Main Dishes

Ricotta Gnocchi Cacio e Pepe

Gnocchi are little dumplings commonly made with potatoes, but this delicious version from Boston chef Douglass Williams calls for ricotta, Parmesan, flour, and egg, finished with the classic cacio e pepe sauce.

By Yankee Magazine

Mar 18 2022

Ricotta Gnocchi Cacio e Pepe

Ricotta Gnocchi Cacio e Pepe

Photo Credit : Michael Piazza

Gnocchi are commonly made with potatoes, but chef-owner Douglass Williams of Mida restaurant in Boston makes the little dumplings with ricotta, Parmesan, flour, and egg, then finishes them with the classic cacio e pepe sauce. “With this dough, you’re just trying to bring it together, not kneading it,” he explains. When it’s time to roll the dough out, “you want to keep the log under your fingers. Your palms are a little too heavy for this. Your fingers are the perfect weight.

From “A Recipe for Zen,” March/April 2021


6 servings

For the pasta


4 cups whole-milk ricotta
2 cups finely grated Parmesan, divided
1 large egg, plus 2 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for the cooking water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


First, make the gnocchi: In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, 1 cup Parmesan, egg and yolks, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until smooth. Add half the flour to the mixture, folding it in gently with a spatula or plastic bench scraper. Add the remaining flour, gently folding until it’s almost fully incorporated. (This should take less than 5 minutes.) Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a loaf about 1 foot long. Divide crosswise into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion with your fingertips into a “rope” about 1/2 inch thick, then cut into individual pieces. Toss the pieces in flour to coat. Transfer to a lightly floured rimmed baking sheet, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. You’ll want to make the cacio e pepe sauce while the gnocchi cooks so that everything finishes at the same time. Drop the gnocchi into the water and boil until it rises to the surface.

Meanwhile, make the sauce.

For the sauce


1 cup pasta water from boiling the gnocchi
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Freshly grated lemon zest, for garnish


Set a skillet (12 to 14 inches) over a burner, but don’t turn it on. Add 1 cup water from the pasta pot, pepper, salt, olive oil, butter, and lemon juice. Turn heat to high and wait for the mixture to come to a boil.

Now scoop the gnocchi out of the pot with a strainer or slotted spoon and add it to the pan. Cook the liquid down until it thickens into a sauce, then take the pan off the heat and sprinkle in the remaining 1 cup Parmesan, swirling and gently stirring the sauce until everything is blended. Garnish with lemon zest and serve immediately.