Gnocchi can be an intimidating dish to try and conquer, but I want you to do me a favor: please let go of that impression right here and now. Making gnocchi at home is quick, easy, and provides a flavor and texture that is leaps and bounds better than the dried pack you’ll find on a grocery store shelf.
The secret to gnocchi is in the mixing. As long as all of the ingredients are blended and the flour is hydrated, you’re done. Put the fork down.
Aggressively mixing the dough is important in making pasta because it requires a firm texture in order to be shaped. But gnocchi are the exact opposite – light, pillowy dumplings that need only be brought together for a moment in order to preserve their delicate texture.
Give this dish a shot next time you want to impress some dinner guests (or, heck, impress yourself).
If you want to get a leg up and make the gnocchi ahead of time, the dough can be mixed, rolled out, and cut a few hours before cooking. Just loosely cover the gnocchi with a sheet of plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.
Wait until you’re just ready to serve the gnocchi, though, before making the brown butter – it’s best when it’s freshest.
Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter
Makes 4 servings
1 large Idaho potato (about 8 oz.), baked and cooled
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 to 2 tbsp. water, as needed
6 tbsp. butter
16 sage leaves
1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring it to a boil.
2. If you have a ricer, peel the potato and pass it through the ricer. If you don’t have a ricer, cut the skin-on potato in half, and run the cooked side over the holes of a box grater, discarding the skin when all of the flesh has been grated.
3. To the potato, add the egg, pumpkin, flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Blend the mixture with a fork, stirring it just until combined. If there’s not enough liquid to hydrate all of the flour, add a few splashes of water as needed.
4. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it.
5. Cut the dough into six portions. Working with one portion at a time, gently roll the dough into a log that is about 3/4-inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into gnocchi that are about 1-inch long.
6. Transfer the cut gnocchi to a baking sheet and continue rolling out and cutting the remaining dough.
7. Working in batches as needed, boil the gnocchi until they are cooked through and begin to float, about 3 minutes. Remove the cooked gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon or spider and reserve.
8. When all of the gnocchi are almost done boiling, place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat with the butter and sage. Cook the butter, swirling the pan occasionally, until it begins to brown on the bottom and smells nutty, 2 to 4 minutes (keep an eye on it as it will go from browned to burnt very quickly).
9. Remove the butter from the heat and immediately add all of the gnocchi to the pan. Gently toss the gnocchi in the brown butter and season them with salt and pepper.
10. Serve the gnocchi immediately with the crispy sage leaves and a drizzle of any butter that may be left in the pan.
Note: To bake the potato, pierce it with a fork and bake it at 400 F until tender, about 45 minutes. You can also use a microwave, cooking it for approximately 6 minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave) until tender. Let the baked potato cool before preparing the gnocchi dough.