Ricotta Gnocchi with Sausage and Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

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Ricotta Gnocchi with Sausage and Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night trying to eat your pillow?  Bizarre question perhaps?  Not that I have, but there are times that I could have because I woke up so hungry.  If you have, your dreams have now come true.  Next time you wake up trying to eat your pillow just whip yourself up some of these yummy and light pillows of goodness.


1 cup Ricotta, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and 1 egg yolk

 I remember the first time I ever heard about gnocchi was on an episode of Top Chef.  Jamie was doing a stuffed gnocchi and Tom Colicchio was a little worried about it because he said gnocchi can be temperamental.   I had no clue what in the world they were talking about.  Honestly I thought it was an Asian thing because of the way it’s pronounced.  At some point I heard about it again, along with an explanation of what it was.  Gnocchi is basically an Italian potato dumpling.  It’s said to be temperamental because it can easily turn out too dense or chewy if not done correctly.  It is also apparently labor intensive.


Add 1 cup of flour, stir till just combined

I have never really been a fan of potato dumplings, so I wasn’t eager to try and make gnocchi.  However, the other day I was killing sometime stumbling when I came upon this recipe at Delicious Days, which by the way is a site worth checking out.  She promised that this was easy and quick.  She calls it her 15 min gnocchi.  Aren’t they just the cutest little things.  I picture a small gnome resting his head on these little pillows, but then he might drool on it…..ewww. 

 IMG_3346 IMG_3343  Roll out till finger-thick, cut into pillows

Well she was totally telling the truth.  They are incredibly easy, totally simple-stupid, which is so up my alley.  I think I made the dough, rolled it , cut it and had them in the pot in about 10 minutes, if not less.  You probably spend more time digging up your ingredients if you don’t pull them all out before hand.  I did have to recruit Hubby and his mathematical genius to help me out with conversion issues.   Which makes me realize I really need to invest in a scale. 


Dimple with fork, lay out on parchment paper

Hubby became very curious about what I was making, since it looked a little foreign to him.  He asked , “What’s are you making, again?” and I said, “Gnocchi.”  The look of confusion and apprehension on his face was priceless.  He pokes around and investigates what it is that I am up too, ie. getting in my way.  I figured  that if he didn’t like it I had some left over fried rice he could eat.   Just as well, more for me.


Boil pot of water, salt water. Add gnocchi & stir. Cook until gnocchi floats, then strain

There is an unspoken rule and general requirement that all meals have some form of meat.  If I were to serve Hubby a vegetarian dish, he might just leave me and never return.  Ok that is probably an extreme, but I would definitely get the silent treatment for a good two days.  I have a little box of “meatless” recipes that I save to try when I am home alone.    Have you ever thought about how men say meat?  It is more like Meeeaaat.  They kind of stretch it out….you know?   I gave Hubby the task of frying up some Italian sausage, while I was shooting the sauce that was accompanying this tasty dish.


Cook 2 links of sliced Italian sausage.

To make the sauce I roasted two red peppers earlier and dropped them into a paper bag for about 10 minutes.   The broiler on my stove is in a bottom drawer.  I made the mistake of opening the drawer, turning around to get the tongs and when I came back a pepper was missing.  I could have sworn I had 8 slices of pepper, but I only saw 7.   Then out of the corner of my eye I spotted him.  BUSTER, stinking dog!  He stole a pepper from the broiler, little stinker!  He was quick to drop it when I spotted him.  I don’t know if it was because I gave him the look of death or if it was because it was still hot.  Either way I was down one pepper slice.

 IMG_3328 IMG_3353 Place peppers in bag, set aside 10 mins. Peel skins.

Niki from Delicious Days had mentioned a roasted pepper pesto.  I thought I would give it a try.  The idea was to make a basic pesto sauce and just toss in some roasted red pepper.  I thought that the red pepper would give the sauce a nice sweetness.    I just love the taste of roasted red peppers.  They will probably be making an appearance a few more times since I bought this huge bag of red peppers at Sam’s Club.


Add peppers, 2 cups fresh basil, 1/4 Parmesan, 3 cloves garlic & 3 tbs pine nuts

I was very pleased with the sauce, although I think I may have over done it with the garlic.  I made it with 4 cloves, but it was because one of them was really small.  Regardless I would suggest just doing 3 cloves of garlic.  I had some serious fire dragon breath this morning.  Nothing worse then garlic breath the next day. 


Blend in food processor, while drizzling 1/2 cup olive oil.

Toss everything together is a large bowl, garnish with basil and Parmesan, serve.  The gnocchi was perfect.  This is an ideal dish to make for company.  It comes together lickty-split and it looks like you slaved in the kitchen.  Tell them you did, it makes them feel more loved.  There is nothing wrong with being a little delusional right?


Toss together and serve. Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan.

All in all the gnocchi was very light and had quite a bit of flavor considering it was basically just flour and ricotta.  The sauce and the gnocchi was a great combo.  Although the sauce was very flavorful it did not over power the gnocchi.  I could still taste it even covered in the sauce.  When I was done with my plate I was satisfied but I wanted to eat more.  Alas, I made just enough for two so there were no left overs.   I wonder how well these would do if I made one huge batch and froze them?

Ricotta Gnocchi (serves 2) Print Recipe

  • 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 cup  flour, have extra for dusting
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Drain any excess liquid from the ricotta cheese.  Combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan, yolk and salt in a large bowl.  Mix well using a wooden or plastic spoon.  Add the flour and stir until just combined.  Do not over work.  The dough will be very sticky.

Put a pot of water to boil.  Flour you work area generously with flour and your hands.  Divide the dough in half and roll out to till it is about as thick as a finger. Take sharp knife, dip in flour and cut the the rolls into about 1 inch pillows.  Transfer pillows to baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Repeat with remaining dough, work quickly so that the gnocchi on the baking sheet doesn’t get sticky.

You water should have come to a slow boil by now, add a generous pinch of salt to the water.    Drop your gnocchi into the water and stir to keep them from sticking to the bottom.  The gnocchi will float to the top when done, about 2 to 4 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon or skimmer remove from water and serve immediately with your choice of sauce*.

  *Make sauce ahead of time so it is ready to serve when gnocchi is ready.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto  (makes about 2 cups, i think)

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 2 roasted red peppers
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbs pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, blend together basil leaves, peppers, nuts, garlic, and cheese. Pour in oil slowly while still mixing. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.




  1. Ashley says

    I have never had gnocchi or pesto, but decided to try this in an attempt to be more adventurous. The gnocchi turned out well, as far as I can tell, and smelled delicious. Sadly, it turns out I don’t like pesto. :( Will try again with a different sauce, one day!

  2. Kate says

    made this tonight…OUTSTANDING! i always am deterred from making gnocchi because it takes so long and can easily be messed up, but this was about a million times easier and tasted GREAT (if not better!) thanks for the recipe- will be making again!

  3. says

    Ha ha! I stumbled upon your blog from foodgawker because I was looking for a recipe wit ricotta. I was so distracted because I was laughing at your story concerning your husband. That is SOOOOO my husband. He is getting better though. Thank you for the recipe. I think I will attempt to make tonight!

  4. Sarah says

    Wow. I made these gnocci last night, and they’re amazing. I served them with a tomato cream sauce, and they got rave reviews. Thanks for sharing the recipe (and for doing all the weight conversions)!

  5. brandy says

    This looks yummy!!! Is there a way to print this recipe? I would like to make it, but the computer is not in the kitchen, or close to and it’s awefully long to write out!!!!!!!!

  6. says

    ooo… I have pesto in the fridge, but the thought of roasted bell peppers with it is just too irresistible to bear! mmm. Can’t wait to try this, especially since I’ve never made gnocchi before!

    • says

      That is a good question. I would do something light that would refresh the pallet. Maybe a citrus dessert like a light fluffy cake with a lemon or lime curd. Also a granita or panna cotta would be nice.

      Of course there is no rule against making a great wall of double chocolate fudge cake. :)

  7. Erica says

    Delicious gnocchi. I made the dough a couple of hours in advance and refrigerated it. I then rolled it out and cooked it straight away, and had no problems with it. I think it is important to drain the ricotta well before mixing to get rid of excess moisture.

    Thanks for a great recipe.

  8. Mark says

    I was looking to make these myself but had a couple of questions.

    1) Is it possible to make the dough ahead? I know with some recipes making ahead is sometimes a no-no.
    2) Is it ok to substitute chickpea (garbanzo) flour instead of white? Wasn’t sure if it mattered much.

    Thanks for this great looking and easy recipe!

    • says

      I wouldn’t do it ahead because I think it would get really sticky and mushy. Besides it takes no time at all to get the dough together. I do not know how chickpea flour would work, I think it may make the dumpling heavy. But the good think is that this is so easy to make you can give it a try and if it doesn’t work out, you can whip up another batch in no time. If you try it let me know.

  9. says

    We love gnocchi in our house and usually buy the packaged kind but this recipe sounds simple enough to try making our own. I love the idea of the roasted red pepper pesto too! YUM!

  10. says

    So delicious!! I love making ricotta gnocchi…it’s so much quicker and easier than the potato kind and I actually think they taste better too!!


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