.
  3. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface. Lightly knead just until dough comes together (do not overwork dough).
  4. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, and roll into 1/2-inch-thick ropes on a floured surface. Cut each rope into 1/2-inch pieces, deep your finger tip in flour and make an indentation in each gnocchi. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet; cover with a kitchen towel. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
  1. For the Maple-Brown-Butter
  2. To make the Maple-Brown-Butter: In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately strain into a small bowl.
  3. In a clean saucepan, bring maple syrup, salt and the thyme sprig to a boil over medium-high and cook 2 minutes; then discard thyme sprig, add brown butter and mix in lemon juice and peas. Cover and keep warm over a pot of simmering water.
  4. To serve: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, shake off excess flour from the gnocchi and add to boiling water. When they plump up and float to surface, lower the heat and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Drain, shake off excess water and toss with the Maple-Brown-Butter and Peas Sauce in a large bowl.
  5. Transfer to a warmed platter or individual bowls, sprinkle with thyme leaves, lemon zest and grate Parmigiano Reggiano over the top. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rachel Stearns
    Rachel Stearns
  • Neta Shpilman
    Neta Shpilman
  • db7
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin
  • Dabblings

22 Reviews

Al D. November 13, 2016
I found that making the dough ahead of time and putting it in the refrigerator overnight made it much easier to handle.
Rachel S. May 1, 2016
Dying to try this but I am so confused about the semolina! What do you mean, used for cream of wheat? Where do I find the kind you recommend? Thanks!
Neta S. April 9, 2015
very good recipe. I didn't have semolina so I substitute polenta and it worked very well. a keeper.
db7 May 31, 2013
Just made this meal and added green beans at the last minute to freshen it up - it was SO delicious, thank you!
Kukla May 31, 2013
Thank you db7! I am very glad you liked my gnocchi recipe!
LeBec F. April 10, 2012
kukla, i know you said you just got your camera and are new at it etc. but this photo, to me, shows that you are a very talented food photographer. Your choice of the food dish, and then the framing under-dish, and the natural light>> it all works so beautifully to make a beautiful dish look as beautiful as it tastes. So many times artists in one medium- discover their art in other mediums as well. Perhaps Creativity/ Inspiration is like a flow of blood and if one artery is blocked (your concert pianist flow) it can then flow through many different arteries.Indeed, it must flow through those new channels. The energy is there and its expression will not be denied! Well, all i can say is, "That is some flow you got there, kukla"!!
LeBec F. April 10, 2012
dabblings, plse tell your daughter that I think she's brilliant. Bacon is what i will be adding to these when i finally get to make them.and mint- for the peas.
Dabblings April 10, 2012
My daughter said "cool". <- Typical tween response. But she's grinning now.
Dabblings April 10, 2012
Dabblings April 10, 2012
I just had to say what a pleasure it was to make this dish for my family. We all loved it so much. I used some homemade ricotta and added a dollop on top when I served the dish and all the plates were clean. My 12 year old thought that the addition of some bacon lardons or some pancetta would be a nice addition. She said that the saltiness would work well with the sweet of the maple syrup and the sour of the lemon juice (she's such a smarty pants). I thought that some julienned carrots par boiled with the gnocchi and then tossed in with the brown butter maple sauce could replace the peas (akin to glazed carrots), although I liked the color of the peas. This is a very special, very simple to make meal. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe!
Kukla April 10, 2012
Thank you so much Dabblings for such a lovely and thoughtful review!
Your daughter’s remarks about bacon lardons already show’s that she has a very good understanding and taste for paring deferent flavors. The addition of carrots also sounds delicious and I definitely will try them next time I make the gnocchi. Thanks again and I hope you will also send the review to the editors!
Dabblings April 10, 2012
I wrote this after I sent in the review. I had more than 100 words worth of praise for this meal. ;) I also included some pictures I took of the dish.
Kukla April 10, 2012
Thank you very kindly Dabbling! If you would like, I can happily add your photos under your name as an alternative for the additions and serving suggestions. My email is:
[email protected]
Kukla April 10, 2012
Thank you very kindly Dabbling! If you would like, I can happily add your photos under your name as an alternative for the additions and serving suggestions. My email is:
[email protected] or
Dabblings April 10, 2012
Sure I'll send them over. If you like them you can use them. You took some very nice pictures, I just always shoot the dishes I make for here, just in case.
Kukla April 10, 2012
Thank you so very much Dabblings! I posted your beautiful photos and credit them to you.
Dabblings April 10, 2012
Oh good! I'm glad you liked them :)
Michael March 8, 2019
Nice photos with good steam!
LeBec F. March 28, 2012
kukla, you know sometimes it just takes one little tidbit of information- to make all the difference in a dish. And your note about semolina (I just bought some- to make the semolina pancakes recipe from the celery contest i think) making the gnocchi particularly soft- that is JUST the info i have been waiting for (as gnocchi recipes piled up in my folder, i knew there was still SOMEthing lacking that i needed before i ventured into gnocchiland)!
So now i have your recipe and the pancakes, so i will be having some wonderful food soon thanks to you again! you're the best kukla.

p.s. when are you going to tell us what instrument you play(aside from the one that knows all the chords in our stomachs!)?
Kukla March 28, 2012
Thanks' Le Bec Fin! I used to be a Concert Pianist, but now days, as my daughter and husband say, I play pots and pans.
Kitchen B. March 28, 2012
This sounds absolutely heavenly!!!!!!!!!!! Wow. Love the flavours
Kukla March 28, 2012
Thank You Kitchen Buterfly! I very much dislike when some cooks say: “It’s not your Mama’s …….”
The best things I learned about cooking and baking are in my Mom’s and aunt Klara’s recipes.