cottage cheese gnocchi with kale sauce

fluffy, pillowy, and packed with more than 30 grams of protein per serving
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cottage cheese gnocchi with kale sauce

I’m not someone who whips up homemade pasta in my spare time. But I am someone who experiments with using cottage cheese in place of ricotta, and I’m happy to report it works flawlessly with gnocchi. (No pasta machine required).

making pillowy cottage cheese gnocchi

Just like with classic gnocchi, the less flour you add to the dough, the lighter and more pillowy the resulting gnocchi will be. That’s why this recipe begins with pressing out excess moisture from the cottage cheese with paper towels. Less moisture = less flour needed to create a cohesive dough.

With that said, everyone’s dough will be a little bit different depending on your brands of cottage cheese and flour. (FWIW, I use Good Culture cottage cheese and King Arthur Baking flour). If the dough is way too sticky to work with, keep adding more flour a few spoonfuls at a time until it comes together enough to roll into ropes.

my favorite gnocchi sauce

I’m partial to this vibrant kale sauce, inspired by Joshua McFadden, but feel free to toss the gnocchi in whatever sauce you please. Keeping it simple with Rao’s is always a good option.

see it in action…

cottage cheese gnocchi with kale sauce

serves 4
homemade cottage cheese gnocchi tossed in a vibrant kale sauce

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 12 ounces lacinato kale (1 large or 2 small bunches), thick ribs removed
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • freshly-ground black pepper

For the gnocchi:

  • 1 (16-ounce) container whole milk cottage cheese (2 cups)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (1/2 cup)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the kale and cook until tender, ~4 min. Use tongs to transfer to the food processor. Remove the water from the heat, but don’t drain.
  • Add the remaining sauce ingredients to the food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a large skillet; set aside. Clean the food processor.
  • Spread the cottage cheese onto a double layer of paper towels. Top with more paper towels; press firmly to draw out moisture. Transfer to the food processor.
  • Add the eggs, Parmesan, salt, and several grinds black pepper. Process, scraping down bowl the bowl as needed, until fully whipped and combined. Add 1 1/2 cups flour and pulse just until it forms a sticky ball. If it’s way too sticky to handle, add up to 1/2 cup more flour a few spoonfuls at a time.
  • Transfer to a floured work surface and knead a few times to bring together. Cut into four sections with a floured knife or bench scraper. Using floured hands, roll each section into a long rope (about 3/4” wide), dusting with more flour as needed. Cut into small pieces. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet dusted with flour.
  • Return the water to a boil (it will likely be green or yellow-ish; that’s ok!). Heat the sauce over medium-low heat. Use the parchment paper to funnel the gnocchi into the water. Cook until they rise to surface, then cook 1 minute more (2 to 3 minutes total).
  • Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer the gnocchi to the sauce along with a big splash of pasta water; toss to coat. Serve with more Parmesan.

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