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Prosciutto Gnocco Fritto with Beans and Ricotta

Number of servings (yield): 4
Recipe Level: Advanced

Whether you want to spice up your game day party bites or impress that new date, this prosciutto appetizer is here to help. The classic Italian Gnocco Fritto is brought alive with a bit of a modern flare: pureed beans, ricotta, herbs and hot sauce make it one for the books. Need a full meal? Serve this Gnocco Fritto with a light salad for an amazing weeknight dinner. Pair with a glass of rose or your favorite wheat beer for a refreshing pairing to this prosciutto appetizer or entree. This recipe comes from our Specialist Chef Joshua McFadden of Ava Gene’s in Portland, Oregon. Photo credit: Ashley Marti

Ingredients for Gnocco Fritto
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for Bean Spread
  • 16 ounces dried beans
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 3 chili pods, dried and whole
  • Salt, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon scallion, chopped
  • 4 slices Prosciutto di Parma
  • Ricotta cheese, to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste

Instructions for Gnocco Fritto

In a mixing bowl whisk to combine flour, yeast and salt, making a well and stir in the milk, water and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Knead 10-12 minutes to a smooth, almost elastic dough. If dry, add water.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and brush the top with oil. Cover the whole bowl with a towel and place in a slightly warm environment until it doubles in size, about 1 to 2 hours.

Once the dough doubles in size, roll out with a rolling pin to about an 1/8- inch even thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 3-inch squares.

Instructions for Bean Spread

Soak dried beans the night before, and cook them in water over medium heat. Immediately add salt to taste. Add sprigs of rosemary, smashed garlic and whole chili pods. Stir in extra virgin olive oil and turn heat to low, allowing the beans to cook slowly.

Once beans are tender, puree beans in their liquid for a hummus-like consistency. Add an extra bit of salt and extra virgin olive oil to taste. Thin out with cooking liquid or water, if needed.

Top gnocco fritto with dollop of the bean puree and, if desired, add whole beans on top for extra flavor.


Drape Prosciutto di Parma on top of bean spread, and add ricotta; sprinkle with herbs. Squeeze fresh lemon juice and for extra bit of heat, drizzle with favorite hot sauce.


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