Chef John's Basil Ricotta Gnocchi


This technique turns out beautifully light, tender gnocchi every time and are just as good, if not better, than the classic potato-based gnocchi. And much easier. Plus you can make them ahead of time and brown them in butter before serving.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
5 mins
Additional Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
4 servings


  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 (12 ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese, drained well

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

  • 1 ½ ounces freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 10 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter for browning (Optional)


  1. Briefly blanch basil leaves in simmering water, about 20 seconds. Transfer immediately to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Drain on towels. Place basil in bowl of a blender. Add eggs. Blend until basil is blended in and mixture achieves an even green color with flecks of basil.

  2. Place ricotta in a mixing bowl. Add basil/egg mixture, salt, cayenne, Parmesan cheese, and flour. Thoroughly mix together using a spatula; whisk mixture to ensure ingredient are evenly blended. Cover and refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 2 hours.

  3. Scoop out a small portion of dough using a teaspoon. Using a second spoon, shape into a rounded oval. Repeat until you have enough gnocchi for a batch, about 6 or so.

  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Drop shaped gnocchi in batches into pot as you form them. After a minute or so they will rise to the surface. Continue simmering until they spring back to the touch when you remove one from the water to test it, 2 to 3 more minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough.

  5. Optional step: Melt butter in a skillet until bubbling. Add cooked gnocchi and brown on each side. Serve with a dusting of grated Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of the butter from the pan.

Cook's Note:

You can serve with any of your favorite pasta sauces for a main dish, or served "as is," they make a stellar side dish or first course.

My fancy basket ricotta tends to be low-moisture, so if you're using the much wetter supermarket brands, be sure to drain in a strainer in the fridge for a few hours to allow the excess water to drip out.

To check seasoning, cook a test piece of dough in salted water. Add more salt if needed.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

324 Calories
18g Fat
20g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 324
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 11g 53%
Cholesterol 144mg 48%
Sodium 906mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 386mg 30%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 208mg 4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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