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La Diva Cucina sautéing gnocchi and vegetables at a demonstration

Pan-Fried Gnocchi with Ricotta and Spring Vegetables

Laura Lafata
Pan frying gnocchi creates a unique texture to these delicous Italian dumplings and are excellent combined with ricotta cheese, fresh herbs and vegetables. This recipe is quick, delicious and easily modifed, please read sub notes at the end.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine italian american
Servings 4 people


  • vegetable peeler
  • Paper towels
  • Large saute pan
  • Pasta pot and strainer or colander
  • Bowl of ice water for peas
  • Strainer for peas


  • 1 pound gnocchi shelf stable, usually shrink wrapped and found on grocery shelves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 pound pancetta chopped into small dice
  • 1 cup fresh peas blanched
  • 2 small zucchini cut into large dice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh marjoram leaves minced
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano cheese shaved with vegetable peeler


  • Prep all ingredients as outlined above to have ready to cook.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt to water to flavor.  Once boiling, carefully add gnocchi and reduce heat to medium high. Stir to prevent sticking.  Cook as per directions but before draining, reserve one cup of cooking water. Rinse gnocchi in cold water to get rid of any additional starch.  Set aside.
  • Heat up a large frying pan with the olive oil and add pancetta when hot.  Cook over medium heat, stirring as needed, until completely cooked and crisped, about 5-8 minutes.  Remove from pan, drain pancetta on paper towels and set aside.  Drain off all oil from the pan and retain one tablespoon.
  • Blanch shelled fresh peas in boiling, salted water for three minutes.  Drain, refresh in cold water, drain and set aside. If using frozen peas, see note below.
  • Cut zucchini into large dice, about the same size as the gnocchi. Heat fry pan with reserved pancetta oil and cook zucchini until golden brown on all sides until crisp tender, do not overcook. Lightly salt.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Clean out pan with paper towel.
  • Heat butter and olive oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.  When heated, add gnocchi and fry until the dumplings begin to turn golden, about five minutes, turning as they brown. 
  • Add garlic, peas and marjoram, stir gently and cook for one minute.  Add zucchini and pancetta, stir through.  Add ricotta cheese in spoonfuls and stir through 1/3 cup cooking water to form a light sauce.  If you need more water, add it by 1/3 cup until sauce is a creamy consistency and ricotta cheese is well blended.
  • Salt and pepper to taste, garnish with shaved parmigiano cheese and serve immediately.
    Bacon can be substituted for the pancetta, or omitted completely.
    Zucchini can be omitted completely. Or you can add blanched asparagus or toss in fresh spinach.
    Frozen peas may be substituted for fresh, just put the frozen peas in a jug of hot water until thawed, drain and toss in.
    Dried oregano or fresh basil may be substituted for the marjoram.
    Shaved parmigiano may be omitted.
Keyword vegetables, gnocchi, Italian, ricotta
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