In Solignano al Rubicone, Italy, they make cheese that is buried in the ground while it ages. It develops a delicious woody flavour that is perfect for this gnocchi, although you can use pecorino instead. 






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) mixed greens (such as silverbeet/Swiss chard, spinach and witlof/chicory)
  • iced water, to refresh
  • 200 g (7 oz) fresh ricotta, drained
  • 100 g (3½ oz) parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
  • 100 g (3½ oz) formaggio di fossa or a crumbly pecorino, grated
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 100 g (3½ oz/1 cup) dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp chopped dill
  • finely grated zest of ½ lemon
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 100 g (3½ oz) unsalted butter

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Wash and trim the greens, then plunge them into the boiling water. Once it comes to boil again, let the greens cook for a few minutes. Drain and refresh in iced water (to help retain their colour), then roughly chop and allow to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, place the ricotta, grated cheeses and egg in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Add the cooled greens, breadcrumbs, dill, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste and combine well – the mixture will be quite thick. Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Ideally the gnocchi should be cooked as soon as you make them – don’t let them rest too long.
  3. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Before you add the gnocchi to the water, melt the butter in a large deep frying pan over low heat. (You may need to do this in two pans or batches if you don’t have a very large pan.)
  4. Once the water is at a rolling boil, carefully drop in the gnocchi in batches, using a slotted spoon. Once they rise to the surface, lift them out with the slotted spoon and carefully drop them into the melted butter. Allow the gnocchi to cook for a few minutes on each side until nicely golden. Spoon on to warmed serving places and drizzle over some of the deep-golden butter. Scatter with extra grated parmesan and serve immediately.


Recipe and images from Adriatico by Paola Bacchia, Smith Street Books, RRP $55.00