Pan-Fried Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi

If there ever was a time when I wondered why I never dated an Italian, it would be now. You see, I slept my way through a culinary education.

Yes, my friends, I whored myself out to learn the secrets of authentic Mexican steak tacos, Vietnamese pho ga, Cantonese steamed chicken, American BBQ ribs, Taiwanese deep fried tofu, Korean bi bim bap, Persian polow, Scottish haggis art of eating out every night, Japanese yakitori, French technique of cooking fish, Singaporean…..hmmm, that guy was totally hopeless. Oh yes, and the hunky Thai fling who taught me how to make curry paste.

Before that look of “OMG she didn’t!”settles on your face, permanently creating an extra wrinkle on your forehead, let me further explain. No, I didn’t sleep with all of them…just seduced them enough to divulge their secret family recipes. I only slept with them if I needed access to their mothers, grandmothers or grand-auntie for further clarification of ingredients or technique. I mean, really….you can only understand so much of a recipe between moans.

We all know that the best food comes from grandma’s kitchen – so why spend $80,000 going to the Culinary Institute of America to learn from chefs who learnt from other chefs who learnt from someone’s grandma?

I say go right to the source! It takes zero money, less time and I didn’t have to wear a silly chef’s hat while hustling mastering ancient culinary secrets.

One day, I might just have to even (TM) this technique. All I know is that if I ever got my own cooking show, young children and cute puppies would probably have to cover their ears.

What in the world would you call my cooking show…Boy Meets Bimbo? Jaden’s Big O? Barefoot Tramp? Harlot on the Street? Molto Skank? Unzipped? Semi-Whoring with Jaden Lee? The Hungry Hooker? Good Eats with Loose Women?

Oh please laugh.

I’m just joking.

Sort of.

Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi

So I’ve never had an Italian boyfriend. Which is precisely why I’ve never made gnocchi before. I finally decided to experiment, because of this dinner where I experienced the most sensual gnocchi ever in my entire life. I just had to re-create this in my own kitchen. No potato – I used whole milk ricotta. Instead of boiling the gnocchi, I pan fried ’em in butter. And in lieu of a sauce, I opted for simple, bright and tingling: browned butter, lemon and pepper.

I bought one of those wooden grooved doo-hickeys. I don’t even know what they are called. It turns out that since I fried them, I really didn’t need to use the thingamajibber, as the grooves disappeared.

Please try this recipe – I know you will fall in love with this Italian nugget. Slightly crunchy, carmelized exterior gives way to soft, voluptuous, passionate, and soulful interior….just like an Italian lover.


Pan-Fried Lemon-Ricotta Gnocchi

Servings: Prep Time: Cook Time:


1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup freshly grated parmegiano reggiano (plus extra reserved for garnishing)
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon lemon zest (use a microplane grater) (plus extra reserved for garnishing)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp table salt)
3/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted + more for dusting
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (plus extra reserved for garnishing)
1/2 teaspoon finely minced chilli (or red pepper flakes) - adjust chilli based on your tastes
2 tablespoons clarified butter (or just regular butter, but the clarified butter works much better)
1 tablespoon olive oil


1. Combine ricotta, parmagiano, yolk, zest and salt in large bowl. Mix well. Sprinkle half of the flour on the mixture, gently turn with spatula a few times to incorporate. Dump mixture on clean, lightly floured countertop. Sprinkle remaining flour on top of the mixture. Gently knead with your fingertips, just bringing together the mixture until flour is incorporated through. This only should take a minute or two. Any longer and you will be over-kneading. *If you are using skim milk ricotta - you may have to use more flour, as there is more water content in skim ricotta.

Dough should look like this:

Gnocchi Dough

2. Divide dough into 4 parts. Take one part and roll into a long, 1" diameter log. Cut gnocchi into 1" pieces. You may use your wooden doobie-bopper or tines of a fork to get those pretty grooves that will eventually disappear after frying anyways.

Making Gnocchi

Making Gnocch

3. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter and olive oil. when butter is just lightly browned, add gnocchi in single layer. Fry on one side for 2 minutes, flip. Add chilli. Fry other side for 1-2 minutes. Timing really depends on how big/thick your gnocchi is. Do a taste test - do you taste flour? Not done yet. Does it taste like a beautiful Italian's luscious lips? Then its done. Serve with a sprinkling of lemon zest, parmegiano and parsley.

This post inspired Food Fusion to make this:

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Comments 101

  1. brilynn

    A truly inspiring story πŸ˜‰ Your next post will have to include your seduction hints so that I can nab myself a culinary education too…

  2. Marvin

    Gnochi always seemed so difficult and time-consuming to make, but again, you make it look easy, and delicious.

    BTW, I would definitely watch “The Hungry Hooker” starring Jaden Lee. “Semi-Whoring” ain’t a bad title either, but then you’d have to do everything half-assed (yikes! that was a terrible pun).

  3. Nicisme

    This recipe looks fantastic! I’m definitely going to have a go at making these, even though I’ve never made gnocchi before.
    I love your photos, and your post gave me a good laugh!

  4. LunaPierCook

    You forgot “EVOOooooo”, “The Whipped Chef”, “Jaden’s Bigger Bite”, and of course, “The Next FN Slut”. But really, “Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen” works just fine! [rotflmao!]

  5. Kalyn

    Oh sigh. I had a few ethnic boyfriends back in my (semi-steamy) past, but I never got a single cooking tip. One Chinese/Hawaiian boyfriend did give me my first cleaver as a present though, and I never stopped using them.

  6. tigerfish

    Singaporean, guy, hopeless? No chilli crab secrets? or no hunk? Gosh… can’t imagine no brawns and no brains :O
    Hahha…were you trying to forget EVOO -EVil…oooh…ooohh….?
    I was looking out for those grooves too….but they disappeared into scallops-look-alike πŸ˜€

  7. SteamyKitchen

    Brilynn- low-cut top always helps!

    Marvin- LOL!

    Nicisme-Thanks for visiting- love your site too, esp the rasp truffles

    LPC- I love The Whipped Chef…but its me who is usually doing the whipping!

    Lisa- do you think I could get a D list actress to star in the film?

    Kalyn- aaahhhh…nice! you got a cleaver!

    Tigerfish- sigh. no chilli crab for me. he didn’t like cooking and his family really didn’t cook well either. blah. Too bad I’m married now!

  8. Dani

    You are hystercial…I was laughing out loud!! Not to mention, those gnocchi look pretty darn good as well!

  9. Elaine

    LOL! You really cracked me up and made my dreary Monday a good one. Darn rain.

    That pan fried gnocchi recipe looks pretty good! Now you make me want to have some for lunch! *stashes her work away to cook*

    And I better update your blog link on my site before I forget. πŸ™‚ Just thought I’d point it out, you have double Chubby Hubbys on your blogroll. And please link me up as well, beautiful πŸ™‚

  10. wokandspoon

    Hehe – that was a hilarious post! Unfortunately, none of my ex-boyfriends or flings had any grandmothers with good recipes …so, this is why I married my husband – with 2 pairs of French parents-in-law, I can’t go wrong πŸ˜‰

    ps. The gnocchi looks great too!

  11. Meena

    Oh my God! That’s hillarious! This looks so tempting that I can’t wait to try it out. Congrats on th enew domain, will surely update my links! πŸ™‚

  12. Pingback: Steamy Kitchen is Moving Out « Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen

  13. Amy

    You’re always so funny, all those food show names had me chuckling at work. You don’t need to tell me twice to try this recipe, it looks delish! I love your little gnocchi board thingie (I don’t know what it’s called either). Last time I roasted duck I saved the fat just so I can fry gnocchi in it. Mmm… duck fat.

  14. Melinda

    I am so glad you have learned all your kitchen prowess with kind of kitchen espionage even Mata Hari would be proud of! I will appreciate your recipes and techniques even more now that I understand what you had to do to get them for us.
    The Pan Fried Lemon Ricotta Gnocchi sounds much better than boiled gnocchi. Excellent idea.

  15. johanna

    these look brilliant! i might just try this, especially since i have a wooden soap dish which could give me exactly that pattern (I used to have it in the guest bathroom, but not anymore, and it has been thoroughly cleaned!!!) – no, seriously, you know what i saw at carluccio’s today? a spaghetti harp! i didn’t even know spaghetti had ANY musical talent! but there you go. it looks too fiddly for me to even want to try it out… i have struggled enough with pasta machines in my life already, so from now on it’ll be gnocci only. they’re so managable.
    i also am less than leen on the potato variety, preferring ricotta or, a recent discovery although completely different, parisian gnocci from choux pastry. fried as well. glorious creaminess, a bowl to make up for a week’d worth of rain and other unpleasantries…

  16. Jonathan

    This looks absolutely stunning. I’ve just got back from Croatia where I had the most delicious gnocchi with an asparagus and pancetta sauce. I’m going to have a go at it based on your post…

    You’re photos are wonderful by the way.

  17. Lee Ping Chong

    Dear Jaden,

    I saw a lady made Gnocchi on the food network. She was very fast but graceful. It was pleasant to watch her slide the tiny pieces of dough, one by one, down the wooden “doobie-bopper” and into the boiling water.

  18. Georgia

    Wow, those gnocchi look delish! And you make it look so simple – I will certainly be giving those a try. I just found your blog and love your blog / writing style, I’m sure it will become a favorite of mine πŸ™‚

  19. Steen

    Hey Jaden…
    What a classy, subtle post to celebrate the new domain. ROFL
    Looking back, perhaps my past dalliances would have been at least somewhat worthwhile if I’d had a focus, as you did.
    You ought to hand out pamphlets in high schools so that all those slutty teens will have something to show for it besides broken hearts and pregnancy scares.
    And, I’m gonna make this recipe for sure! Well done.

  20. Lucy

    Jaden – new home is grand.
    I’ve got a truckload of great recipes from ex-boyfriends family’s too!
    Would love one of those gnocchi rolling panels.
    Gorgeous recipe.

  21. Big Boys Oven

    Congratulation! You got a new website………….cool…. I guess bigboys will be moving soon to a new website…………I am a big fan of Gnocchi!
    Well done Jaden!!!!

  22. Coffee

    Hahaha….. what a post Jaden!!!!! I had a good laugh early in the morning πŸ˜€

    I agree with you…… I got fed up with the restriction WordPress was providing and hence moved out…… its does take a bit more effort here since you are left on your own to find all the roads by your self (especially when I am two left hands when it comes to HTML!!!), but it teaches you a lot and at the end of the day, its fun!!! πŸ˜€

    I loved the recipe and now I have no excuses not to try out gnocchi at home. πŸ™‚

  23. Mae

    I’m laughing. Hard. My, you crack me up! πŸ™‚
    Love the photos, Jaden. Really beautiful! The lighting is so perfect. You have to divulge your secrets to ME. πŸ™‚
    Oh, and where can i get that fantastic gnocchi board??? I don’t think i’ll ever attempt to make gnocchi unless i get my hands on the board…

  24. MyKitchenInHalfCups

    Well, I’m laughing and I’m hungry.
    I’d suggest you go with Good Eats with Loose Women! I think you’ve attracted the right crowd.
    Love the gnocchi. I tried potato and the ricotta is next on the list.

  25. the petite pig

    Jaden – What a hilarious entry, but seriously, I’m going to consider this technique of yours . . . I’m sure it’s a lot more fun than culinary school.

  26. steeped

    Haha, this post reminds me of a creative writing assignment I wrote my senior year, a personal essay about the nastiest man I ever dated who, to my great shame, taught me some of the most fantastic, elaborate dinner-party-impressive meals I know. (I left him for my current boyfriend, who taught me how to make egg-in-a-hole.)

  27. Ellie

    Hi. Can you adopt me? Seriously – I will do ALL your dishwashing, babysit your kids, mow your lawn, do your laundry…any and all the household chores that keep you out of the kitchen. All I ask in return is that I get to be by your side to learn when you make mouth-watering dishes like this!

    *wipes drool in a semi ladylike manner*

  28. SteamyKitchen

    Nathan- laugh!!! its funny! or I’ll get my kids to tickle you

    Lydia & Dani- glad i could bring some sunshine and joy to your day

    Elaine- you’re on! Importing database messed up blogroll.

    W&S- lucky you!

    Meena- thank you!

    Amy- duck fat…yummmmmmm

    Lynn- very steamy indeed

    Melinda- ahhh the sacrifices I make in the name of food

    Johanna- omg…choux pastry gnocchi? could it get any better than that?

    Jonathan- let me know when you’ve made it – i want to see your version

    LPC- I think I saw the same episode! Sex kitten Giada made them.

    Kitt- lol – you’re right! i should re name the recipe!

    Ninja- feed husband gnocchi in bed

    Georgia- welcome and thank you!

    Steen- classy and subtle are my middle names

    Lucy- OH GOOD. i was getting worried that i was the only one who did this! KITCHEN WHORES UNITE!

    Muffin- thank you!

    BBO- let me know when you move and we’ll celebrate and have a big party

    Coffee- hehe – good thing my husband owns and computer company! free tech support!

    Mae- Giada says you can use the tines of a fork…but certainly NOT when its a perfect excuse to buy a new gadget.

    Kitchen in Half Cups – Oh I could have fun hosting that show!

    PetitePig- I think you and I should create a new culinary school based on this technique

    Steeped – haha- I love that contrast!! (I learned “frog eyes” from an ex boyfriend!)

    Ellie- honey, 3 hours babysitting my kids and you’ll realize you got the BUM end of the deal! πŸ™‚

  29. Ashley

    i love the story, and the recipe looks great! congrats on your new home!

    p.s. i made your scallop recipe a few nights ago (i haven’t updated my blog yet) and it turned out great! it was my first time cooking scallops at home (as i just realized that i like them!). thanks for all the great recipes!

  30. Wandering Chopsticks

    Hmm. I’ve been going about it all wrong. I was dating guys who would just cook FOR me. Never hung around to meet the moms or grandmas! Hehe. πŸ˜‰

    Can you make gnocchi with potatoes? I like the softer texture. Although brown butter is lovely.

  31. Elaine

    Jaden, I made gnocchi for dinner yesterday after being inspired by you but I went back to the basics by using potatoes instead.

    And it’s such a great recipe, especially the citrusy brown butter sauce (i didn’t have lemons so I used lime and orange; zest and juice). Thank you for the inspiration, i shall be posting up my recipe soon! πŸ™‚

  32. argus lou

    Thanks, Jaden, for a highly entertaining post. Now I understand how your kitchen is steamy. Some other suggestions for your ‘TV show’: ‘Food Lover, Good Lover’, ‘Shallots & Harlots’, ‘Cuisine Between Moans’, ‘Sex Kitten’s Kitchen’.
    I once made ricotta gnocchi wrapped in semolina from a recipe by Jamie Oliver — very delicate things to lightly cook in water, almost falling apart. Tasty though. Will have to try your recipe one of these days — when I’ve recovered from the ricotta overdose. πŸ˜‰

  33. honest ape

    Welcome to the Self-Hosted WordPress party. So…where’s my “Subscribe to comments” plugin, eh?

    And, for the record, my favorite show title was “Good Eats with Loose Women.” Alton Brown could eat your dust. How can that guy compete with loose women? Maybe with that new beard of his, he might have a fighting chance. But, in the end, loose women will win me over every time.

    BTW, if you need any help with WordPress now that you’re out in the wild, you can drop me a line.

  34. veron

    Aw, Jaden that would make a hilarious book. “How I slept with guys to steal their Mother’s /Grandmother’s recipes”. I do like Argus Lou’s suggestion :Shallots and Harlots.
    Thanks for the entertaing post and laugh, not to mention the delicious looking food.

  35. David Jenkins

    I feel so better about myself knowing that I’m not the only one who used the opposite sex for a cooking education. I’ll remain eternally grateful to my ex’s from Hong Kong, Thaliand, Korea and Japan and maybe the most to my San Fran-born ex from a Korean/Japanese family. I owe way, way too much to what I picked up in those kitchens. You’re dead on about the mom’s and grandma’s, too. I think a few of them might have thought I was a little crazy, or at least liked their daughters a little more than maybe I did. πŸ™‚

    And now my wife schools me regularly on Cuban cuisine and still manages to out-do me in all things Italian.

  36. SteamyKitchen

    SGC- and dribble down your chin on your perfectly white starched shirt?!

    Elaine- i’m glad you got over your fear of scallops. They aren’t bad creatures, just a little limp

    Argus- love the shallots & harlots. will you be a guest chef on it too?

    Honest Ape- thank u for all your help. I’m still working on it!

    Cynthia – honey, if you lived near me, all we would do is eat, laugh and fart on the couch!

    Karen- thank you!

    Srivalli- look on your blog for my comments

    David- thank goodness that the Kitchen Whoring technique knows no gender

  37. ilingc

    You should call your cooking show “Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen!!” Oh.. that’s already the name of your blog. Umm don’t mind me, I’m just a bit duhh today..

    When I saw the photo, I thought.. SCALLOPS! YUMM.. then I read the title.. and it was gnocchi. LOL.

    This looks easy enough to do. I have pasta making phobia, it’s the only reason why I haven’t bought a pasta machine or ever tried making pasta. One of these days, when I find the courage, you will see this attempt on my blog πŸ™‚

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