Sheet Pan Ricotta Gnudi Recipe

The combination of cheese, tomatoes, and basil is a familiar classic that most of us have enjoyed with pasta or pizza. The acidity, creaminess, and herbal notes all tie together to create the perfect blend. Recipe developer Tess Le Moing brings us this sheet pan ricotta gnudi recipe to highlight our favorite flavors. Gnudi are ricotta-based dumplings, similar to their starchy potato-heavy relatives, gnocchi

Le Moing comments that "Most gnudi recipes online are pretty complicated. You have to shape them and boil them and sometimes pan-fry them." To solve the issue, she explains, "I removed all that fuss so all you have to do is make the gnudi 'dough,' plop it on a baking sheet with your favorite veggies, and bake." As she points out, this recipe is "easy and versatile," which makes it ideal for a mid-week meal. There's nothing better than piling ingredients on a sheet pan, popping the tray in the oven, and enjoying the fruits of your minimal labor shortly after. 

Gather the ingredients for this sheet pan ricotta gnudi recipe

Pick up cherry or grape tomatoes and cut them in half. Next, you'll need olive oil, salt, black pepper, whole-milk ricotta cheese, a large egg, grated Parmesan cheese, orange zest, all-purpose flour, and pesto. Both homemade or store-bought pesto work, though Le Moing says that the former will make "the colors really pop." Feel free to experiment with different styles, though she finds that classic basil and pine nut pesto works best. The orange zest brings a fruity note that "adds another (subtle) layer of flavor to the dish," Le Moing explains, adding that it "brightens up a little in contrast to all that cheese."

She also specifies: "For this recipe to work, the ricotta has to be whole milk and pretty firm." Skip any light or skim versions or you'll end up with a watery mess. "If it's too wet (which a lot of standard ricottas are), the gnudi will spread and melt on the baking sheet." In case you find yourself in this predicament upon opening your container of cheese, she recommends, "Lay out two to three layers of paper towels on a baking sheet, spread your ricotta on the towels, and top them with two more layers of paper towels. Then push down to get out all that excess moisture." She suggests getting Trader Joe's whole milk ricotta, Galbani, or the thickest option at your local Italian market — "if you're feeling fancy."

Prep the tomatoes

Check that your oven rack is located in the middle position, then preheat it to 400 F. Transfer the halved cherry tomatoes to a sheet pan, drizzle olive oil on top, and sprinkle on some salt and black pepper. Toss the tomatoes to coat them in oil and seasonings, then spread them in an even layer over the surface of the pan.

Combine the gnudi ingredients

Dump the ricotta into a large bowl and add the egg, Parmesan, salt, and orange zest. Whisk the contents to properly combine them into a smooth mixture. Next, use a rubber spatula to stir in the flour until just combined. At this point, the mixture should be soft and sticky.

Assemble everything on the sheet pan to bake

Dollop heaping tablespoons of ricotta onto the sheet pan, leaving about 1 inch between each. Use a second spoon to push the mixture off the first one. The gnudi can overlap with the tomatoes.

Transfer the sheet pan to the hot oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the gnudi are firm to the touch. The tomatoes should be slightly burst at this point too.

Garnish and serve

To serve this delicious meal, spoon some pesto into the center of a plate and use the back of a spoon to spread it out to make a base. Then, place three to four gnudi and some cherry tomatoes on top, and sprinkle a bit more Parmesan for an extra cheesy finish. Serve the dish while the gnudi are still warm. 

Three to four gnudi should satisfy a light appetite, and Le Moing suggests adding a side salad to complete. "For a more substantial meal, I like to eat it with bread plus a salad. For lunch, I'd toast a slice of sourdough, spread pesto on it, and top it with the gnudi and tomatoes (hot or cold!)." Meanwhile, if you want to serve this to guests, she offers a fun appetizer idea: "You can make little crostini by slicing baguette and following the same assembly."

You can store leftovers for up to a week in a sealed refrigerated container and then reheat them in the microwave. Otherwise, Le Moing remarks, "If you're like me and don't feel like waiting 60 seconds for your dinner to heat up, it's just as good cold! I'm guilty of snacking on cold pieces of gnudi straight from the fridge." Sounds good to us!

Sheet Pan Ricotta Gnudi Recipe
5 from 44 ratings
Save yourself the frustration of dealing with gnudi that fall about while boiling them; just go ahead and bake them instead!
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
4
servings
gnudi and tomatoes on tray
Total time: 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 10 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 orange, zested
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup pesto, homemade or store-bought
Directions
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 400 F.
  2. Place the cherry tomatoes on a sheet pan in an even layer and toss to coat with olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the ricotta, egg, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and orange zest together until thoroughly combined.
  4. Stir the flour in with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  5. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of the ricotta mixture and use another spoon to drop it onto the prepared sheet pan. Continue with the remaining mixture, spacing the gnudi about 1 inch apart. (It's okay if the gnudi are touching the tomatoes.)
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the gnudi are firm to the touch and the tomatoes have slightly burst.
  7. Add a couple of spoonfuls of pesto to the center of a plate and spread it into a large circle with the back of a spoon.
  8. Place 3 or 4 gnudi and some tomatoes on top and dust with extra Parmesan if desired.
  9. Serve immediately.
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