Ricotta Gnocchi
with Bacon & Tomato Sauce

Even though I would never claim to be a pasta master, this super simple recipe for airy gnocchi in a rich tomato sauce is one that always seems to be very well received. The sauce works with any pasta, and indeed the pasta works with any sauce.

And if you'd like to make your own ricotta, you can also check out my simple recipe for making it.

Ricotta Gnocchi Recipe

(Serves About 4)

Ingredients

 

For the Gnocchi:

  • 1 Cup Whole Milk Ricotta

  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour (Plus More for Flouring the Board while Rolling)

  • ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese (Shredded)

  • 2 Whole Eggs

  • I Lemon (Zest Only)

  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

For The Sauce:

  • 1/2 Cup Pancetta Strips or Good Quality Bacon (Cut into Lardons)

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Sweet Onion (Diced)

  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)

  • 1 Teaspoon Red Chili Pepper Flakes

  • 1 x 24-oz Can Whole Tomatoes (Hand Crushed)

  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar

  • ¼ Cup Basil Leaves

 

Instructions

​For the Gnocchi:

  1. Strain the ricotta overnight in a strainer over a bowl to remove excess liquid.

  2. Add the ricotta to a bowl.

  3. Add the remaining gnocchi ingredients.

  4. Bring together gently with a spoon until the ingredients slowly begin to form into a loose dough.

  5. Add a little flour to a board and turn the dough on to the board.

  6. Gently work the dough until it begins to form a smooth dough. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to over work the dough or your gnocchi will be tough.

  7. Place the dough in some plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  8. When ready to cook, remove the dough from the refrigerator and place back on a floured board.

  9. Portion the dough into four portions.

  10. While rolling one portion, make sure to keep the other portions under a damp kitchen towel so they won’t dry out.

  11. Roll each portion into a thin log, and cut, using a sharp knife, into traditional gnocchi shape.

  12. Place each gnocchi on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper sprinkled with a little flour.

  13. When ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi in batches (so the water doesn’t cool down).

  14. The gnocchi are done when they come to the surface.

 

For the Sauce:

  1. Fry the pancetta in a large frying pan.

  2. When cooked, remove the pancetta, and most of the oil it has released, leaving some in there for flavor.

  3. Add the three tablespoons of olive oil and heat to a medium heat.

  4. Add the sweet onion and season with half of the salt and pepper.

  5. Cook the onion for 3-4 minutes.

  6. Add the garlic and the red chili pepper flakes and combine well.

  7. Cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes.

  8. Add the tomatoes and the balsamic vinegar.

  9. Cook for 10-15 minutes.

  10. Add the basil leaves and check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper for taste.

  11. Remember, before adding pasta to the sauce, add some of the pasta water. The starch of that will help the sauce thicken and cling to the pasta.