Pan fried gnocchi with roast pumpkin in brown butter with crispy sage and sticky balsamic. It's a dreamy combination for fall and will have you feeling all the cosy feels. It really has it all, golden pan fried gnocchi with perfectly roasted pumpkin pieces all tied together with a foamy brown butter. The balsamic glaze adds a sweet note that contrasts the other ingredients and finishes the dish perfectly.
This dish is seriously delicious, I can't wait for you to try it. I had a mission to turn my roast pumpkin agnolotti into an easier dish to recreate if you don't feel like a huge project. Using my homemade potato gnocchi, this has simple elements that all work so perfectly together.
Feel free to use store bought gnocchi! The base is my crispy gnocchi in brown butter with the addition of slightly charred roast pumpkin and blobs of balsamic.
Gnocchi - If you feel like making it from scratch then use my potato gnocchi recipe, it's really easy and super fun! Definitely use store bought to make it even easier.
Pumpkin - Use butternut or whatever variety you prefer to roast. I like to roast until the pieces are starting to char at the edges. It adds such a nice smokey note.
Butter - I generally use unsalted butter so I can season it myself but salted will be fine.
Sage - I allow 4 - 5 (or more if you like) leaves per person.
Balsamic glaze - This is a sweetened reduced balsamic vinegar and is readily available at supermarkets. It's thick and perfect for blobbing on pasta dishes.
How to make potato gnocchi
You can check out my full guide on how to make easy homemade potato gnocchi. It's a really easy process and apart from a potato ricer (which is quite key) it doesn't need any specialty equipment.
Why I love pan fried gnocchi
Gnocchi is really soft when cooked, which is lovely as it melts in the mouth. I prefer adding a bit of a textural contrast by pan frying it after boiling. It creates a crispy golden exterior which contrasts so perfectly with the fluffy inside.
How to pan fry gnocchi
You might think you could add the gnocchi to the brown butter and it will crisp up in that but it actually needs longer. This is the reason you boil and pan fry the gnocchi BEFORE making the brown butter.
- Boil the gnocchi in well salted boiling water. Do it in a couple of batches if cooking for four people.
- When the gnocchi has floated to the top, give it another 30 seconds then pull them out. I like to use a spider strainer for this so I can keep the water boiling for more batches.
- Place them on a tray while you finish the rest and heat up the oil to fry.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a little knob of butter in a fry pan over medium - high heat.
- Fry the gnocchi for 5 - 6 minutes, turning often until golden and crisp on the outside.
- Turn the heat down if they get dark too quick.
- You could make the brown butter at the same time so they are ready together.
What is brown butter?
It's simple! Brown butter is the result of melting butter until the milk solids in the butter seperate and brown. It also evaporates some of the water so you'll often end up with less than you started with. It's a really simple process and creates a rich, nutty taste that is PERFECT for pasta and gnocchi! Most commonly you might have browned butter when baking (The Cloudy Kitchen Brown Butter Choc Chip Cookies are a staple in my house). There are very clear stages when browning butter which you will get to know really well.
Firstly the butter will melt and then start to sizzle. It will get quite loud and crackly with bigger bubbles. Then it will quieten down considerably and that is when the top starts to foam. This is the stage you need to keep a really good eye on it. It's often quite hard to see what is going on under all that foam so swirl the pan or use a spatula to check those brown bits aren't getting too dark!
How to make the foamy brown butter
- Cut your butter into cubes so it melts evenly. Pick your sage leaves, depending on the size of the leaves, I like to allow 6 - 8 per person.
- Melt the butter in a frypan over medium heat and when it just starts to sizzle, throw your sage leaves in.
- Continue cooking the butter, swirling the pan so it cooks evenly.
- The butter will create big bubbles and crackle quite loudly. Feel free to turn the heat down if you think it is cooking too quickly.
- The bubbles and noise will subside and then it will start to foam on the top.
- Keep swirling the pan so you can see what is going on under the foam. We are looking for the specks on the bottom to be brown NOT black. Keep in mind it will continue to cook when you take it off the heat.
- I find the butter stays the foamiest when you spoon it over the gnocchi and pumpkin on the plates. You can add the gnocchi and pumpkin into the butter too.
Tips for success
Timing any pasta and sauce to be ready at the same time is tricky, it takes a bit of practice. For this dish this is what I tend to do:
- Roast the pumpkin.
- When pumpkin is about half way through I start to boil the gnocchi.
- Pan fry the gnocchi.
- When on last batch of pan frying gnocchi I start the butter sauce in another fry pan.
- You can keep gnocchi and pumpkin in oven, even turned off to stay warm if the sauce isn't quite ready.
Heat your plates - This is ALWAYS one of my biggest tips. Pasta gets cold quick so why put it on a stone cold plate?! Have your plates in a warm oven while you cook.
Seasoning - Pasta (and gnocchi) love salt so don't be afraid to season.
In my opinion no. Boil them in a couple of batches and keep on a tray until all are ready to be fried.
You can use either. The only reason I tend to favour unsalted is so I can control the seasoning myself. If there is a salted butter you love, go for it!
Look, I have made A LOT of brown butter in my time so it's practice and knowing the exact right heat. It will be delicious foamy or not! I find it stays foamier if you don't add the gnocchi directly to it. So spoon it over top instead.
Want some other recipes to try?
If you loved this pan fried gnocchi dish then check out my recipe section for lots more delicious ideas. If you loved the flavour combination then try the dish that inspired it, my Roast Pumpkin Agnolotti. It's a bit of a project but worth it! Another pumpkiny dish is my Creamy Pumpkin Pasta or for something totally different my Creamy Leek Pasta is one of my favourites.
Made this recipe and loved it?
I would love love LOVE if you could leave me a review down below and let me know what you thought! I love to hear any changes or adaptions you have made too. Also if you put a photo on instagram, please tag me so I can see, it makes my day!Print