Gnocchi alla Vodka

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Homemade, soft, pillowy potato pasta topped with a rich, creamy vodka sauce.


  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • 1 cup diced pancetta
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil, or more to taste
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Stab potatoes several times to create holes for steam to escape.

Bake in the preheated oven until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature.

When cooled, scoop out potato flesh from skin and transfer to a mixing bowl. Discard skins. Mash flesh thoroughly, removing as many firm lumps as possible. Add flour, Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, and egg. Knead mixture until dough is smooth. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Divide dough into several baseball-sized balls. Roll each ball on a generously floured work surface into a rope about as thick as a nickel. Cut the ropes into 1-inch sections. Roll the tines of a fork gently over the top of each piece to give an authentic gnocchi appearance (or a decent facsimile); this creates divots for soaking up the sauce.

Prepare sauce: melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove pancetta from pan and set aside. Add shallot to the pan drippings and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper and cook until fragrant, 30 to 40 seconds.

Pour vodka into the pan to deglaze; use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Let liquid reduce by half. Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and tomato paste. Cook sauce for 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender until smooth.

Return pot to medium heat. Add 1/4 cup basil and pancetta. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add cream and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook gnocchi in the boiling water until they float to the top, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and plate gnocchi. Ladle sauce on top and garnish with more basil. Serve immediately.

Preparation time: 45 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 1 hr 50 mins
Servings: 4 – Yield: 4 servings



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