How to Make Ricotta Gnocchi with Pea Puree

Ricotta Gnocchi with Pea Puree

Hello Spring! Watch a video of How to Make Ricotta Gnocchi with Pea Puree here.

April is an exciting month in the Northeast. It’s not reliably warm, but the first signs of spring are showing up. In southern Connecticut, where I live, forsythias are shining their bright yellow color, and many other plants are beginning to sprout. Watch a simple Forsythia video here.

One of my favorite places in this area is Tod’s Point, a beach combined with a park, a meditation sanctuary, and an exercise paradise.

Tod's Point Greenwich CT


Leticia At Tod's Point Greenwich CT
Happy to exercise at Tod’s Point!

This place is a miraculous existence in our area, a burst of nature where nature is very much needed. To be perfectly honest, I’ve been living here for close to 20 years, and spring is what keeps me going, miserable winter after miserable winter. I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to the winter temperatures of New England—the very reason I celebrate the change of seasons with such passion. But my point is not exactly the splendor of this place. My point is that it becomes even more astounding when you share it with friends.

Back in my kitchen, where it always smells good, and the gray countertops invite me to cook, I use the space to create dough made from scratch, a sauce made from fresh peas, and ham crisps from Serrano ham.

This recipe for Ricotta Gnocchi with Pea Puree is inspired by Michelle Bernstein‘s cookbook Cuisine a La Latina. It’s cooking therapy in its essence. A word about the recipe: the pea sauce yields 4 servings, while the ricotta gnocchi yield 6-8 services. I made all the gnocchi and kept eating it over the next week with other sauces like Pesto sauce (see recipe here) and tomato sauce. Double the pea sauce recipe if you’d like to have enough sauce for the entire gnocchi dough.


How to Make Ricotta Gnocchi with Pea Puree


Ricotta Gnocchi with Pea Puree

Serves 4

Adapted from Michelle Bernstein’s Cuisine à Latina.

For the Pea Sauce


1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 cups fresh peas (about 2 pounds peas in the pod) or frozen peas, defrosted

1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

1 1/2  cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley

Pinch of sugar (if using frozen peas)


For the Ricotta Gnocchi

Serves 6

1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1/ teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 1/2-2 cups of all-purpose, unbleached flour

To Garnish

4-6 whole slices of Serrano ham or Prosciutto di Parma, cut into strips

1/2 freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve

Prepare the Pea Puree:

Combine the stock, cream, and cayenne in a large heavy pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl halfway with ice water. Add the peas to the boiling water and cook just until tender, about 2 minutes if fresh, 30 seconds if frozen. Use a slotted spoon or strainer to transfer the peas to the ice water to stop the cooking and set the color, then drain and set aside. Refill the bowl. Add the mint and parsley to the boiling water and blanch for 10 to 15 seconds. Drain and transfer the herbs to the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain the herbs, gather them into a tight ball, wrap them in a clean kitchen towel, and squeeze them to remove as much water as possible. Unwrap the herbs and set them aside in a bowl.

Put the cream mixture, peas, and herbs into a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Season to taste with salt, and pepper and set aside.


For the Ricotta Gnocchi:

Put the ricotta in the center of a double layer of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel and wrap the cheese well. Working over a bowl or sink, turn the ends of the cloth as though wringing a towel to extract as much liquid as possible.

In a large clean bowl, mix the drained ricotta, egg yolks, Parmesan, salt, and pepper with a wooden spoon. Add the four 1/2 cup at a time, stirring gently, until a firm but soft dough forms (a small piece should hold its shape).

Dust top lightly with some flour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least one hour. (The dough can be made up to 2 hours ahead.) Divide dough into 6-8 portions. Form a piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rope on a lightly floured surface. Cut rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi and boil until they rise to the surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl. Drizzle some more olive oil, salt and pepper.


Crisp the Ham:

Place the ham in a sheep and bake in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes, until dry and crispy.


Assemble the Dish: 

Divide the pea pure among plates and spoon the hot gnocchi over the puree. Sprinkle with the crisp ham and grated Parmesan. Serve immediately.


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