dish with gnocchi and tomato sauce
Photography, Bob Deutscher

Ricotta Gnocchi With Tomato-Butter Sauce

Saskatoon Chef Dale MacKay shares the recipe for his famed ricotta gnocchi.

The tang of olives and tomato, the aroma of fresh herbs, the silky weight of a wicked butter sauce.

dish with gnocchi and tomato sauce

Ayden’s Ricotta Gnocchi With Tomato-Butter Sauce



  • 11/4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 egg yolks

Tomato-Butter Sauce

  • 1 sweet red pepper halved and seeded
  • 11/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 sprig basil
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 cup butter cubed, at room temperature


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil divided
  • 1 bunch asparagus trimmed and cut into 11/2-inch pieces
  • 15 cherry tomatoes
  • 15 black olives pitted
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese shaved



  • In a bowl, stir together ricotta, Parmesan, flour and egg yolks, ensuring all the flour is incorporated, and form into a ball.
  • Turn out onto lightly floured surface, and divide into quarters. Working with 1 quarter at a time and with floured hands, roll dough into a rope that’s about ¾ inch (2 cm) thick; cut into pieces that are ¾ inch (2 cm) long. Set aside on floured baking sheet.
  • In large pot of boiling salted water, cook gnocchi, in batches, until floating and no longer doughy in centre, about 2 to 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to oiled tray to prevent sticking, and cover.

Tomato-Butter Sauce

  • Tomato-butter sauce: In blender, combine cherry tomatoes and bell pepper, and purée until smooth. Strain through fine-mesh strainer into medium saucepan, pressing it through with bottom of spoon. Add basil and thyme, and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
  • Discard basil and thyme, and continue cooking sauce over medium until it resembles a light paste. Remove from heat and stir in butter a few pieces at a time, stirring constantly until all the butter is incorporated and sauce has thickened. Cover to keep warm.


  • In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat; cook gnocchi until golden brown all over. Transfer to large plate and cover to keep warm.
  • Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium-high heat; cook asparagus for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, olives and arugula, and remove from heat, tossing until arugula is wilted.
  • Spoon a generous amount of tomato-butter sauce onto a serving plate, and top with gnocchi, asparagus mixture and Parmesan.
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