Ricotta Gnocchi with Vodka Cream Sauce is a dish sure to impress. Homemade gnocchi are made with ricotta cheese and are served topped with a vodka cream sauce.
Update: This recipe was originally posted in October 2013. The recipe and photos have been updated and republished in October 2021.
My friends, please tell me that you have tried gnocchi before. If not, please tell me that after reading this recipe, you promise to try it. I fell in love with gnocchi the first time I had it and I am sad to say, I don't make it nearly as often as I should.
What is ricotta gnocchi with vodka cream sauce?
Ricotta gnocchi is a fluffy little dumpling made from ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, flour and eggs. The gnocchi are quickly boiled then pan fried to make them a little crispy. They're served with a vodka cream sauce made with diced tomatoes, heavy cream and vodka. Then it's all topped off with some beautiful fresh basil.
Is ricotta gnocchi easier to make than potato gnocchi?
Yes! I have made potato, ricotta and pumpkin gnocchi multiple times each. Ricotta gnocchi is the easiest and quickest to make. It is also the most forgiving recipe. Potato gnocchi is delicious, but if you don't have leftover mashed potatoes hanging around, it's going to take at least twice the time of the ricotta version.
And pumpkin...well, it's great for fall but it is the most difficult of the three to make because of the moisture content.
Ingredients for this recipe
- whole milk ricotta cheese
- grated parmesan cheese
- all purpose flour
- large eggs
- petite diced tomatoes
- heavy cream
- crushed red pepper flakes
- fresh basil
Instructions for making ricotta gnocchi
First, mix up your ingredients. Add ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs and salt to a bowl and mix well. Then slowly add in your flour until the mixture is fully combined and barely tacky to the touch. (If you need more flour, add in ¼ cup at a time)
Then, roll out the dough into ropes. Lightly flour a clean surface and divide the dough into 4 pieces. Form the dough into a log, then use the palms of your hands to roll out the dough into a rope, about 1 ½ inches wide. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
Next, cut the ropes into pieces. Use a butter knife to slice the dough into 1 inch pieces. When you slice the dough, the center of each piece will indent slightly, making it look like a pillow.
Finally, cook the gnocchi. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, add the gnocchi and cook for 1 minute or until they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with all gnocchi, then drain water from the pot and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add half the gnocchi back in, cooking for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.
Instructions for making vodka cream sauce
Start off by cooking the tomatoes. Add the diced tomatoes, with juice, salt and crushed red pepper flakes to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 20 minutes.
Then add in the vodka and cream. Add vodka and cream to the saucepan and return to a boil. Then turn off the heat and toss in the cooked gnocchi.
Finally, serve the gnocchi! Divide gnocchi with sauce onto plates and garnish with fresh chopped basil. Sprinkle on more grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
Substitutions for this recipe
- Use canned crushed tomatoes instead of diced for a thinner sauce
- You can skip the vodka in this recipe. It does mostly cook off however.
- Replace heavy whipping cream with half-and-half or milk. The sauce will be thinner, but will still have a good flavor.
- The gnocchi don't need to be pan fried, they are cooked once they've been boiled so you can skip this step if desired. I like that it changes the texture of the gnocchi.
You may have cooked them too long, or you may have cooked too many at once. Work in batches, about ¼ of the gnocchi in this recipe to cook at a time and remember to pull them from the water as soon as they rise to the top.
Gnocchi is commonly pronounced "no-key" or "naw-key"
If you don't like vodka cream sauce, feel free to serve them over any other type of pasta sauce, a pesto or cream sauce, or in browned butter. Gnocchi can be served as a meatless meal, or with just about any protein. Gnocchi can also be mixed into soup.
Yes, once you have cut the gnocchi dough into pieces, place it on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Once frozen, you can transfer to a container or ziptop bag to continue freezing.
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Ricotta Gnocchi with Vodka Cream Sauce
- 8 oz whole milk ricotta
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
Vodka Cream Sauce
- 14 oz diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon vodka
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
- Combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs and salt together in a bowl. Slowly add in the flour, mixing as you go until all flour is combined. Dough should be slightly tacky but not stick to your fingers when you touch it.
- Lightly flour a clean surface. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. With your hands, form a log from the first piece of dough. Then place on the floured surface and use the palm of your hands to roll out the log until it is a 1 ½ inches thick rope. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
- Use a butter knife to cut the ropes of dough into 1 inch pieces.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi in batches, cooking for 1 minute or until they float to the top. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and place on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining gnocchi until they're all cooked.
- Drain the water from the pot and add in a teaspoon of olive oil. Add half the gnocchi to the pot and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until they're lightly golden brown. Remove from the pot and return to the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining gnocchi.
Vodka Cream Sauce
- Combine diced tomatoes, salt and crushed red pepper flakes in a saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer 20 minutes.
- Then add the heavy cream and vodka and return to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then turn off the heat and stir the cooked gnocchi into the sauce. Stir in half of the chopped basil.
- Divide gnocchi and sauce into bowls and top with remaining chopped basil. Optionally, sprinkle more grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Recipes on Cookaholic Wife are for information purposes only. Nutritional Data provided has not been evaluated by a nutritionist.