Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Burnt Butter Sauce

The rising popularity of the potato gnocchi video prompted me to share a simpler gnocchi recipe using ricotta to make the dough instead of potato.

Ricotta gnocchi are quicker to make and lighter than the potato version. The dough is ready in a jiffy and the sauce is finished as the gnocchi boil. I love these little soft pillows. Sometimes I give them a light finger poke to create a little “belly-button” on one side to ensure they’ll cook evenly.

The dough and ricotta gnocchi are made using the same methods as in my potato gnocchi recipe. Watch that if you want a visual of how to make gnocchi. The sauces in that episode go well with ricotta gnocchi too.

I reached up to northern Italy for the sage burnt butter sauce. You see it in Tuscany and the Veneto. This is a great sauce to add to your repertoire. It pairs well with gnocchi and other fresh pasta to create a full-flavored but delicate dish.

Belly-Button Ricotta Gnocchi in a Sage-Burnt Butter Sauce


  • 16 ounces whole milk ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano or pecorino
  • 3/4-1 cup unbleached flour
  • sea salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Put on a large pot of well-salted water on the stove to boil.
  2. Put the ricotta in a strainer set over a over a bowl. Let it drain at least 1 hour or more even overnight if you have time.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the strained ricotta, egg, cheese, and 3/4 cup of the flour until all ingredients are incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  4. (You can make the sauce at this point. If not here make the sauce after you form the gnocchi. Just heat the sauce as the gnocchi boil.)
  5. Check the dough by rolling a bit in your hand. It should be a bit tacky but not too sticky. If it sticks to your fingers work in a bit more flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough is tacky but workable. Refrigerate for another 15 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle your hands and work surface with a little flour. Break off a baseball piece of the dough and roll it into a rope about 3/4-inch thick.
  7. Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, cut the rope into 3/4 inch pieces.
  8. Give each pillow a poke with your finger to create a belly-button indentation on one side. (You can shape them into the traditional grooved gnocchi by rolling them off the back of a fork with your thumb.}
  9. Transfer the gnocchi to a well-floured baking sheet and toss with flour to prevent sticking. Repeat rolling process with the remaining dough. (If you are not going to boil the ricotta gnocchi soon after they are made you can freeze them on a baking sheet and bag them after they freeze.)
  10. When the salted water is at a vigorous boil put in the gnocchi a handful at a time. Gently stir the gnocchi to make sure they do not stick. Once they come to the surface, let them cook an additional 2 minutes.
  11. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon or drain them well in a colander (reserving some pasta water to loosen the sauce if necessary).
  12. Put the gnocchi in the pan with your sauce and toss to coat well with the sauce.
  13. Sprinkle with grated parmigiano or pecorino cheese.
  14. Serve immediately.
  15. (If you are using frozen gnocchi put them right from the freezer into the boiling water. They make take an additional minute or so to fully cook.)

Sage Burnt Butter Sauce


  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • freshly grated parmigiano or pecorino
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Place the butter in a saute pan large enough to fit all the gnocchi when they come out of the boiling water.
  2. Over medium-high heat melt the butter and cook it until the milk solids turn a golden brown.
  3. Add the sage leaves and toast them well in the hot burnt butter.
  4. Scoop the gnocchi out of the boiling water with a strainer and put them right into the saute pan. Coat the gnocchi well with the sauce.
  5. Add sea salt and ground pepper to taste.
  6. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with grated parmigiano.
  7. Serve immediately.