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Lunch / Dinner

Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sauce

For perfect, pillowy potato dumplings, look no further. Italian for dumplings, gnocchi [NYOH-kee] might be better described as a cross between pasta and dumplings. And while they’re made from any number of ingredients — from cornmeal to ricotta — the most famous are made from potatoes.

Good ones should be light, soft, and delicate. To achieve this, you want to use as little flour as possible. A scale will help you find the right balance of potatoes to flour. And use starchy, low-moisture russets, and bake, don’t boil them. This deepens their flavor and minimizes excess moisture. Then slice and rice the potatoes while they’re still hot. This ensures that the steam escapes, rather than it being absorbed. Drier potatoes mean you need less flour, making for more tender gnocchi.

Also, adding egg yolks creates a slightly firmer dough (which means it’s easier to work with). But avoid overworking the dough and developing too much gluten, this toughens gnocchi. Then just roll, cook, and sauce for a new way to enjoy potatoes.


4 servings

Total Time

about 40 minutes + baking

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Test Kitchen Tips

To make ahead, freeze shaped gnocchi, covered, in a single layer on prepared baking sheets. Cook frozen gnocchi, as directed, possibly 1–2 minutes more.

BROWN BUTTER SAUCE: Melt 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter in a skillet over medium heat, swirling, until it smells nutty and brown flecks appear. Off heat, add a squeeze of lemon juice and salt to taste; cover sauce to keep warm.


Preheat oven to 450°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and liberally dust with flour.

Bake potatoes directly on rack until fork-tender and skins are crisp, about 1 hour. Immediately halve potatoes and scoop out flesh.

Press 20 oz. (1¼ lb.) potatoes through a ricer fitted with the finest disk onto a clean work surface.

Sift ½ cup flour evenly over potatoes; drizzle with yolks, and sprinkle ¼ cup Parmesan, salt, pepper, and nutmeg on top, then repeatedly cut into potatoes using a bench knife until mixture forms a fairly uniform crumble.

Press potato mixture into a rough ball using a bench knife; sift remaining ¼ cup flour on top and gently fold and press until a smooth, slightly sticky, uniform dough comes together.

Form dough into a log and liberally dust with flour. Clean work surface then liberally dust with flour.

Cut dough into 6–8 equal pieces; roll each into a ½-inch-thick rope and dust with flour. Cut ropes into ¾–1-inch lengths, dust with flour.

Shape gnocchi by rolling each dough piece, cut sides down, against tines of a fork with thumb to create ridges and indentation. Dust gnocchi with flour, then transfer to prepared baking sheets.

Slide half the gnocchi into a pot of moderately boiling salted water using parchment paper as a sling.

Cook gnocchi until they float and are cooked through, about 2 minutes.

Transfer gnocchi, using a spider or slotted spoon, to skillet with half the Brown Butter Sauce (see Test Kitchen Tips); gently toss to coat. Serve gnocchi immediately; top servings with Parmesan and sage. Repeat cooking remaining half of gnocchi; toss with remaining half of sauce.


For the perfect potato-to-flour ratio, be sure to weigh your flour and your potatoes prior to ricing.


To avoid overworking the dough, sift flour evenly over potatoes, then cut it in with a bench knife.


Gently fold and press dough, instead of stretching as you would when kneading bread.


When a smooth, cohesive dough forms, shape into a log. It should look a bit like cookie dough when cut.


Once gnocchi float to the surface, cook them until they have no raw flour core, about 20 seconds more.

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