Gnocchi all’Acqua con Pancetta

Happy Thanksgiving!

When I was googling researching gnocchi all’acqua (‘water’ gnocchi, made from a dough much like that of éclairs), I noticed a variety of these gnocchi stuffed with pieces of pancetta and served with a tomato sauce. This sounded really good, so I decided to put it on my coming soon list of recipes to try. It turned out to be delicious. The ‘surprise’ of the tasty pancetta inside of the pillowy gnocchi is wonderful, and it works very well with the tomato sauce. Although it is a bit of work to put a piece of pancetta into each gnocco, it is still a relatively quick fresh pasta dish. Here’s what I did…


For 2 servings

150 grams (1 cup) flour

250 ml (1 cup) water

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

60 grams (2 oz) pancetta

250 ml (1 cup) sieved tomatoes (passata, tomato puree)

1 Tbsp fresh basil chiffonade

freshly grated parmigiano reggiano



Cut the pancetta into about 60 small dice. Fry the diced pancetta in 1 Tbsp of the olive oil until it is just starting to crisp up.

Lift the pancetta out of the frying pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat behind, and arrange on a plate to cool.

Add the sieved tomatoes to the frying pan.

Scrape with a wooden spatula to incorporate any browned pancetta bits into the sauce. Bring the tomato sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.

Make water gnocchi dough using the same method as described in my previous post.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

Knead the dough until it is smooth and pliable, then roll into sausages about as thick as your finger and cut into gnocchi.

Insert a piece of pancetta into each gnocco…

…and close the gnocco by rolling it between your hands.

Repeat until you have used up all of the dough.

The tomato sauce should be ready by now. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt.

Add salt and the gnocchi to the pot of boiling water, and cook them until they float.

As soon as they float, transfer the gnocchi to the tomato sauce with a slotted spoon.

Once you’ve tranferred all of the gnocchi, add some freshly grated parmigiano and the basil.

Toss to mix.

Serve on preheated plates, sprinkled with more freshly grated parmigiano.

Wine pairing

Sangiovese, the grape used for Chianti Classico, is best for tomato-based dishes. For these gnocchi a Sangiovese di Romagna is a better choice than a Chianti, as those wines have a rounder style and work better with the roundness of the gnocchi and pancetta.


Pumpkin or butternut squash is a very seasonal ingredient, especially today, and you can also use it to make lasagna.


8 thoughts on “Gnocchi all’Acqua con Pancetta

  1. oh my. i really don’t know what to say because they just look so fabulous, with such simple and lovely ingredients. You certainly have a light hand when it comes to fresh pasta!


  2. Complimenti al cuoco. This recipe has edged up my list of ‘want to try’ to 2nd in line. (First in line is also one from this site! :-))


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