Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi

Pandemics definitely have a way of bringing out creativity in the kitchen… The days of ‘what would you like for dinner?’ have been replaced with ‘what do we have that we can make for dinner?’ A nuanced difference, but a difference nonetheless…

There’s no running down to the store for an item, or even a screw it, let’s go out… Meals are now dictated by what’s in the house.

Fortunately, we’ve usually kept a fairly well-stocked larder, so our options are probably better than many. Case in point, tonight’s dinner… Very basic ingredients – lemons, flour, and ricotta – things always in the house. Butter, shallots, and an egg – also normal staples – although the shallots were dehydrated. We have dehydrated inions, as well – and a soup mix and a stew mix. Convenience…

The recipe is quite simple – and the dough comes together really easily. The instructions seem long, but they’re more about how to form and make the actual gnocchi – something that isn’t difficult in and of itself, but can take a bit of practice. The good news is they taste great even if the sizes are a bit off!

Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi


Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi

adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine


  • 2 to 3 medium lemons
  • 5-1/2 oz. (1-1/4 cups) all-purpose flour; more as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 oz. (about 1 cup) whole-milk ricotta
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, for serving


Finely zest the lemons using a rasp-style grater to get 2 Tbs. zest, then mince the zest with a chef’s knife. Juice half of 1 lemon and cut the other half into wedges for serving. (Or use an unzested lemon if you want prettier-looking wedges.)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1 heaping tsp. of the lemon zest, and a pinch of salt. Use your fingers to help disperse the zest into the flour. Add the ricotta and egg, and mix until a dough starts to form. (If the dough is very sticky, add up to an additional 2 Tbs. flour.)

Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment and sprinkle lightly with flour. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Turn the dough onto the work surface, and knead briefly until soft and smooth, but still a little sticky.

Lightly re-flour the work surface. Turn the dough onto the flour and gently flatten by hand or with a rolling pin until about 3/4 inch thick. If the dough is sticky, lightly dust the top with flour.

With a floured bench scraper or a knife, cut the dough into strips from 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide. With your hands, roll and lengthen the strips until about 1/2 inch in diameter. Cut the logs into 3/4-inch pieces.

Arrange the gnocchi in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets, making sure they don’t touch. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. If you want to hold them longer, freeze until hard, transfer to a zip-top freezer bag, and keep frozen for up to 1 month; do not defrost before cooking.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 Tbs. of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is tender and becoming translucent, about 2 minutes. Add 1 Tbs. of the lemon juice, the remaining lemon zest, and the thyme, and cook, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

Reduce the heat so the water is simmering. Add the gnocchi and cook, stirring once, until they float to the surface, 1 to 3 minutes.

While the gnocchi cook, transfer about 1/4 cup of the cooking water to the skillet. Bring to a simmer, and whisk in the remaining 2 Tbs. butter. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to the sauce, and toss gently to coat. Season to taste with salt, and serve topped with grated cheese and a lemon wedge on the side.

Light and flavorful with just the right amount of lemon… Not sweet, not tart – just good!

And with all recipes… if you don’t have shallots, use onions, leeks, whatever you have in the house. Have fun with it.