Pan fried gnocchi – crispy, golden and buttery on the outside, soft on the inside, tossed with roasted pumpkin and spinach. This is one of my favourite ways to make gnocchi without blowing my carb meter and making a dreamy buttery sauce without using tons of butter!
Pan Fried Gnocchi
I absolutely adore gnocchi. If I go to an Italian restaurant, chances are I’ll order gnocchi.
I put it above handmade pasta. That’s how much I love it.
And up until maybe a year ago, I was a total gnocchi snob. I would only ever have fresh or homemade gnocchi. Scarred from my uni days when I made store bought gnocchi and it was so chewy and tasteless.
But in the years that have passed, I must say that packaged gnocchi has come a long way and now I happily use packaged gnocchi!
This gnocchi is served with a butter sauce which is a classic sauce for gnocchi.
What does Gnocchi taste like?
Gnocchi is a potato flour dumpling, so it tastes like a cross between pasta and mashed potato. It’s soft on the inside, and when pan fried like in this recipe, it’s crispy on the outside.
Plain gnocchi, like pasta, does not actually have much flavour in itself. So it’s used with sauces and ideal for add-ins, like pumpkin and spinach which is what I’m using here.
Filling out Gnocchi with Pumpkin
So nowadays, armed with the convenience of store bought gnocchi, the only thing that holds me back from a weekly gnocchi fix is that it’s so high in carbs.
250g/8oz of gnocchi has 90g of carbs, 400 calories. And it’s super dense so it’s only about 1 cup in volume which isn’t enough for a meal (at least, not for me!)
Add a sauce and the calorie count starts hiking up quite considerably….
So to “lighten” it up and fill it out more, I like to add roasted pumpkin which has only 20g of carbs and 85 calories per 250g/8oz, almost 1/4 of gnocchi!
Plus roasted pumpkin is so juicy, it provides more “wetness” to this dish instead of adding more butter.
Adding roasting pumpkin adds flavour as well as filling out the gnocchi dish to make it a filling meal
Butter sauce for Gnocchi
I think a simple butter sauce is the best sauce for gnocchi. But you don’t need tons of butter! If you just make this with loads of butter for the sauce, it’s far too rich.
So the way to make a butter sauce is to add some of the water used to cook the gnocchi. This water is starchy, and when tossed with the butter sauce, the starch in the water reacts with the butter to thicken the water and creates a glossy butter sauce.
It’s how a real proper Alfredo is made, the way restaurants make it, without using tons of cream. 🙂
So I use that same technique to make the butter sauce for this Pan Fried Gnocchi too. So every piece of golden crispy gnocchi is coated in a buttery sauce that actually clings to the gnocchi rather than pooling in the base of the bowl.
You will love this, I promise! Yes it’s indulgent, and yes it’s still carb heavy, but it is lighter than making it without pumpkin. Try this with fresh garden salad on the side, tossed with Balsamic or Italian dressing! – Nagi x
Easiest homemade gnocchi ever – Ricotta Gnocchi
Easy homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage Butter Sauce
Malfatti – Cousin of the gnocchi, made with spinach and ricotta
And some cosy risottos!
Just because when I think of gnocchi, for some reason there’s always a passing thought of whether to make risotto instead…
Pan Fried Gnocchi with Pumpkin & Spinach
- 500g/1lb pumpkin, cut into 2cm / 4/5" pieces
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 350g/12oz gnocchi, store bought (Note 1)
- 45g / 3 tbsp butter, salted (unsalted also ok, just add more salt)
- 1 garlic clove (large), minced
- 80g / 2.5oz baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 tsp fresh sage, finely sliced
- Salt & pepper
- Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Preheat oven to 200C/390F. Place pumpkin in a large bowl, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat, spread out on tray and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, turning once, until golden and soft inside. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add a good pinch of salt. Cook gnocchi according to packet directions, or until gnocchi pops to the surface of the water (see video). SCOOP OUT a large mug of cooking water, then drain gnocchi.
- Place butter in a skillet then put on the stove over medium high heat. Once it foams, add gnocchi immediately. Stir, turn up the heat to high, then leave to cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add garlic and sage, then stir / toss for no longer than 1 1/2 minutes (i.e. 2 minutes in total - see note 2) until gnocchi is golden on both sides.
- Add about 3/4 cup of gnocchi cooking water and toss - the water will evaporate quickly and transform into a sauce.
- Then add the pumpkin, spinach and about 1/4 cup of cooking water. Stir quickly , then season with salt and pepper. Toss then serve immediately with freshly grated parmesan.
- I use both refrigerated and non refrigerated store bought gnocchi. I don't have a favourite brand, but the ones you get from Italian delis are extra great!
- If you pan fry gnocchi for too long, it becomes chewy inside which is not very nice! That's why I limit the pan frying to 2 minutes.
- Pan Fried Gnocchi with Pumpkin and Spinach nutrition per serving.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Pan Fried Gnocchi with Pumpkin & Spinach recipe video!
LIFE OF DOZER
Whenever you see a photo of a table laden with food like the one above the recipe card, just know that this fur ball is sitting right underneath it. Always.