These carrot ricotta dumplings are a perfect fall recipe, and they pair perfectly with a spicy maple-sage sauce. This recipe is a take on the classic Italian gnudi.
While these Italian ricotta dumplings are time-consuming to prepare, they are not terribly difficult. In fact, you need only a few ingredients for the dumplings:
- Salt and pepper
The texture of ricotta dumplings is somewhat similar to gnocchi. But gnudi differ from gnocchi a bit. They’re more pillowy because of the ricotta base, and they do not use potatoes. Because of the large amount of ricotta, you do not roll these as you would gnocchi.
This recipe, with its addition of carrot, falls somewhere between gnocchi and gnudi. It’s not as starchy and dense as gnocchi but not quite as airy and fluffy as true Italian gnudi. It has a really nice in-between texture that pairs perfectly with just about anything. It can stand up to a thicker tomato sauce but also does well paired with a delicate butter sauce.
For an autumnal take, these carrot ricotta dumplings are paired with a spicy maple-sage sauce. You will prepare the sauce as you drop the dumplings into the hot water, so you’ll be bouncing around your stove a bit, but the finished product is totally worth it.
How to make carrot ricotta dumplings:
First, boil the carrots. You should be able to easily mash them against the side of the pot and that’s when you know they’re done. Next, transfer to a sieve and run cold water over them to completely cool them down. You can also drop a few ice cubes on the carrots to cool them down faster. Once the carrots are cool enough to handle, transfer them to a bowl and use a potato masher to mash them until completely smooth. You can also use a food processor or a ricer! The carrots must be free of any chunks!
While the carrots boil, combine ricotta and egg in a bowl and whisk until smooth. From there, simply pour the ricotta over the mashed carrots in a large bowl and add flour, salt, and pepper and use a spoon or hand-mixer to blend until just combined.
Next, use a teaspoon to drop into boiling, salted water one at a time. You will create a quenelle-ish shape with the teaspoon and transfer the spoon directly to the boiling water. Shake the spoon gently to loosen the dumpling off the spoon. The dumplings do not need to be perfect!
Be sure not to overcrowd the pot. You will need to cook them in batches. Let the dumplings cook in the water for 3–4 minutes until they float, and use a slotted spoon to remove them.
Once the dumplings are done, simply toss in the maple-sage sauce and serve with parmesan. Though time-consuming, they are quite simple!
Looking for more vegetarian recipes? Check my archives!
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Carrot Ricotta Dumplings
- Large pot
- Potato masher, food processor, or ricer
- Hand mixer
- Wide pot or skillet
Carrot ricotta dumplings:
- 1 ½ pounds carrots peeled and sliced into rounds
- 2 eggs
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 ¼ cup flour plus more if needed
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots peeled and minced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- .2 ounces sage leaves roughly chopped
- .2 ounces fresh thyme leaves minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives minced
- Crushed red pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 4 cups vegetable stock plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon flour optional
- 3 ounces baby kale
- ½ lemon juiced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese optional, for serving
Boil the carrots:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the carrots and cook until completely soft. You should be able to mash them easily against the side of the pot.
- Drain the carrots through a sieve and run cold water over them. You can put a few ice cubes on top of the carrots to speed up the process. Once the carrots are cool enough to handle, use a potato masher to mash them until completely smooth. Alternatively, you can use a food processor or ricer.
Bring a pot of water to a boil:
- Wipe out the pot used to cook the carrots and fill it with water again. Transfer to the stovetop and add a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.
Prepare the ricotta mixture:
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth. Add the ricotta and whisk until incorporated with the eggs—season with salt and pepper.
Finish the dumpling mixture:
- Pour the ricotta over the carrots. Add the flour. Use a spoon or an electric hand-mixer to blend until combined. Do not overmix! The mixture should hold its shape but should not feel too doughy. It should still be a bit ‘wet’ from the ricotta. If the mixture feels too loose, add more flour in 1 tablespoon increments.
Taste the dumplings:
- Once the water is boiling, drop a small pinch of the dumpling mixture into the pot. Once it floats, take it out and taste it. Adjust the seasonings in your ricotta dumpling mixture to taste.
Boil the dumplings:
- Use a teaspoon to scoop a spoonful of the mixture and run the edge of the spoon against the inside of the bowl to form a quenelle shape. These need not be perfect. With the dumpling mixture still on your spoon, place the spoon right into the boiling water and shake it to loosen the dumpling off the spoon.
- Continue until you have about 5–6 dumplings in the pot. Allow them to boil for 3–4 minutes until they float. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a large plate once cooked through. Alternatively, you can roll the mixture into balls between your hands and drop them right into the water. Again, be careful not to over-roll them, or the dumpling will be tough.
- Continue boiling the dumplings in batches until all the dumplings have been cooked.
Cook the sauce:
- Heat oil in a wide pot or skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the shallot and cook for 5 minutes.
- Melt the butter into the shallot. Once bubbly, add the sage, thyme, and chives along with the crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minute.
Simmer the sauce:
- Add the maple syrup along with the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes until thickened—taste and season to your preferences.
- If you prefer a thicker sauce, scoop out 2 tablespoons of the sauce and mix with 1 teaspoon of flour until a slurry forms. Whisk the slurry into the sauce and continue simmering until thick: taste and season.
Finish the dumplings:
- Add the baby kale to the sauce. Once wilted, add as many dumplings as you intend to eat and toss gently to combine. Finish with lemon juice. Turn off the heat.
- Divide the dumplings and sauce between bowls. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!