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Easy Ricotta Gnocchi with Peas, Parmesan and Mint

Cook Time:
8 mins
Prep Time:
30 mins
4 to 6

Chef notes

Making gnocchi from scratch might sound intimidating, but this recipe proves it's anything but difficult. The cheesier cousin to the more well-known potato gnocchi is equally as light and pillowy but about a million times easier to prepare. Here, the tender dumplings are tossed in a lemon-butter sauce and combined with peas, Parmesan cheese, torn mint leaves and freshly cracked black pepper for a bright Italian meal that tastes like something you’d order at a fancy restaurant.

The reason ricotta gnocchi is easier to make than potato gnocchi, is that there is less risk it will become gummy and dense as you work the dough with your hands. It’s important to use a good-quality whole-milk ricotta here and drain it well so that the dumplings hold their shape. You’ll combine the ricotta with grated Parmesan, eggs, salt and just enough flour to bind the dough.

Once it’s come together, roll the dough into snake-like ropes and cut the ropes into one-inch pieces. If you’re not planning on boiling the gnocchi immediately, you can refrigerate them for a few hours. Alternatively, you can even freeze the gnocchi for a couple of months. Freeze them in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet until frozen solid, then transfer them to an airtight container or zip-top bag and store in the freezer.

The gnocchi will cook in just a few minutes so it’s important to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to make the sauce.

Swap Option: Asparagus can be substituted for peas and basil can be substituted for mint. 


  • 2 cups (16 ounces) whole-milk ricotta (preferably Calabro)
  • 2 cups freshly and finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided, plus more for garnish
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned & leveled, plus more for rolling and dusting
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
  • 1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, for garnish
  • Good quality olive oil, for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish
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Remove excess moisture from the ricotta by lining a plate or tray with a clean kitchen towel or 2 to 3 layers of paper towels. Spread the ricotta on the towel in a thin, even layer with a rubber spatula or spoon. Fold the edges of the towel over and lightly press. Set aside to drain, 12 to 15 minutes. 


In a large bowl, combine drained ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, eggs and 2 teaspoons of salt with a rubber spatula and mix until smooth. Add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, delicately mixing between each addition to keep the dough light and fluffy. 


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour. Set aside. 


On a clean, lightly floured work surface, scoop out the dough. Dust the top of the dough with more flour and, using clean hands, form the dough into a large ball. Use a knife or bench scraper to cut the dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 1-inch-thick snake. Using a sharp knife or pastry cutter dusted with flour, cut the snake into 1-inch pieces. Carefully transfer gnocchi to a prepared baking sheet until ready to cook. Repeat with the remaining dough. 


Before cooking the gnocchi, prepare the lemon. Using a vegetable peeler, remove strips of lemon peel. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the lemon peel lengthwise into ultra-thin strands. Remove any white pith if necessary. Turn the strands horizontally, and finely mince. Set aside.


Heavily season the boiling water with salt. Add the gnocchi and peas and cook until the gnocchi floats to the top, 1 to 3 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water for the sauce. 


In a large saucepan over low heat add 1/3 cup pasta water and the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, constantly swirling to ensure the mixture emulsifies. Add the peas, gnocchi and half of the lemon zest and delicately toss together, coating pasta in the sauce. Remove skillet from the heat and slowly add the Parmesan, continuing to toss to emulsify into the sauce. Finally, add the juice of 2 lemons and toss again to combine. If the mixture is too dry, add more pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time until glossy and smooth. 


Serve pasta in heated serving bowl. Garnish dishes with the remaining Parm and lemon zest and shower with fresh mint leaves. Drizzle with good-quality olive oil and a healthy crack of freshly ground black pepper.