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Dinner in 15: Black Pepper and Parmesan Ricotta Gnocchi

How many social media accounts do you have? One? Two? Eight? I’m a card-carrying member of Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Each of these places on the Internet give me an opportunity to ‘connect’ with people beyond all of the connecting that we do via email, blogging, and commenting on various websites. We are constantly connecting. It’s like, the connection never actually stops.

Day to day, I move from one device to another, all the while, being constantly connected to something or someone. I might as well have a power cord attached to my body. There’s a familiar jolly ding whenever someone @ replies me on Twitter, or a new email comes through. A slew of people whom I’d otherwise know nothing about are suddenly completely familiar to me; I know their tastes in food and music, I see their baby pictures, I know their birthdays and favorite books, when they’ve changed jobs or gotten engaged. I even know when they’re out of town or having dinner with a colleague. The other day I was thinking how all of this connectedness has, of late, made me feel only more disconnected. Catch 22? Have you been feeling this way?

Being uber-connected can make things feel really cursory. As though scanning someone’s Facebook page is an adequate way to catch up. In this weird way, knowing everything about someone or something isn’t actually the best way to KNOW them. You with me still?

Anyway, I know we’re all busy out there, with our jobs and families and kids, and a real connection — the kind that happens when you’re gabbing over a glass of wine and you have an opportunity to actually make eye contact with someone — is a rare thing. I was thinking today I’d share a recipe that you can share with someone else in about 15 minutes. You might think that’s crazy since we’re talking about homemade gnocchi, but it’s actually ridiculously easy, fast and requires little other than a bowl, a cutting board, and a big pot. I don’t want you to spend that extra 45 minutes you could be cooking dinner ‘connecting’ but, rather, getting to know someone (even if that someone is a person you know through the Internet) face to face. Put your phone on vibrate. Or better yet, turn it off.

Black Pepper and Parmesan Ricotta Gnocchi
inspired by this recipe
*serves 4

2 cups of whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup of finely grated Parmesan, plus more to serve
2 teaspoons of freshly grated black pepper, plus more to serve
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup of all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for rolling the gnocchi
1/2 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of butter

1. Combine all of the ingredients, except the butter, in a medium bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon. You should have a very think, soft and somewhat sticky dough.
2. Generously flour a large cutting board. Dust your dough with a bit of flour and break off about a third of it with your hands. Roll the dough into a 1 inch thick log, adding more flour, as needed, to keep it from sticking.
3. Use a bench scraper or a sharp knife to cut the log into 1 inch thick pieces and place them on a lined baking sheet. Repeat until you have used up the rest of the dough.
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi: drop the gnocchi into the water in batches, cooking until they float to the top (about 3 minutes). Gently stir the water with a wooden spoon to nudge any gnocchi that stick to the bottom to float to the top. Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet.
5. As the gnocchi finish cooking, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and add them to the skillet to brown them, tossing occassionally and adjusting the heat to ensure that you don’t burn them. Ideally, you’ll want to let the pieces crisp up on one side before turning them over.
6. Serve the gnocchi with additional Parmesan cheese and freshly grated black pepper.

Musical Pairings: Elliott Smith – Figure 8 + Black Pepper and Parmesan Ricotta Gnocchi

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • i’ve been wanting to make my own gnocchi. this sounds delicious!

  • Oh, Shaun and I have conversations about this all the time. Relationships that are real, ones that are real in our minds, the disconnect between virtual and real. Oh yes. I ponder these thoughts often, mostly to remind Shaun to turn off. He’s always on. Especially for work. He’s flabbergasted when partway through the day he can’t get ahold of my because my phone died and I didn’t bring a charger with me. Oy. We learn from one another. Anywho. Gnocchi. Yum. I think you know how I feel about these. Love that you’ve tossed them in the skillet. Must try that soon. 🙂

  • Brian

    I completely feel you on the whole super-connected to the point of feeling disconnected phenomenon you’re talking about Kasey. When I visit Facebook I have a hard time getting past how empty and vacuous the interactions can sometimes feel.

    This recipe looks amazing! My wife loves gnocchi so I think she’ll be anxious to try it out.

    Take care!

  • Girl, yes. With you, 100%

    And I pretty much won’t be able to move until I make this.

  • Could not agree with you more. It’s great how technology has allowed us to “connect” with so many people we wouldn’t be able to otherwise, but in the end, there’s no substitution for face-to-face interaction, and meaningful relationships take time to develop. Nice to know the gnocchi doesn’t require quite so much time!

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  • Marc is a BIG gnocci fan, so I must try this. In 15 minutes? Yes, please! I love how well you articulate even complex concepts like this, Kasey. I have a feeling you’re better at balancing it all than you give yourself credit for. It is a crazy thing straddling an online/offline world. I sometimes cannot believe how much you learn about a person on FB.

  • You sure know how to make a girl feel loved! Thanks, Nicole. The upside to all of this connectivity, is that the world does open up in a unique way – we would have never met otherwise!

  • 100% agree re: the time it takes to develop a meaningful relationships…few things can replace facetime!

  • Lol. Thanks, Bev!

  • Hey Brian – thanks! I think the weirdest thing about Facebook is how people suddenly resurface from all points of your life. It’s cool, but it’s weird, too.

  • Hehe. My mom does that! If I miss her call and don’t call her back, she totally freaks out…sometimes I’m like – I was in the shower! It’s not always a good excuse, apparently. In any case, the skillet is a must…I love the golden crunch it gives these pillowy little nuggets. xo

  • You should definitely do it! They’re quite easy.

  • Couldn’t agree more. I work from home on my computer and blog from my computer and would probably go crazy without interacting with others who do the same. However, nothing beats a good conversation with a real life friend. No matter how much I chat with friends online, I feel isolated without physical interaction. I need to get a little better at seeking it out.

  • This recipe makes me want to give it a go. You make it look so simple, yet so good… and I loves me some Elliott Smith. Tomorrow night it’s a go go… and do I have to use bread flour? I only have regular and whole wheat…

  • never mind… I just re-read it closer…
    Can’t wait

  • This has been a quandary of mine for years and it’s always nice to know I’m not alone. There really is nothing like sharing good food and a bottle of wine with friends — live. The kind of connection and energy you receive from that short window of time lasts far longer than the time you actually spent with them. You simply can’t get that any other way. Gnocchi is on the menu this weekend, so thanks for inspiring! Maybe with a touch of roasted winter squash, too? Yes, definitely.

  • I work from home a few days a week, too, and I find it amazing how sedentary I am and how alone I feel, even when I talk to people all day! It’s definitely good to have those days, but the bustle is a nice change of pace 🙂

  • Hey Jeremy! I’m eager to hear what you thought of the recipe!

  • Ohh I love the idea of tossing in some roasted winter squash. And wine with friends? What could be better?

  • It turned out well, even for someone like me who cooks mostly substance food, not fine dining. It did take more than 15 minutes, but was well worth it. Not sure I added enough butter to the pan when frying (I didn’t measure and did not put any in for the 3rd batch, and they weren’t as good)
    Simple and good, just like the sounds of Elliott Smith floating from my Sonos player! Thanks!!!

  • Jeremy, thanks for sharing your experience with this recipe! I think it might take a couple of tries with gnocchi to make it in exactly 15, but I have confidence in our readers 🙂 It sounds like they turned out well! The more butter, the better, always. And we’re glad to hear you are enjoy the Sonos player! Rock on, friend.

  • Heidi @foodiecrush

    Love this post Kasey, it certainly rings true for a group I was in when this topic recently came up. I’ve heard from others that the more ‘connecting’ they see of their friends, tweeps etc., the more they feel left out of the fun—the wallflowers of the virtual cool groups. In the end, it all needs to be put in perspective, where live connections are the ones here to stay. Can’t wait to meet you in January to put ours in that category.

  • Heidi, I agree that it can sometimes feel like a weird form of high school online (the cliques are almost more obvious, if that makes sense). In any case, online or off, it’s important to know who the real peeps are, and why these relationships matter. Looking forward to meeting you in person in January!

  • I just made this and it was ridiculously good! Thanks for another great recipe.

  • That’s great! You’re welcome!

  • That’s great! You’re welcome!

  • Kylady7

    My daughter is on hemodialysis and is wanting Chicken and Gnocchi Soup. I’m going to use this recipe for the gnocchi as the ricotta is on her list of approved foods and I can control the sodium. Can’t wait to surprise her with it!!!

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