Easy Gnocco Fritto

LAST UPDATED: Mar 31, 2021 | PUBLISHED: Jun 15, 2015 | By:

Gnocco Fritto is an easy 10-minute appetizer when made with the ultimate shortcut: puff pastry! These light and fluffy puff pillows are topped with olive oil, prosciutto and sea salt for heavenly bites.

Fried to golden brown perfection in a matter of seconds, this classic Italian dish is always a favorite.

gnocco fritto topped with olive oil, prosciutto, and sea salt on a wooden surface, text overlay describes recipe

Originally published June 15, 2015 and updated March 31, 2021 with new content and details.

In my years of playing with food, I have found that a few simple ingredients often make the most memorable meals. Gnocco Fritto is no exception. It really couldn’t be more simple, yet is so light, fluffy and full of flavor! 

Gnocco Fritto is made with just a few staple ingredients – a mixture of flour, water, and fat (lard, oil or butter), and salt. Combined into dough rolled out to a thin sheet, cut into rectangles and fried into little pillows.

To make this appetizer quick and easy, I use puff pastry rather than making it from scratch. Light, fluffy, golden pillows of pastry with a flaky exterior are topped with your favorite salumi or soft spreadable cheese. 

This lightly fried, savory dough is the perfect way to enjoy your antipasto, but can also be enjoyed as a main dish!

gnocco fritto topped with prosciutto on a white plate

Puff pastry pillows make a savory bed for antipasti. It takes just 10 minutes to make 24 of these heavenly pastries, making them perfect for entertaining!

Why You’ll Love Gnocco Fritto

  • The easiest shortcut
  • So flexible- top with anything
  • Soft and yet perfectly flaky
  • Ingredients you have in your freezer
gnocco frito lined up on wood board

Gnocco Fritto Ingredients

  • Puff Pastry – I used Pepperidge Farm brand, which comes in packs of two in the freezer section of your grocery store. You will only need one sheet of puff pastry, thawed overnight, for this recipe. If you feel you want to use the whole package, simply double the recipe.
  • Olive Oil – Extra Virgin olive oil works best. It’s lighter and fruiter in flavor.
  • Prosciutto – the quintessential Italian product. Purchase from your local Italian market for the good stuff. Either Parma or San Daniele can be used.
  • Sea Salt – Maldon flaky sea salt works best. The salt crystals are much larger, giving you an extra salty crunch!

Topping Options

  • Prosciutto di Parma
  • Prosciutto San Daniele
  • Tuscan Salami
  • Culatello
  • Mortadella
  • Capacollo / capicola
  • Guanciale
  • Finocchiona
  • Mascarpone
  • Squacquerone
gnocco frito topped with prosciutto on a white plate by glass of white wine

How to Make Gnocco Fritto

  1. Thaw puff pastry according to the directions on the package. Ideally, this would be overnight in the fridge.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat shortening over medium heat.
  3. Gently unfold the puff pastry and cut into 24 equal squares with a pastry cutter.
  4. Drop 3 squares of puff pastry in the shortening at a time, cook for 10 seconds, then flip, and cook for an additional 10 seconds, or until puffy.
  5. Scoop out the gnocco fritto and place on a paper towel-lined cookie sheet to absorb excess oil.
  6. Brush with olive oil, top with a small slice of Prosciutto, and sprinkle with thick flakes of sea salt. Enjoy!

Variations

  • In Tuscany, salami is often incorporated into the dough.
  • Add fresh herbs to the dough before or after frying.

Tips

  • Be patient with allowing your puff pastry to come to room temperature. It’s so much easier to work with!
  • Use a wide slotted spoon to remove the cooked pillows from oil.
  • Place on a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any excess oil.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with your favorite creamy cheese
  • Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Slather with butter and a little roasted garlic
  • Top with a spoonful of Nutella. You won’t regret this.
gnocco frito topped with olive oil, prosciutto, and sea salt on a wood surface

Dietary Considerations

  • Vegetarian (when served without the meat)
  • Nut Free
  • Make it vegan with a butter-free puff pastry product from your local organic grocer.

How to Store

They are best served immediately because they are lightly fried.

  • Room Temperature – these can be stored in an airtight container for up to two days (without the toppings) but will lose freshness and quality immediately after serving, because they are fried.
  • Refrigerator – you can refrigerate your gnocco fritto for up to three days after frying, but they lose the soft, pillowy texture.

If you try this recipe, please come back to share using my 5 star rating in the comments below! Not only do I appreciate it, but I know readers do, too!

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More Easy Italian Recipes

A row of gnocco fritto on a wooden surface, topped with prosciutto

Gnocco Frito

Author: Julie Blanner
Gnocco Frito is an easy 10-minute appetizer. These light and fluffy puff pillows are topped with olive oil, prosciutto and sea salt for heavenly bites. Fried to golden brown perfection in a matter of seconds!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 8 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Italian
Servings 24
Calories 171 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry thawed
  • 1 cup butter flavored shortening lard or olive oil
  • good olive oil
  • ¼ pound prosciutto sliced thin
  • sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Allow your puff pastry to thaw according to instruction on package.
  • Meanwhile, heat shortening over medium heat.
  • Cut pastry into 24 rectangles.
  • Drop 3 pieces of pastry into your oil at a time and allow to cook for 10 seconds. Flip with tongs and allow to cook another 10 seconds, or until puffy.
  • Remove and place onto a cookie sheet lined with a paper towel.
  • Brush with olive oil, top with prosciutto and sea salt.

Notes

Topping Suggestions
  • Prosciutto di Parma
  • Prosciutto San Daniele
  • Tuscan Salami
  • Culatello
  • Mortadella
  • Capacollo / capicola
  • Guanciale
  • Finocchiona
  • Mascarpone
  • Squacquerone

Nutrition

Calories:171kcalCarbohydrates:5gProtein:1gFat:17gSaturated Fat:4gCholesterol:3mgSodium:348mgPotassium:16mgFiber:1gSugar:1gCalcium:1mgIron:1mg
5 from 3 votes
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