Gnocchi in Brown Butter Herb Sauce

Gnocchi in a brown butter herb sauce looks and tastes gourmet but is ridiculously quick and easy to make in under 30 minutes! 

This gnocchi recipe with lemony brown butter sage sauce elevates store-bought gnocchi to the next level and is a breeze to make! This easy yet elegant dinner rivals any restaurant – perfect for special occasions like Valentine’s Day or even busy weeknights surrounded by family. To make this recipe, the potato gnocchi are pan seared until crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside then drenched in an intoxicating nutty, garlic, brown butter sage sauce spiked with lemon and fresh Parmesan.  It’s heavenly!   Serve this quick-cooking gnocchi and sauce with a simple green salad or roasted butternut squash along with garlic bread and dinner is served!

Italian recipes make some of the tastiest yet easiest dinners.  When you’re low on time but still want to enjoy big flavors, try these quick Italian favorites: cacio e pepe, weeknight spaghetti, mushroom pasta, linguine in sundried tomato cream sauce, margherita pasta, and rigatoni in tomato cream sauce.

top view of gnocchi in a white skillet garnished with shaved Parmesan

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gnocchi recipe

Did someone say gnocchi AND brown butter?! Queue giddiness! This sensational gnocchi recipe is one of those embarrassingly easy meals that earns major points because it’s:

  • packed with tons of caramelized, buttery, herb, nutty, Parmesan flavor
  • on your table in less than 30 minutes, perfect for busy nights or impromptu guests
  • made with minimal ingredients – just keep gnocchi stocked!
  • looks and sounds fancy with the name browned butter sauce but is so simple to make!

Oh gnocchi, how I love thee!  These dumpling pillows of heaven don’t require much to make, but you’ll feel like you’re dining at a 5-star restaurant.  In fact, when I was deciding which way to take this recipe – whether to toss the gnocchi in a Bolognese sauce, gorgonzola cream sauce, pomodoro sauce, etc., I opted for the simplest sauce of all – browned butter herb sauce – which lets the potato gnocchi SHINE, but only takes minutes to whisk together- literally. 

What makes this gnocchi recipe so spectacular is that the gnocchi aren’t just poached in boiling water.  Instead, they’re made extra-fabulous with one more step – they are pan fried in a little butter until golden and crispy on the outside and contrastingly pillowy on the inside and infused with butter throughout.  If you’ve never pan fried your potato gnocchi, it will change your gnocchi experience forever!  The soft, crispy morsels are the farthest thing from heavy or dense, and will have everyone thinking you made them from scratch!

Now for the gnocchi sauce.  The fabulous crispy, light texture of the gnocchi is a match made in heaven with the mouthwatering brown butter sauce  that highlights the gnocchi instead of hiding it.  I’ll talk more about the sauce later, but all you really need to know is butter is browned with sage leaves until perfectly toasted then brightened with a splash of fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and infused with plenty of fresh herbs, and of course there’s a kick of garlic and red pepper flakes to awaken the entire butter bath  The crispy pillows of gnocchi are enveloped in the sauce then finished with a generous flurry of freshly shaved Parmesan cheese. 

This gnocchi recipe is rich and decadent yet somehow light and airy, soft and crispy, elegant and cozy, easy and gourmet all at the same time.  It’s a spectacular play of opposites.  And I’m here for it.  

Now, let’s gnocchi!

I’m going to go into more detail about what is gnocchi, gnocchi sauce, how to cook gnocchi, etc. below or you can use the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the page to skip straight tothe recipe.

What is gnocchi?

Gnocchi are small dumplings that are light, soft and slightly chewy with a delicate savory flavor. Gnocchi are made with a variety of ingredients but for this gnocchi recipe, we are going to use potato gnocchi.  Potato gnocchi are, in essence, cooked potatoes mashed and combined with flour to create a dough that’s rolled out and cut into small pieces then pressed with a fork to create ridges to hold sauce.

Gnocchi are a fabulous alternative to pasta and can be served with similar sauces such as basil pesto, Bolognese, alla vodka and of course brown butter sage sauce! Gnocchi can be boiled or simmered for plump, ultra soft gnocchi through and through like in my Italian Sausage Gnocchi Soup and Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup or they can be boiled then baked in a sauce or boiled then pan-fried like in this recipe.

Facts about Gnocchi

  • How to pronounce gnocchi:  Gnocchi is one of the most mispronounced foods in America along with gyro, pho and acai.  The correct pronunciation of gnocchi is nyawk-kee.
  • What does gnocchi translate to?  The plural form of gnocchi in Italian is gnocco, meaning dumpling, which literally translates to “lump” in English.  Gnoccho is derived from the Italian word nocchio, meaning “knot (in wood)” or from nocca meaning knuckle.   
  • What are gnocchi made of? Like many dishes with a long history, there are many variations in recipes across different regions. For example, potato gnocchi are made of flour, eggs and mashed potatoes. The Tuscan malfatti are made of flour, ricotta, and spinach without potatoes. 
  • Is gnocchi gluten Free? No, traditionally gnocchi is not gluten free because it contains flour.  You should be able to find gluten free gnocchi at certain specialty stores such as Whole foods.  
  • Is gnocchi pasta or potato? Gnocchi is often confused for pasta because it is Italian and served with a variety of pasta sauces.  However, gnocchi is actually a dumpling made out of potatoes, flour and egg and not a pasta.
  • What does gnocchi taste like?  Properly cooked gnocchi are light, soft and airy, and not dense, heavy or mushy. Gnocchi are savory and delicate in flavor with a hint of potato rather than an overwhelming potato flavor, making them the perfect vehicle for flavorful sauces. 

What kind of gnocchi to use?

This recipe works best with uncooked, shelf-stable gnocchi that you can find in the dry pasta aisle. Fresh or homemade gnocchi will not work as well because they are more delicate and can fall apart.  I’m not saying fresh gnocchi can’t work, but I would hate for your gnocchi to turn to mush!

gnocchi with sauce in a bowl with sage

Best sauce for Gnocchi

Gnocchi is fabulous in practically any sauce you throw at it. For crispy gnocchi, I prefer a sauce that doesn’t overshadow the texture like this brown butter sage sauce or pesto.  For tender gnocchi, toss it in more robust sauces such as Bolognese, marinara, tomato cream sauce, vodka cream sauce or Alfredo. 

Quick Dinner Tip: You can make a super quick dinner out of store-bought gnocchi and your favorite store-bought pasta sauce. Rao’s is by far my favorite brand of pasta sauce and comes in all sorts of varieties such as tomato basil, arrabiata, roasted garlic sauce, and roasted garlic Alfredo. 

Now, let’s talk seductive brown butter sauce…

Brown Butter Gnocchi Sauce

Brown butter, or beurre noisette in French, translates to hazelnut butter, named for its rich, nutty, caramel flavor.  It’s a flavor weapon known for its nutty aroma and speckled amber hue that literally cooks in minutes.  It is the best sauce for toasted gnocchi that’s pillowy on the inside and crunchy on the outside because it gently coats the gnocchi and infuses it with rich, complex flavor without making it soggy.  In short, it’s simply irresistible. 

If you’re intimidated by the phase “brown butter” – don’t be, it couldn’t be any easier!  Brown butter sauce is made by melting butter and swirling the pan occasionally until the foaming subsides.  The science behind this easy gnocchi sauce is that butter is made of protein, fat and water. Cooking the butter until the water evaporates leaves the butterfat and milk protein behind to continue cooking. As the proteins cook, you will notice a change of flavor, aroma, and color.

Brown butter gnocchi sauce is fabulous on its own but you can dress it up further by infusing the sauce with herbs.  Sage is particularly divine with brown butter and laces the sauce with its herbal fragrance and hints of mint and lemon and fry up crispy in the butter! The sauce is further bolstered by basil, oregano, thyme, garlic and red pepper flakes, brightened by fresh lemon juice and grounded by salty Parmesan.  The resulting gnocchi sauce elevates already luscious brown butter to a delicately explosive 5-star flavor bomb. 

What’s in Gnocchi Sauce?

In this easy gnocchi recipe, gnocchi are first boiled and then sautéed in a skillet. It’s coated in the most delicious brown butter sage sauce — and topped with a shaved Parmesan, of course!  Here’s what you’ll need for this skillet gnocchi recipe: 

  • Butter: Please use unsalted butter!  Unsalted butter is optimal for several reasons. First, unsalted butter allows you to easily control the salt in the gnocchi sauce.  Second, salted butter tends to foam up more, which makes it difficult to discern the true color of the butter as it’s browning. Third, unsalted butter is fresher because it doesn’t contain salt which acts as a preservative so it has a shorter shelf life at the grocery store.
  • Red pepper flakes: Add a kick of heat to the brown butter sage sauce. You need that hint of spice to cut through the rich butter and herby sage.  But don’t worry, they won’t make your gnocchi recipe taste spicy, just flavorful.
  • Herbs: Fresh sage is the star of the gnocchi sauce recipe with fresh basil, thyme, and oregano rounding things out. The sauce is so simple that it really benefits from fresh herbs as opposed to dried herbs – so go fresh if you can!  Of course, I know fresh herbs aren’t always convenient so I’ve included dried herb substitutions as well.  As a general rule, you need ⅓ less dried herbs as fresh herbs. You can also use a mixture of fresh and dried basil, thyme, and oregano, so long as the sage is fresh.  
  • Lemon: You’ll need the juice and zest of one lemon. The acid from the lemon juice enlivens the brown butter sauce and prevents it from tasting too rich and heavy.  You can use more or less lemon zest depending on how dominant you want the lemon flavor.  
  • Garlic: I used two cloves of garlic, but feel free to add more if you’re a garlic lover! 
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese is a must!  It is shaved directly into the sauce and then as a garnish.  To create thin ribbons of Parmesan, shave it with your carrot peeler.
top view of gnocchi recipe with sauce in a bowl with a gold spoon

How to Make Gnocchi in Brown Butter Sauce

  • Boil the gnocchi: Add the gnocchi to a pot of boiling water that’s been seasoned generously with salt. Cook just until the gnocchi float to the top of the water. This should be about 1 minute less than the package directions – only about two minutes. The potato gnocchi will finish cooking when we pan fry them. After you skim the gnocchi from the pot, drain, then gently toss with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent them from sticking together.
  • Toast the gnocchi: Once the gnocchi have been poached, it’s time to crisp the tender morsels up in a skillet.  This adds tantalizing texture that plain boiled gnocchi are missing!  Simply melt some butter in a nonstick skillet.  Add the gnocchi to the pan in a single layer so they each come in contact with the sizzling butter, this means you’ll have to cook the gnocchi in batches. Sear the gnocchi until each side is golden and crispy.
a collage showing how to make gnocchi by first boiling in water then toasting in a skillet until crispy
  • How to make gnocchi brown butter sauce:  You’ll want to make the brown butter sauce in a light bottomed skillet, so you may need to swap pans for the sauce if your nonstick skillet is black. To the skillet, melt the butter, whisking constantly – never stop whisking when making brown butter sauce! Once melted, add the fresh sage and red pepper flakes.  The butter will sizzle and foam as the water in the butter is evaporating. As this subsides, you should no longer hear any popping from the butter because the water in the butter has evaporated.  Now the protein in the butter can begin browning which means your butter is almost done. At this point, you’ll start to see little golden flecks on the bottom of the pan and the butter will begin to smell nutty.  Continue to whisk constantly so those milk proteins cook evenly and don’t burn while the rest of the butter darkens.  As soon as the butter is golden brown, remove it from the heat.
  • Finish the gnocchi sauce: Add the remaining basil, oregano, thyme, garlic, lemon juice, and zest to the browned butter. Whisk off heat for another 30 seconds.
a 4 picture collage showing how to make gnocchi sauce by 1) melting butter in a white skillet with sage leaves, 2) browning butter, 3) adding fresh herbs, lemon juice and lemon zest, 4) stirring the gnocchi sauce together until evenly combined
  • Assemble the gnocchi: Stir the crispy gnocchi and Parmesan into the brown butter sage sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as needed, then dig in!
showing how to make gnocchi recipe by tossing gnocchi in sauce and adding shaved Parmesan
showing how to make gnocchi recipe by tossing gnocchi with sauce in a skillet until combined

Tips for Making Gnocchi Recipe

  • Prep ahead: Have all your gnocchi sauce ingredients ready to go because one you start browning that butter, you are minutes away!
  • Use fresh herbs: If possible, please splurge on fresh herbs for this gnocchi recipe. You can use a mixture of dried and fresh herbs, of course, but fresh is best in my opinion, especially the sage.  Its earthy and delicate quality is a defining feature of this dish.
  • How to purchase and store fresh sage:  Look for fresh sage that is aromatic and lively, free from soft spots and dry edges.  To store fresh sage, remove the leaves from the stems, wrap them in a paper towel and place in a resealable plastic bag in the fridge; use within four to five days.  Fresh leaves can also be placed in a container and covered in olive oil and stored for about three weeks in the refrigerator.  Either method will work for this recipe.
  • Use unsalted butter: This recipe calls for a lot of butter. As such, I recommend using unsalted butter so that the dish doesn’t taste too salty.  Secondly, salted butter tends to foam up more, which makes it difficult to discern the true color of the butter as it’s browning.
  • Cut butter for gnocchi sauce:  Butter will take longer to brown if it’s thrown in as a whole stick, but more importantly, it can brown unevenly.  Some of the butter can start to burn while the rest is still melting. Chop the butter into 1-inch pieces and your problem is solved!
  • Boil and toast gnocchi: You must complete both steps – if you attempt to just pan fry the gnocchi without boiling, the outsides will be crispy but the insides will be raw.
  • Don’t overcook the gnocchi: Remove the gnocchi as soon as they float to the top because they will continue to cook in the skillet.
  • Sear gnocchi until golden in batches: To achieve the crispiest gnocchi, give the dumplings breathing room in the skillet.  Don’t disturb them while they sear until the bottom is golden brown and then use tongs turn them over.
  • Use a light-colored pan:  A light bottomed pan allows you to easily spot exactly when the butter has browned and before it burns.  If you don’t have a stainless steel or light bottom skillet, you can use a light-colored cast iron pan or even Dutch oven if that’s all you have.
  • Whisk the butter constantly while it browns: It’s important that you continually whisk the butter at all stages of cooking because those golden-brown bits can go from perfectly golden brown to burnt in a matter of seconds.  Once the butter starts to smell caramelized and nutty, remove it from the heat so it doesn’t continue to cook.
  • Don’t go too dark with the brown butter sauce:  We are going more medium golden-brown butter than dark brown butter.  Continue to whisk until the butter reaches a couple shades above your desired degree of darkness because it will continue to cook when we add the fresh herbs.  
  • Don’t toss the brown solids at the bottom of the pan: The browned milk solids from the brown butter are flavor gold!  They are actually where most of the flavor in browned butter comes from, so you definitely want to leave those in and scrape them all from the pan.
  • Don’t try and salvage burnt brown butter:   If you burn the butter, you MUST start over with the gnocchi sauce because burnt butter is incredibly bitter and can’t be saved. Dispose of the butter, wipe the skillet clean and start again, decreasing the heat and/or time. 
  • Thoroughly coat the gnocchi in the sauce:  Once you add the gnocchi and Parmesan, get in there with your spatula and gently but thoroughly give it a good stir to ensure the gnocchi is fully coated in the sauce before serving.  Don’t worry about the Parmesan breaking -that just means more evenly distributed flavor!

Gnocchi Recipe Variations 

The toasted gnocchi can truly be dressed up in innumerable ways.  Here are just a few:

  • Halve the recipe. Two pounds of gnocchi might sound like a lot, but it’s not the same as two pounds of pasta because gnocchi is denser (so it takes less gnocchi to make 2 pounds). The gnocchi in this recipe is also bathed in a light sauce so it goes down easy! Still, if you would like to halve the recipe, simply halve all of the ingredients.
  • Add Protein:  Every protein loves a brown butter bath!  Toss in sautéed chicken, shrimp, scallops, lobster, pork, Italian sausage or steak.  This gnocchi recipe would be especially fabulous with garlic butter pork tenderloin and lemon garlic shrimp.  If adding protein, either halve the gnocchi or double the sauce recipe to accommodate the extra volume.
  • Add vegetables: Brown butter pairs particularly well with root vegetables such as butternut squash and sweet potatoes but you can add anything!  For extra caramelized goodness, go for roasted vegetables or even leftover roasted veggies such as roasted asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. You can also add any sautéed vegetables you wish such as zucchini, asparagus, peas or spinach. I would sauté them in the skillet after you sear the gnocchi.
  • Add mushrooms:  Brown butter pairs particularly well with chanterelle mushrooms but they are pricey so cremini mushrooms will also impart that umami blast. For best results, pan fry the mushrooms in plenty of butter and olive oil in a single layer until crispy on each side.
  • Nuts:  Toasted pine nuts, almonds or walnuts would enhance the nuttiness and crunch.  Toasted panko breadcrumbs would also be tasty.
  • Garlic: If you would like a more garlic forward sauce, feel free to add more.
  • Swap the herbs:  You can swap the herbs for fresh rosemary and/or chives.  You can also play with the volume of herbs –double the basil and omit the oregano for example.
  • Make it spicier: If you want the brown butter sauce to have more of a kick to it, add an extra pinch of red pepper flakes. 
  • Make it lemony: For a stronger lemon flavor, add extra lemon juice or lemon zest to the sauce.
  • Make it gluten-free: For a gluten-free gnocchi recipe, simply use certified gluten-free gnocchi. 
showing how to serve gnocchi sauce recipe by garnishing with shaved Parmesan

Can I Prep Gnocchi in Advance? 

This gnocchi in brown butter sage sauce is best enjoyed fresh because the gnocchi loses its crispness in the fridge. You can, however, make the brown butter sauce in advance. Transfer it to a shallow dish to cool completely before transferring it to a glass container—a mason jar works well. It should keep in the fridge for three days.  Reheat over low so you don’t burn the sauce. You may need to amp up the sauce as some of the flavors will mellow after being chilled.

How to Store and Reheat Gnocchi 

  • Storage:  Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
  • Reheat:  I recommend reheating leftover gnocchi in a skillet over medium heat. This will crisp the gnocchi up slightly without making it rubbery like the microwave can.

Can I Freeze Gnocchi in Brown Butter Sauce? 

No, the brown butter sage sauce will split once frozen and can ruin the texture of the dish. 

How to serve gnocchi

Gnocchi in brown butter sauce pairs well with a green salad, roasted veggies, fruit, and more! Here are some of my favorite gnocchi main and side dishes to get you started:

Gnocchi Questions and Answers

  • How Do you Cook Packaged Gnocchi?  Gnocchi is cooked in a pot of boiling water just like pasta.  Fill a large pot halfway full of water and bring it to a boil.  Once the water boils, heavily salt the water and add the gnocchi and cook until they float – see why below! 
  • Why Do Gnocchi Float?  When the gnocchi is first added to the water, it weighs more than water, so it sinks. As the dumplings cook, the water inside starts to evaporate but the steam can’t escape because the outside is already cooked. This causes the trapped steam to expand the overall size of the gnocchi which increases its volume and therefore decreases its density.  It finally floats when its density is less than water. 
  • How Long to Cook Gnocchi? Gnocchi only need two to three minutes to cook.  You’ll know they’re finished cooking when the dumplings float to the top of the boiling water.  From there, you can add them straight into a sauce or pan fry with a little butter to get the outsides nice and crispy like we are in this recipe. When also toasting gnocchi, cook them 1 minute less than the package instructions.
  • Why Are my Gnocchi Mushy?  If using store-bought gnocchi, then simmering the dumplings for too long in water can cause them to be mushy.  Homemade gnocchi can become mushy if the potatoes are waterlogged which can occur from imperfections in the skin when boiling which lets water in.  For this gnocchi recipe, I recommend shelf-stabilized gnocchi because it’s less likely to become mushy when double cooked. 
  • Can Gnocchi be Made Ahead of Time?  If you go to all the trouble to make gnocchi from scratch, at least make a bigger batch and store them in the freezer so it’s ready at your fingertips.  To freeze homemade gnocchi, line it on a nonstick mat or parchment paper on a baking sheet so it’s not touching. Place it in the freezer to flash freeze for 2 hours; this prevents the gnocchi from sticking together later.  Transfer solid gnocchi to a freezer bag, squeeze out excess air and freeze for up to one month.
  • Can Gnocchi Be Cooked from Frozen?  Yes, gnocchi should not be thawed before cooking or it can become mushy. Instead, add frozen gnocchi directly to the boiling water, drain, then either toss in oil and pan fry or pat dry and add to your favorite sauce.

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up close of gnocchi recipe showing how crispy it is

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Gnocchi in Brown Butter Herb Sauce

This gnocchi recipe with lemony brown butter sage sauce elevates store-bought gnocchi to the next level and is a breeze to make! This easy yet elegant dinner rivals any restaurant – perfect for special occasions like Valentine’s Day or even busy weeknights surrounded by family. To make this recipe, the potato gnocchi are pan seared until crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside then drenched in an intoxicating nutty, garlic, brown butter sage sauce spiked with lemon and fresh Parmesan. It’s heavenly! Serve this quick-cooking gnocchi and sauce with a simple green salad or roasted butternut squash along with garlic bread and dinner is served!
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 16 oz. pkgs. shelf stable gnocchi
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided

Brown Butter Herb Sauce

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 25 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsps EACH chopped fresh basil, oregano or scant ½ tsp dried
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme or ¼ tsp dried
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 oz. shaved Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Toasted Gnocchi

  • Cook the gnocchi in a large pot of salted boiling water just until they float to the top, about 2 minutes. This should be about 1 minute less than the package directions. Drain the gnocchi and gently toss with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent them from sticking together.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add half the gnocchi in a single layer and cook each side until golden and crispy, turning with tongs. Remove to paper towels. Repeat with remaining gnocchi.

Brown Butter Herb Sauce:

  • To the same nonstick skillet (if it has a light bottom) or a large sauté pan with a light bottom (such as a stainless steel pan), melt the butter over medium heat, whisking constantly. Once melted, add sage leaves and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook and whisk for 2-3 minutes until you see brown bits on the bottom of the pan, the butter has turned a light brown color and it smells nutty.
  • Remove from heat and add basil, oregano, thyme, garlic, lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk off heat for another 30 seconds. Season with 1/8-¼ teaspoon salt and pepper (you can start with less and add more after you add the Parmesan).
  • Add gnocchi and Parmesan and stir to evenly coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

Recipe Tips for Success

  • Gluten free: Use your favorite gluten free gnocchi.  Trader Joe’s has a great gluten free cauliflower gnocchi.
  • Halve the recipe: Two pounds of gnocchi might sound like a lot, but it’s not the same as two pounds of pasta because gnocchi is denser (so it takes less gnocchi to make 2 pounds). The gnocchi in this recipe is also bathed in a light sauce so it goes down easy! Still, if you would like to halve the recipe, simply halve all of the ingredients.
  • Gnocchi: This recipe works best with uncooked, shelf-stable gnocchi that you can find in the dry pasta aisle. Fresh or homemade gnocchi will not work as well because they are more delicate and can fall apart.  I’m not saying fresh gnocchi can’t work, but I would hate for your gnocchi to turn to mush!
  • Use unsalted butter! Unsalted butter allows you to control the salt in the recipe otherwise it may be too salty with all that butter!  Secondly, salted butter tends to foam up more, which makes it difficult to discern the true color of the butter as it’s browning.
  • Use fresh herbs: If possible, please splurge on fresh herbs for this gnocchi recipe. You can use a mixture of dried and fresh herbs, of course, but fresh is best in my opinion, especially the sage.  Its earthy and delicate quality is a defining feature of this dish. To store fresh sage, remove the leaves from the stems, wrap them in a paper towel and place in a resealable plastic bag in the fridge; use within four to five days.  Fresh leaves can also be placed in a container and covered in olive oil and stored for about three weeks in the refrigerator.  Either method will work for this recipe.
  • Lemon: You can use more or less lemon juice and zest depending on how dominant you want the lemon flavor.
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese is a must!  To create thin ribbons of Parmesan, shave it with your carrot peeler.
  • Recipe variations:  See post for recipe ideas such as adding protein, veggies and nuts.
  • Prep ahead: Have all your gnocchi sauce ingredients ready to go because one you start browning that butter, you are minutes away!
  • Use a light-colored pan:  A light bottomed pan allows you to easily spot exactly when the butter has browned and before it burns.  If you don’t have a stainless steel or light bottom skillet, you can use a light-colored cast iron pan or even Dutch oven if that’s all you have.
  • Whisk the butter constantly while it browns: It’s important that you continually whisk the butter at all stages of cooking because those golden-brown bits can go from perfectly golden brown to burnt in a matter of seconds.  Once the butter starts to smell caramelized and nutty, remove it from the heat so it doesn’t continue to cook.
  • Don’t go too dark with the brown butter sauce:  We are going more medium golden-brown butter than dark brown butter.  Continue to whisk until the butter reaches a shades above your desired degree of darkness because it will continue to cook when we add the fresh herbs.
  • Don’t try and salvage burnt brown butter:   If you burn the butter, you MUST start over with the gnocchi sauce because burnt butter is incredibly bitter and can’t be saved. Dispose of the butter, wipe the skillet clean and start again, decreasing the heat and/or time.
  • Thoroughly coat the gnocchi in the sauce:  Once you add the gnocchi and Parmesan, get in there with your spatula and gently but thoroughly give it a good stir to ensure the gnocchi is fully coated in the sauce before serving.  Don’t worry about the Parmesan breaking -that just means more evenly distributed flavor!

How to Store and Reheat Gnocchi 

  • Storage:  Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
  • Reheat:  I recommend reheating leftover gnocchi in a skillet over medium heat. This will crisp the gnocchi up slightly without making it rubbery like the microwave can.

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4 Comments

  1. Ramya says

    will be making this and garlic bread with few subs i love garlic bread soooooooo much can i use olive oil instead as butter and ghee makes me vomit Thanks Ramya

    • Jen says

      Hi Ramya, I would skip the brown butter sauce if you don’t like butter. Instead, I would try an olive oil based sauce with the toasted gnocchi like pesto.

  2. Alyse says

    Looks so awesome! I made this gluten free with the cauliflower gnocchi from trader joes. It’s so good!!

    • Jen says

      YAY! I’m so pleased you were able to make it gluten free, thanks Alyse!

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