Ricotta Gnocchi & Simple Red Sauce

By / Food / September 29th, 2021 / 2

by A Tavola

Our Nonna would make a big batch of this sauce once a week and then use it throughout the week in multiple dishes.


  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 (796mL) cans whole tomatoes, (crushed. *You can crush the tomatoes with your hands, in a food mill, food processor or use an immersion blender directly into the can. Each method will yield a slightly different texture.)
  • 1 carrot (left whole)
  • 1 stalk celery (left whole)
  • 1⁄2 onion (left whole)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1⁄4 cup red wine
  • 1 sprig fresh basil


  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium.
  • Sauté the garlic until fragrant, being careful not to burn.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, carrot, celery, and onion.
  • Bring to a simmer and stir in the salt, wine, and basil.
  • Simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Spoon out the carrot, celery, onion, and basil.
  • Drizzle with extra olive oil.

Ricotta Gnocchi: Nonna started making these to create a lighter version of the traditional potato gnocchi.


  • 1 (450 g) container of ricotta (see Tip)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1⁄4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt


  • Place the ricotta in a medium bowl and mix in the flour, egg, parmesan, and salt. Once the dough comes together, place it on a lightly floured surface and mix until everything comes together for about 1 minute the dough will be soft.
  • Divide the dough into 9 equal pieces.
  • On a well-floured surface, roll out each piece of dough to form a log about 12 inches (30 cm) long.
  • Cut each log into small bite-size chunks (about 1⁄2 inch squares).
  • Using a well floured gnocchi board or the back of a fork press and roll each piece into the gnocchi board, making an indent with your thumb in the centre of each piece. *At this stage you can freeze the gnocchi for later use. Arrange them in a single layer on a lightly floured cookie sheet, ensuring they don’t touch, and put them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, transfer to a freezer bag.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  • Add a generous pinch of salt to the water, add the gnocchi, stir and return the lid to the pot to allow the water to come backup to a boil. Once the water is boiling leave the lid off and be sure to stir the gnocchi.
  • Once they float to the top, cook 1 to 2 more minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to gently scoop the gnocchi out.

* If you pour them into a colander to drain, they may get crushed, as they are more delicate than packaged gnocchi.

  • Shake or tap off the excess water before laying the gnocchi in a serving dish and coating with your favourite sauce.

About A Tavola:

Calgary-based sisters Nadia Carinelli and Sara Marghella are first-generation Italian-Canadians who grew up immersed in Edmonton’s tight-knit Italian community. Whether at church helping in the kitchen for community events, or Sunday lunch at Nonna’s (Italians call It pranzo) the sisters were constantly surrounded by women who took so much pride in preparing beautiful dishes to serve every day.

The term A Tavola is what their mother Angelina shouts to get everyone around the table when dinner is ready. It was here the sisters quickly learned food isn’t just about nutrition and sustenance, but a platform to connect with friends and family. Over the years, the sisters perfected the art of entertaining, while family and friends encouraged them to hone their passion. Some suggested starting a catering company, others were ready to invest in a restaurant but in 2017, Nadia and Sara decided to start a passion project. One that brings their love for food, tradition and honours the woman who has been a lifelong inspiration to them both.

Purchase the cookbook Nonna Said


Looking at the small things that make life great and the people who create them.

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