Gluten-Free Pumpkin Ricotta Gnocchi with Pancetta and Toasted Walnuts

Fall is HERE, baby. Well... I mean technically it's not (we have 17 days left). But, the Starbucks PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) has been released, and that's all we need these days, right? Who needs history and nature when you have trendy beverages and Snapchat filters with colorful leaves?

I spotted my first PSL of the season while innocently scrolling through Instagram, and it didn't matter that at the time my eyebrows were melting off of my face from the 100-degree heat, or that my fingers had permanently burned into my car's black steering wheel earlier that day. My mind and my cravings immediately went to anything pumpkin-flavored. Now, you have to understand that I love Fall. It is my favorite season for cooking, baking, cocktails, styling, TV shows, events, sports, napping; you name it, I'm there doing it with a smile on my face and a cozy blush scarf wrapped around my shoulders. Essentially, I'm in my #basicbitch prime during the Fall season. 

Which is why this Fall recipe post during the first week of September should come as no surprise. I'm in the mood. You're probably in the mood. Let's embrace it together, shall we? So, when we had our little 3-day weekend to celebrate Labor Day, naturally, I was in the kitchen whipping up these cute gnocchi pillows of pumpkin goodness and jamming out to my new favorite Spotify playlist (The Everygirl Listens: Fall). It was truly my ideal Monday off of work.

When I was dreaming up a new recipe to add to our dinner collection for Fall meals during the week, I realized that I hadn't made homemade gnocchi since Sam and I had gone wheat-free last year. Cozy comfort food has always been my weakness, and to be honest, some days since going wheat-free all I want is a big fat, greasy bagel with a side of mac and cheese and a bowl of gooey gnocchi. I want it, but yet I still want to be able to get out of bed the next morning. So, I've found that in the past year while navigating this new, sometimes-frustrating-but-definitely-rewarding, lifestyle that all we really need is compromise and a little bit of creativity. The combination of those two can result in some pretty freaking delicious meals, if I do say so myself. 

Take this gnocchi, for instance - just imagine the rich pumpkin flavor mixed with rosemary, crispy pancetta, creamy ricotta, toasted walnuts, sharp Parmesan, and garlic. Is your mouth watering yet? Good. This gnocchi dish is the ultimate in comfort food, and it's perfectly tailored to Fall. We didn't take any shortcuts in this recipe and there's definitely no missing pieces or flavors, so what you're getting is gooey, crispy comfort food with 0% guilt. Even your non gluten-free friends and family will be craving this dish over and over again. 

To make things easy on the day/night of cooking, I always prep my gnocchi ahead of time and set them aside in the fridge under plastic wrap until I'm ready to use. Once those are done, the rest of the preparation for this dish is super simple and quick to throw together after work to impress your hubby or guests. Also, because the serving size is so large (6-8 servings), we love bringing our leftovers to the office for a yummy lunch, or reheating them for dinner if we're feeling a little more like binge-watching Bachelor in Paradise for 3 hours than acting like normal adults. It's a win-win for everyone. 


(Makes 6-8 servings)

For the gnocchi: 

  • 1 14-ounce can Organic Pumpkin
  • 6 ounces Whole Milk Ricotta
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • Kosher Salt

To finish the gnocchi:

  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 5 ounces Pancetta, diced
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 1 Fresh Rosemary Sprig, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup Walnuts, chopped
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese


Make the gnocchi:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the canned pumpkin, brown sugar, ricotta, egg, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add 1 cup of flour, and stir just until incorporated.
  2. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour onto a work surface. Scrape the dough onto the flour, then top with an additional 1/4 cup of flour. Using your hands, work the flour in to form a tacky ball of dough. Use light and fast motions with your hands to avoid overworking the dough. Add flour a little at a time if the dough is still very sticky. Once only slightly sticky, wrap in plastic and let rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Shape the gnocchi:

  1. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour onto a work surface. Place the chilled dough on the flour. Using a knife, cut the dough into 6 even portions. Using your hands, roll out each piece into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. As you are rolling the dough out, you'll notice that it goes from tacky to smooth.
  2. Using a knife, cut each log into 1-inch pieces (keep in mind that you don't want the pieces to be too large in size or else they will taste too doughy once cooked). Dip the tines of a fork into flour, tap off the excess, and press a gnocchi into the back of the fork, using your finger to gently make an indentation (this helps the gnocchi absorb flavor while cooking). Transfer the pieces to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. If you're not going to cook the gnocchi right away, cover them with plastic and store in the fridge for up to 1 day.  

Finish the gnocchi:

  1. Heat a wide skillet over medium heat. Add chopped walnuts and let toast for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so they do not burn. Remove from skillet once done and set aside. Wipe skillet clean.
  2. Add pancetta to skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the pancetta has taken on some color, 2-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic to the pan, cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Remove pancetta and garlic from skillet and set aside. Wipe skillet clean. 
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully drop in one third of the gnocchi (they will be soft, so use your fingers to drop them in one by one, spacing them out so they do not stick to each other; try not to burn yourself*). Depending on how many gnocchi you are cooking at once, you may need to cook them in 2 separate batches so they do not stick together while cooking. When all of the gnocchi have floated to the top, let them boil for 1 minute, then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drain. Set aside.
  4. Drizzle olive oil on a large, wide skillet. Warm over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Add gnocchi into the pan in a single layer, and don't move them until they have a golden sear on the first side, about 4 minutes. Use a pair of tongs to rotate each gnocchi to the second side, and cook until crusty on that side, another few minutes. 
  5. Add the chopped rosemary, cooked pancetta, garlic, and toasted walnuts to the pan. Stir until warm. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. 

p.s. I bought these pink plates at IKEA for $6 each, and the gold silverware set for under $35 at Target. They are perfect for hosting during any season when you want to brighten up the table and add a little extra "prettiness" to your dish!

Are you cooking and baking Fall recipes already? Comment on my latest Instagram photo and tell me or tag me in your homemade gnocchi dish!

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xo Anna Elizabeth