Ricotta Gnocchi with Zucchini, Corn & Pine Nuts

Ricotta Gnocchi with Zucchini, Corn & Pine Nuts
Ricotta gnocchi with zucchini, corn and pine nuts for the summery, simple pasta dish that’s impressive on a weekend AND achievable on a weeknight. I love a potato gnocchi, but it does require additional time and patience to cook and cool the potatoes. Substituting in ricotta works so well for those of us (all of us) who are time poor. Paired with summer’s bounty vegetables and a lot of lemon, this dish is my happy place.


For the gnocchi:

  • 400g firm ricotta cheese (I like La Casa Del Formaggio)
  • 40g Parmesan, finely grated (Grana Padano or Pamigiano Reggiano)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1½ tsp salt flakes
  • 125g plain flour

For the sauce:

  • 50g pine nuts
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 3 zucchini, sliced into 5mm rounds
  • 2 cobs corn, kernels removed from kob
  • 2 shavings of lemon rind
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated or chopped
  • 25g butter
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Grana Padano or Pamigiano Reggiano, to serve

Serves 2-3


  1. Spread ricotta between a couple layers paper towel on the bottom and top and gently press to remove as much moisture as possible.
  2. Prepare a large pot of salted, boiling water for your gnocchi.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, egg yolks and salt flakes.
  4. Very gently incorporate flour until combined. You may need to add a little more if your ricotta has a higher moisture content - the dough should be soft, light and workable (not too sticky). Be sure not to overwork the dough once the flour has been added as it can make it tough and chewy.
  5. Cut dough into two pieces and one by one, roll each piece out onto a floured surface, then cut into gnocchi pieces using a bench scraper or knife. I like to shape my rolls into around 2cm diameter and then cut the pieces in 2cm lengths, making 2cm pillows. Place them on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper on a tray that you can lift up and use to slide them straight into the boiling water.
  6. In a large pot, add pine nuts and a dash of olive oil and cook until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
  7. Heat remaining olive oil over medium low heat and fry zucchini until beginning to go golden, stirring often.
  8. Add corn, lemon rind and garlic and cook until corn is vibrant and tender.
  9. Take off the heat and let sit for a couple of minutes to drop in temperature. Stir through butter and basil leaves, then gradually add Parmesan while stirring (gradually to make sure it emulsifies with the sauce rather than clumping up).
  10. Meanwhile, gently lower gnocchi into boiling salted water, reserving 1 cup of pasta water and straining off the gnocchi using a slotted spoon when they float to the top. If you don’t want to use the gnocchi immediately, place them into a bowl of iced water to cool, then strain and toss with oil to prevent sticking together and store in the fridge or at room temperature.
  11. Toss gnocchi and pine nuts through the sauce, season and add a good squeeze of lemon juice, to taste.
  12. Serve.

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