Dinner/ Italian recipes/ Lunch/ One-pot recipes/ Pasta/ Vegetarian

Cheesy Gnocchi with Slow Braised Leeks & Smokey Ham

6 May 2024

Ok, I must admit I was a bit hungover when I cooked this so I might be biased, but man oh man, this was one of the best gnocchi dishes I’ve ever made. We both fell asleep in a food coma on the couch after 15 minutes so not really sure how well I’m selling this dish, but if you’re looking for ultimate weekend comfort food to eat with PJ’s on the couch then look no further! 

If that doesn’t work, maybe this does: soft potato pillows coated in a creamy, sloooowly braised buttery leek and 3 cheese sauce, studded with smokey ham and topped off with freshly grated nutmeg… Yeah that works for me!

You need a heavy based pot with a lid for this dish.

Cheesy Gnocchi with Slow Braised Leeks & Smokey Ham

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Dinner Italian
By Saffron Serves: 2 + leftovers
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 50 minutes


  • 50 g butter
  • 2 medium leeks, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 - 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 - 2 bay leaves
  • 3 - 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 250 g ricotta
  • 50 - 75 g finely grated parmesan
  • 50 g gouda or cheddar cheese (optional)
  • 500 g fresh gnocchi
  • 150 g smoked ham cubes (or leave out for vegetarian)
  • Pepper & Salt
  • Nutmeg



Start by melting the butter in a heavy based pot. When foaming add the leeks, garlic and bayleaves and turn the heat down to low. When just starting to sizzle add the water and put the lid on the pan. Now sloooowly sweat down the leeks without letting the brown, stirring now and then. This will take about 35 minutes.


The last 5 minutes bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and then add the gnocchi. As soon as the gnocchi floats to the top (about 2-3 minutes) remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate to let cool. Keep the starchy water!


Once the liquid of the leeks has emulsified and evaporated, sprinkle a tablespoon of flour into the leeks and stir well to coat. Bring the heat up to medium and cook for 2 minutes, don’t let it burn.


Scoop a ladle of hot gnocchi water into the pan and stir well with a whisk, add another ladle if needed, you should get a lump free thick sauce.


Once it’s bubbling add all the cheeses and stir well to melt through. Add the ham and the gnocchi into the sauce. Stir well. If it’s to thick add some more starchy water to get your desired consistency.


Taste and season with pepper, salt and nutmeg. Enjoy!

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