Grandma DiLaura's Italian Ricotta Gnocchi

February 9, 2011

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

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? Since the best meals are the ones that are shared, I want to take it out of the old family box and contribute it to the food52 community. Buon Appetito! - cdilaura


Food52 Review: We're newly convinced, thanks to this recipe, that homemade gnocchi can be a weeknight dinner. And ricotta gnocchi like cdilaura's (a.k.a. our friend Christina) are especially easy to pull together, and won't weigh you down like their potato-based counterparts. We loved these nearly bare -- just sauteed in some brown butter -- so we could really taste the ricotta and speckles of nutmeg, but Christina's Grandma DiLaura's Tomato and Meat Sauce recipe (also on the site) is delicious too. To see a video of Christina making her gnocchi with us, go here:
- A&M
The Editors

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
In This Recipe


  1. Add egg to ricotta cheese and oil and mix thoroughly.
  2. Add grated parmesan cheese to mixture and sprinkle with nutmeg to taste.
  3. Add sifted flour a little at a time and continue to mix thoroughly until dough comes together.
  4. Dump onto generously floured surface and work with hands to bring together into a smooth ball. Add more flour as necessary until dough is smooth and no longer sticks to your hands.
  5. Cut off slices of dough like cutting a loaf of bread and roll into ropes thumb size thick by spreading hands and fingers and rolling from center out to each edge of the rope.
  6. Line one rope parallel to another and cut 2 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.
  7. Transfer gnocchi pieces to a lightly floured or non-stick baking sheet so they don’t stick together and put in the freezer while making the rest of batch. If you plan to save any gnocchi for future use, allow them to freeze entirely on the baking sheet before storing in a ziplock bag to prevent sticking together.
  8. When ready to prepare, bring a large stockpot of generously salted water to a boil.
  9. Add gnocchi to boiling water and gently stir once with a wooden spoon to create movement and prevent gnocchi from sticking to the bottom. As gnocchi rise to the top {a sign they are done cooking} scoop them out with a mesh strainer or a bamboo wire skimmer and immediately place in serving bowl shaking off excess water.
  10. Scoop some sauce on top of each layer of gnocchi as they are placed in the bowl to eliminate the need to stir them with sauce in the end and risk damaging or smashing the pasta. Generously grate parmesan over the top and serve.

More Great Recipes:
Pasta|Italian|Nutmeg|Ricotta|Boil|Winter|Sunday Dinner|Fall|Spring|Summer|Weeknight Cooking|Vegetarian

Reviews (101) Questions (4)

101 Reviews

Marzparty February 11, 2019
Victoria A. September 25, 2018
This recipe is so easy and delicious! Potato gnocchi tends to be too doughy and dense for my taste, but these are light and airy. I make a huge batch and then freeze them. They cook exactly the same frozen. I normally fry them in a small pan with browned butter, sage, and parmigiano.
Mike S. July 31, 2018
I don't often comment on recipes, but this one made me so happy that I had to say it in public. I expected full failure when I gave this a try, but not only was it easy, the outcome was delightful. These gnocchi are so light and tasty. Mine were ugly as sin (I haven't mastered the fork rolling), but it didn't matter. I coated them with pesto and felt like I was eating a truly special meal.<br /><br />Small note: I only ended up using 1.5 cups of flour in the dough, and used most of the remaining flour to keep my surface floured and to re-coat the gnocchi after I'd cut them, and I thought this worked perfectly.<br /><br />Thank you so much for sharing!
Stephanie B. July 11, 2018
Mine are turning out soft, mostly pillowy, but still a little chewy (I made them with some whole wheat flour too, so that might add some extra density), but still kind of doughy on the inside when they float to the top. I'm boiling mine for longer - anyone else have this problem? Ok texture but long cooking time?
m October 24, 2017
has anyone done this with GF flour? thanks!
Madison B. August 21, 2018
I made them with Bob's red mill all purposes GF flour and it turned out just fine! Maybe a little chewier than they would be otherwise, but still delicious.
EC October 1, 2017
After boiling and tossing with some brown butter in the pan, visually it looked great. But when tasting it - unfortunately was too dense, with tiny bits of flour inside and had a mealy and chewy texture. Far from the pillowy, silky texture I associate with classic gnocchi. When rolling the dough on the board, it was very moist in sections - most likely due to ricotta retaining too much water. Instructions indicate "add more flour as necessary until dough is smooth and no longer sticks to your hands". But when I did that, I had to add almost 3/4-1 cup more flour to absorb the water and ended up overworking the dough. Looking at other ricotta gnocchi recipes online, it seems that the ricotta needs to be drained and minimally handled with a bit of stickiness. Will try again with different technique...
healthierkitchen March 31, 2017
there used to be a video of this recipe - does anyone know if it still exists?<br />
Rhonda35 June 16, 2017
Here it is: <br />
Mondo October 9, 2016
Hey, I'm looking forward to making this recipe this evening and was just wondering if you could be a bit more specific about how much nutmeg you use. I also had a question about the brown butter-- Do you toss the cooked gnocchi in the pan with the butter or just combine once finished?<br />Thanks a bunch!
Mondo October 9, 2016
So I made it, and though it tastes delicious the gnocchi is a bit mealy on the inside. Does that sound like a dough problem or a cook-time problem?
lilroseglow July 27, 2015
yum yum yum. These were awesome. Every gnocchi I've made before were heavy, dense, and chewy. These were like soft pillows oh so good!
The P. March 29, 2015
My father rolled a double batch of these yesterday and as we had no fresh sage we had to forgo a brown butter sage sauce. I made a very light tomato-basil sauce and these gnocchi were outstanding. Pops should have made a triple batch!
Chris V. November 20, 2014
I would just like to add to the chorus of thank yous and accolades! This recipe is wonderful. It is a crowd pleaser for everyone from foodies to kids and grandparents, and the steps are simple and unintimidating even for new cooks who might otherwise shy away from homemade pasta.
Bren May 28, 2014
Hello! Thanks for this lovely recipe. A question: I have "tipo 00" flour that I use to make pizza dough. Would this work well for gnocchi? Or is all purpose better for this recipe?
Allison B. May 10, 2014
i ended up only using 1 1/3 c. of flour, as i could tell by consistency that the gnocchi dough was ready. i also used homemade ricotta, so that might affect the consistency (the type of ricotta). but we were super happy with the results!
Julie B. May 2, 2014
How much flour would you say you used to make the dough smooth and not stick? Also, how long did it take to make it this way? I feel like I used way too much flour so my gnocchi were pretty dense. I also cut them to long so they were a bit big.
Adelucchi April 29, 2014
The gnocchi recipe I used with Pesto all a Genovese. it was great with the ricotta gnocchi. So easy to make. Very light and delicious! Thanks for the recipe.
rob W. March 25, 2014
sauteing in butter and sage leaves
CheffieEmily March 23, 2014
I love gnocchi. Sweet potato, ricotta. Love it all. I made them a dozen times in culinary school. I love blanching them then toasting them in a little butter until the butter is browned. It taste so sweet and nutty and creates a lovely crust
Dominique March 18, 2014
I cooked the gnocchis according to instructions, letting them come back up on the surface of the water, but that did not take very long and they felt like undercooked dough. Is that normal or would there be a reason for this ? I absolutely loooove your website by the way, it is fantastic !
[email protected] January 25, 2014
This is a recipe my mother used fifty (50) years ago. It's the best. The only she did different, is instead of using a fork she would gently roll each piece with her thumb and they would end up looking just a bit like a shell. I've had wonderful luck with this recipe.
Cococi January 24, 2014
I just made these gnocchi the other day and added a little more nutmeg and some cinnamon. They were so delicious and easy to make!