Carrot Gnocchi

I once heard that the goodness in carrots helps get over jet lag. I’ve just gone through a 30 hour journey from Italy to Australia, passing through five airports and being thrown 10 hours ahead to get from one home to the other. I’m going to need some carrots.

This wonderful gnocchi recipe came to mind. It’s a unique and a beautiful dish that was made for me by an equally unique and beautiful person, Sara, a talented and offbeat Italian photographer from Bassano del Grappa, not too far from Venice. She was my roommate during my last year of college. As a vegetarian art student, her dinner would often consist of just a bag of chips, but one day she blew me away by making these incredible carrot gnocchi. She served these amazingly silky, sexy, light and sweet gnocchi piping hot with melted butter and parmesan cheese. I can still remember them perfectly – even ten years later.

As these remind me of Tuscan gnudi (“naked” ravioli, made with spinach and ricotta) more than traditional gnocchi, I am rather inclined to add some fresh sage leaves to the sauce as you do for gnudi.

Ingredients for 4 as a starter:

  • 1 kg organic carrots
  • 100 gr plain flour
  • 100 gr ricotta
  • 2 tbs finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbs semolina flour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • salt
  • nutmeg
  • 100 gr butter
  • handful of fresh sage leaves

Boil or steam (I prefer steaming) the carrots until tender, then squash them with a fork or a potato masher until you get a mash. Let cool. In a separate bowl, mix the ricotta, egg yolk, flours and parmesan cheese until just combined (try not to play around too much with the mixture to avoid it from eventually getting too chewy). Add the cooled carrot mash and season with salt and nutmeg.

With two tablespoons, make quenelles out of one tablespoon of the mixture (if you can’t get these right you can also simply roll them into ping pong sized balls), placing them on a lightly floured surface until you’ve finished. Heat a large pot of salted water to boil and drop in the gnocchi. Give a gentle stir to make sure they are not stuck to the bottom of the pot. Let boil for several minutes, when they begin to float they are ready. Reserve some of the liquid from boiling, and strain the rest. Set aside while you prepare the sauce.

Prepare a sage and butter sauce, which should take you about 3 minutes at the most. Melt the butter in pan and allow to colour slightly. At this point, add the sage and then some of the reserved cooking liquid to create a sauce that you just want to coat the gnocchi. Let it reduce for a couple minutes, then add the gnocchi to the pan, season and divide onto plates. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.


  1. Love this! I actually bought a cookbook yesterday just because of the idea of carrot gnocchi. I’m really looking forward to making these!

  2. Marta says:

    I made the mix yesterday for a dinner party tonight. The ricotta was from the Food 52 recipe for fresh ricotta. Did a test run with one and it was beautiful! Looking forward to serving them tonight…and yes, more gnudi than gnocchi, I agree. And I will prepare the the burro e salvia for sure!

  3. Frances says:

    A little bird sent me here for her gnocchi recipe. Very nicely written. Will now have a nose around your blog if that’s allowed? 🙂

    • Emiko says:

      Feel free to nose around all you like! I hope you like Sara’s gnocchi recipe, it’s a great one, one of my favourites actually. I love your drawings, by the way!

  4. Jen Morey says:

    Hi Emiko,
    Stumbled upon your blog while searching for recipes for the wild garlic (aka three-cornered garlic) that has made a home in my backyard. I will try the wild garlic fritters soon, especially since you use spelt flour, which I believe is gluten free.. speaking of which, what GF flour substitutes might work for these carrot gnocchi?

    • Emiko says:

      Lucky you to have it in your own backyard! Spelt flour I think does contain gluten but you could substitute a gluten free flour instead. Ditto for the carrot gnocchi – I haven’t tried it myself with any other flour so can’t guarantee but if you’re after other gluten free recipes on my blog, have a look also here:

  5. Sukyi says:

    Hi Emiko! The recipe looks amazing and I would love to try it. Unfortunately, I can’t find ricotta where I live. Can you recommend a substitute for ricotta? Thanks!

    • Emiko says:

      There really is no other good substitute but you could make your own fresh cheese that is similar to ricotta with just milk and lemon juice. There are plenty of recipes out there for homemade “ricotta” (it’s not true ricotta, which is made with whey rather than milk but it has a very similar texture and taste), which you could google. Good luck!

  6. Sophie says:

    A beautiful story about your daughter (just posted Feb 2015) and her developing food stories, and many thanks for the link back to this recipe – it looks amazingly delicious, and right up my alley!

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