Thyme and Brown Butter Gnocchi
Thyme and Brown Butter Gnocchi is a versatile, filling, and self indulgent dish that makes you want “just five more of those gnocchi.” It is a feel good food that has a wonderful texture and even better flavour.
I think Thyme and Brown Butter Gnocchi is an amazing accompaniment to Italian Beef Stew. It would also go well with Bruschetta Baked Three Cheese Chicken. Originally, I was searching around for a gnocchi recipe and came across one from Tasting Table that was delicious. This spin on it is inspired by Tasting Table’s Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Lemon Ricotta. Because I was wanting to serve this gnocchi with my Italian Beef Stew, I needed to change it. I didn’t want the lemon flavour or the sweetness of the sweet potatoes so I took a few liberties with it and spun it a little more mildly. Honestly though, I love the tartness of the lemon ricotta in the original Tasting Table recipe especially with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.
I still started by preheating my oven to 350F so that I could bake my white potatoes for about an hour or until easily pierced by a fork. If the potatoes aren’t all the same size, pull them out as they cook through.
Bake, Peel and Rice the Potatoes
Once all the potatoes are cooked through, I put on my trusty Ove Glove (yes, there is one person who bought an Ove Glove!) If you want to be cool like me, you can buy one from Amazon off the link on the side. I find it works really well to hold the hot potato while I peel it. Once I have peeled all the potatoes, I put them through my potato ricer (link on the side bar) into a big bowl. I actually rice the potatoes twice, once through the coarse blade and then through the fine blade. I think this makes the gnocchi super light and fluffy.
Mix the Gnocchi Dough
Once I have completed the potato ricing, I add the ricotta, eggs, flour and salt and pepper. I use my hands to bring the dough together as I think the dough comes together faster with your hands than using a utensil. I think the key to good gnocchi is to handle it as little as you can get away with and to use as little flour as you can get away with. The recipe will call for 2 cups of flour but I regularly use 1 3/4 and the last time, got away with 1 1/2 cups. The dough needs to stay together but the more flour you add, the tougher it will be. Fine line.
Roll the Gnocchi Dough.
Once I am happy with my dough, I flour a clean section of my counter top. This is the part that is super fun because I can watch my husband’s brain ooze out his ears as he watches me spread flour all over the counter. Invariably, some falls on the floor and well…. if any of you have a partner who is, shall we say, a bit on the clean freak side, you can visualize I am sure.
Once I have my counter prepared, I section the dough in manageable sizes – maybe into 4 or 6 hunks. Then I take each hunk (technical cooking term), and roll it out into a long snake. Once the diameter of the snake is about 1/2 inch, I take a fork and gently press down all the way along the pasta. This creates little grooves that catch the sauce a little better. Mmmmm. There is a tool to notch the gnocchi but apparently, there is one kitchen gadget I don’t have. Link to buy one on the right!
Cut the Gnocchi Dough
Then, I cut it in to pieces about 1/2 inch long. I use a bench scraper to do this so I don’t end up with knife marks every 1/2 inch along my counter top. A butter knife is another option if you don’t own a bench scraper. But seriously, get a bench scraper, it makes cleaning up the flour off the counter a breeze, just ask my husband. Haha, I am hilarious. Link to these also on the right.
Boiling the Gnocchi
Fill a dutch oven with water and salt and bring to a boil. Track down a slotted spoon and put it beside your pot or you will be madly searching for one when those suckers are floating around in the pot and are ready to be pulled.
Drop the gnocchi in the boiling water. The gnocchi are done when they float. Once they are floating, pull them out with your slotted spoon and let them drain.
I find it helpful to boil up all of the gnocchi first and then lay it out on a cookie sheet lined with a cloth to soak up the water. I cover it with a damp cloth and let it sit until I am ready for it. Then, once I am ready to deal with the gnocchi, I just drop them into the hot butter and let them warm through. It just makes it a little less chaotic than trying to cook the gnocchi and prepare the brown butter at the same time. The less time you let the gnocchi sit, the easier it is to re-heat them in the butter.
Prepare the Thyme Brown Butter
I get a large frypan and melt the butter. Then I add a generous amount of fresh thyme and fresh chopped garlic. Stir it around while the butter browns, it will take about 5 minutes or so. Stirring it is important so that the herbs and garlic don’t burn. Check on your butter and make it is browning and not burning. It stinks to have to start the butter over. Been there done that.
Saute Gnocchi in the Thyme Brown Butter
Drop the gnocchi into the butter which will be nicely browned by now. Coat the gnocchi in the butter and saute the gnocchi for a few minutes until warmed through and lightly browned. Remove from heat and serve. Drizzle any remaining brown butter from the pan over top of the gnocchi. Finish by seasoning with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and adding a good dollop of grated pecorino. Mmm, life is good. Thyme and Brown Butter Gnocchi is on your plate.
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Thyme Brown Butter Gnocchi
Light, little fluff balls of yumminess.
- 1 lb white potatoes
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- 2 eggs large
- 2 cups flour all purpose
- 2 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper or to taste
- 1/4 lb butter salted
- 4 sprigs of thyme large
- 5 cloves of garlic coarsely chopped
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1/4 c pecorino grated
Preheat oven to 350F and once it is up to temperature. Put potatoes in hot oven and cook until easily pierced with a fork. Depending on the size of the potato, up to an hour. If some potatoes are smaller, remove as they get cooked to prevent overcooking.
Using a heat resistant glove to hold the hot potato, peel with other hand. Once all the potatoes are peeled, push them through a ricer, first through the coarse blade and then through the fine blade into a large bowl.
Add the ricotta, the eggs, and one cup of the flour. Add salt and pepper and mix with your hands until it is a smooth consistency. If the dough is too sticky, slowly add a little bit of the remaining cup of flour until the dough will stay together and be just tacky.
Flour a clean counter top and divide dough into 4 to 6 pieces. Roll each piece out into a long snake about 1/2 inch diameter. If desired, you can use a gnocchi board to mark the gnocchi or simply using a fork, gently press all the way along the snake to mark it.
Using a bench scraper, cut into pieces about 1/2 inch long.
Bring a large dutch oven of generously salted water to boiling. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook until the gnocchi floats. Once floating, remove gnocchi to a cookie sheet lined with a cloth to soak up the water.
Once all the gnocchi have been removed to the cookie sheet to drain, prepare the brown butter.
Set a large frypan on the stove top and turn temperature to medium high. Melt the butter and then add the thyme and garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. For the last couple of minutes, stir continuously until butter is nicely browned.
Add gnocchi into frypan and saute until warmed through and nicely browned. Finish with any remaining brown butter from the pan. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.