December/January 2018

Easy Ricotta Gnocchi with Pesto and Cherry Tomato Sauce

These cheesy pasta pillows look like fancy restaurant food, but they’re simple enough to add to your weeknight repertoire.

UPDATE: January 2018

After further experimentation with Easy Ricotta Gnocchi (originally published in the December/January 2018 issue of Cook's Country), we've updated our preferred method to the one below, which we find produces a more consistent, more even-textured gnocchi.

Why This Recipe Works

For light (never tough or gummy), flavorful ricotta dumplings, we tested our way to the perfect ratio of flour, ricotta, egg, Parmesan, and seasonings. Rolling and cutting ropes of this stir-together, ricotta dough enabled us to have an impressive dinner of these quick-cooking, pillowy dumplings on the table in less than an hour.


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Serves 4


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1 pound (2 cups) whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 large egg
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 2/3 ounces) all-purpose flour


8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper
1 ½ cups packed fresh basil leaves
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
Nutritional Information


Per Serving (Serves 4)

  • Calories 578
  • Cholesterol 113 mg
  • Fat 39 g
  • Sodium 607 mg
  • Saturated 14 g
  • Carbs 32 g
  • Trans 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2 g
  • Monounsaturated 17 g
  • Sugar 2 g
  • Polyunsaturated 5 g
  • Protein 24 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Serves 4

We developed this recipe using the Test Kitchen’s winning whole milk ricotta cheese: Belgioioso Ricotta Con Latte Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese. If you cannot find our winning brand, look for another good quality ricotta without stabilizers. When rolling the gnocchi, use just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and work surface; using too much flour will make it difficult to roll the dough into ropes.

1. FOR THE GNOCCHI: Whisk ricotta, egg, Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg together in large bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir in flour with rubber spatula until thoroughly combined. Form dough into rough ball and transfer to well- floured counter. Adding extra flour to hands and dough as needed to prevent sticking, gently knead dough into smooth ball.

2. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dust liberally with flour. Using floured bench scraper or chef’s knife, cut dough into 8 pieces. Dust cut ends of each piece of dough with more flour to coat. On lightly floured counter, working with 1 piece of dough at a time, gently roll dough into ½‑inch-thick rope, sprinkling with more flour as needed if dough begins to stick to counter. Cut rope into ¾‑inch lengths. Transfer cut gnocchi to prepared sheet; set aside.

3. FOR THE SAUCE: Toss tomatoes with ¼ teaspoon salt in bowl; set aside. Process basil, pine nuts, oil, Parmesan, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer tomatoes and pesto to 12-inch skillet.

4. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Using parchment paper as funnel, pour gnocchi into boiling water. Once all gnocchi float to surface, cook for 2 minutes longer. Using slotted spoon or spider, scoop gnocchi from water and transfer to skillet with sauce. (If straining gnocchi in colander, transfer immediately to sauce or else they may begin clumping together.)

5. Add ¼ cup gnocchi cooking water to skillet with gnocchi and sauce and place over medium-high heat. Cook, tossing with rubber spatula, until hot, about 2 minutes. Serve, passing Parmesan.