If you have ever tried to make gnocchi, you know it’s quite time consuming. But now with this ricotta gnocchi recipe you will be saving a large amount of time, while impressing your friends, family and stomach. The difference of this ricotta gnocchi recipe is the addition of lemon zest in the dough. It makes the heavy gnocchi a little lighter and gives it a much more fresh flavour.


What Ingredients go into Ricotta Gnocchi?

  • Ricotta
  • Parmesan Cheese – grated
  • Flour
  • Eggs
  • Lemon Zest- for flavour
  • Salt

How to Make Ricotta Gnocchi

First, you will have to dry out your ricotta:

Lay down a double layer of paper towel over your cutting board or a plate. Place ricotta on the paper towel, and cover with another 2 layers of paper towel. Press down with your hands until the moisture goes right through the towels.

Take your dried ricotta and place in a mixing bowl, add eggs, parmesan, lemon zest, salt and 1 cup of the flour.

Ricotta cheese flattened between paper towels.
Drying the Ricotta
Metal bowl with gnocchi ingredients in it
Ready to Mix

Mix well with your hands or a spatula until well incorporated. If necessary add the rest of the 1/4 cup of flour a little at a time until it turns into a dough that is a little sticky. You might not need to use all of the flour, this depends on how dry your ricotta was from the start. The more flour you use the more doughy your gnocchi will be.

When the mixture turns into a dough that you can work with, dust your work surface with flour and place dough on it. Roll the dough mixture into one large log. Divide the dough in half, then each half in half, so you have 4 balls of dough. Each ball will be then cut in half again, so you will have 8 balls of dough.

Take each ball and roll out each piece to an approximately 1-inch thick rope. Notice how my ropes aren’t perfect, food doesn’t have to be perfect, we want it to look good and taste even better, perfection is in the flavour!

With a knife and cut each log into 1-inch pieces, so they look like little dough pillows. Place these pieces on a prepared baking sheet sprinkled with flour. Repeat the steps with each log.

Hands rolling dough on a wooden cutting board.
Hands rolling dough on a wooden cutting board.
Cutting gnocchi dough on a cutting board.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with a good amount of salt, about 1 Tbsp.

Lower heat to a light simmer, swirl the water in a circle with a spoon, then drop the gnocchi in while the water is moving so that the gnocchi doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Keep the water moving in a circular motion until the gnocchi starts to float. When all the gnocchi is floating, cook it for another 30 to 45 seconds.

You can scoop out a piece and cut it open to make sure it is cooked through — it’s not nice eating undercooked gnocchi!

From when you put the gnocchi in the water it will take about 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 minutes in total. Pull out gnocchi with a slotted spoon, place on an oiled sheet-pan and toss to cover with oil.

Uncooked gnocchi on a black plate.
Cooked gnocchi on a plate.

Can I Fry Gnocchi? 

YES! Do you like crispy gnocchi, slightly crispy gnocchi or soft gnocchi? Well, guess what? You can have it all!

We love eating gnocchi all ways, but if you want to crisp it up at this point follow these steps: Heat a frying pan with oil and a little butter. When hot, add your cooked gnocchi to the pan, making sure not to crowd the pan too much so you can get a nice brown colour on the pasta. Flip each over with tongs when done to your liking, then if you want to, add the sauce. Serve hot.

Fried gnocchi on a black plate.
Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside — Perfect!

Potato Gnocchi vs Ricotta Gnocchi

We have been making potato gnocchi for quite some time, and I have to tell you, it took a while before it came out properly. There are so many different types of potatoes, from starchy to waxy, and all the sizes you can think of. So a recipe cannot be straightforward when making gnocchi with potatoes since it will always be subject to the exact size and type of potato you use to the amounts of flour you use.

Then we found ricotta gnocchi, the saving grace of gnocchi. Ricotta gnocchi only needs 4 ingredients, plus 2 for flavouring in this recipe, and not a lot of practice. This is the easiest gnocchi recipe you will make, and a great way to impress your friends. Oh, and it doesn’t take that long to make either!

The flavour of gnocchi might change a little but the preparation goes from a couple of hours to cook and cool potatoes, to less than a half-hour to hand-make ricotta gnocchi.

Gnocchi covered in cream sauce and cheese on a black plate.
Carbs and Cheese. The Best!
Black plate with fried gnocchi covered in a cream sauce and cheese.

Ricotta Gnocchi with Lemon

Yield: 2 Servings / 40 Gnocchi
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Additional Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 26 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cups Ricotta
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup + 3Tbsp Flour
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Lemon, zested
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • Flour for dusting

Instructions

To Dry out the Ricotta

Lay down a double layer of paper towel over your cutting board or a plate. Place ricotta on the paper towel, and cover with another 2 layers of paper towel. Press down with your hands until the moisture goes right through the towels. This is all the prep you need to dry out your ricotta.

To make Gnocchi

  1. Take your dried ricotta and place in a mixing bowl, add egg, parmesan, lemon zest, salt and 1/2 cup of the flour.
  2. Mix well with your hands or a spatula until well incorporated. Add the rest of the flour a little at a time until it turns into a dough that is a little sticky. You might not need to use all of the flour, this depends on how dry your ricotta was from the start.
  3. Dust work surface with flour and roll dough into a large log. Cut into 8 equal pieces.
  4. Roll out each piece to approximately 1 inch thick. Take a knife and cut each log into 8 to 10 equal 1 inch pieces.
  5. Place these pieces on a prepared baking sheet sprinkled with flour. Repeat until it is all cut. Place in freezer.

To Cook Gnocchi

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt.
  2. Lower heat to a light simmer, swirl the water in a circle with a spoon, then drop the gnocchi in while the water is moving so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Keep the water moving in a circular motion until the gnocchi starts to float, then cook for another 30 to 45 seconds.
    *Total cooking time, (time from adding to water to taking it out) should be 5.5 to 6.5 minutes.
  4. Pull out gnocchi with a slotted spoon, to an oiled sheet-pan and toss to cover with oil.
  5. Serve with your favourite sauce or pesto.

If you want to Crisp up and Fry after Cooking:

  1. Heat a frying pan with oil and a little butter.
  2. When hot, add your cooked gnocchi to the pan, making sure not to over crowd the pan too much so you can get a nice brown colour on the pasta.
  3. Flip each over with tongs when done to your liking, add garlic to finish, serve hot.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 338mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 14g

We are not certified nutritionists and make no claims to be so. The nutritional information given here is intended for informational purposes only. These nutritional calculations are rounded numbers dependant on the certain ingredients and amounts in the recipe and are by no means perfect.

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