Brown Butter Gnocchi with Spinach and Pine Nuts

This is our very first gnocchi meal! Michael's sisters taught us this weekend that we pronounce it wrong - we say 'notch-ie' rather than 'yo-key'. How do you like that attempt at phonetics? :) Notchie or yokey, I don't think I've ever even had it in a restaurant believe it or not. Let me tell you what, those guys are like little balls of doughy heaven! Mmm mmm good! It also helps when they are cooked in butter. We modified it from a Cooking Light recipe, so it's still healthy. This meal is perfect for a weeknight because it is super quick to throw together. Michael was out back for just a bit drawing up some crazy shed plans to make his fancy shed even fancier and when he came back in he couldn't believe supper was already ready. That kind of fast meal! Even though it's a veggie recipe, Michael didn't mind one bit. We made it with one bunch of spinach, which wasn't enough, so you'll see below that I recommended 1 large bunch or 2 small ones. Spinach just cooks down so much.

What I learned about gnocchi (from Wikipedia):

"Gnocchi are various thick, soft dumplings. They may be made from semolina, ordinary wheat flour, potato, bread crumbs, or similar ingredients.The word gnocchi means "lumps", and may derive from nocchio, a knot in the wood,[1] or from nocca (knuckle).[2] It has been a traditional Italian pasta type of probably Middle Eastern origin since Roman times. In Roman times, gnocchi were made from a semolina porridge-like dough mixed with eggs, and are still found in similar forms today, particularly Sardinia's malloreddus (although they do not contain eggs). The use of potato is a relatively recent innovation, occurring after the introduction of the potato to Europe in the 16th century.[4]"

After we made this post, I started noticing lots of homemade gnocchi recipes on fellow bloggers' sites. That's my next goal. =)

The Cooking Light recipe suggested a salad with a simple dressing recipe as a side, which I decided to try too & it was great. I just threw together some lettuce, scallions and feta, then topped it with the dressing. To make the dressing: Combine a dash of balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Pour over salad.

Makes 3-4 servings.


  • 1 (16-ounce) package vacuum-packed gnocchi 
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (omit if you don't like a little heat)
  • 1 large (or 2 small) bunches of fresh spinach, torn
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts to pan; cook 2-3 minutes or until butter and nuts are lightly browned, stirring constantly. 
  3. Add garlic and cayenne pepper to pan; cook 1 minute. 
  4. Add gnocchi and spinach to pan; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts, stirring constantly. Stir in salt and pepper. 
  5. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


Anonymous said...

Next time you need to try to make your gnocchi from scratch. They are heavenly!

Donna-FFW said...

Oh the sauce sounds wonderful!!

The Duo Dishes said...

Our goal is to make gnocchi from scratch. Seems lofty, but people say it's pretty easy. We'll see!

Joyti said...

Spinach DOES cook down, too much. It annoys me.
I really like your gnocchi, so often we see brown butter paired with squash...especially during this season...this is a lovely and refreshing change.

Conor @ Hold the Beef said...

Looks delicious, but yes please make your own! After doing that a few months back, nothing else compares.

(also, here we say it "nyo-key" which is also how it is said in Italy... so I guess you can tell the sisters that they're wrong too ;) )

gastroanthropologist said...

Gnocchi is simple to make, the real test is how light and fluffy you can get them. That takes a bit of practice. Mine were a bit dense the first few times, but with a little practice and patience they are so tasty when homemade! Potato and ricotta gnocchi are my favorites. I was taught by an Italian that it was nyo-key too..

grace said...

i think gnocchi is one of the most fun words to say...if only i had as much fun making it. :)

Leslie said...

I love love love gnocchi!

Mindy said...

Haha...I just posted a gnocchi with greens recipe too! And after making it a couple of times, I decided I am going to try my hand at making fresh gnocchi. Maybe we should all try to make it together! :-)

Tasty Trix said...

Lucky you, to have been a gnocchi virgin so recently! They are one of my favorite things. You MUST make your own, you won't believe how soft and pillowy and lovely they are! It's not hard. It's a really fun project. And like Connor I say "nyo-kee"

Anonymous said...

I just printed this to make SOON. This is my kind of recipe. I didn't know how to say, "gnochi" either.

Bren said...

OH my goodness.... do you know how much I love gnocchi??! What a sexy italian staple. I love, love it. Your dish looks refreshing and very warm. I love it! I need to make some soon!

Hornsfan said...

Yummy - I love gnocchi and the spinach and pine nut addition looks delicious.

Delicious Dishings said...

I love gnocchi, but I've tried making it myself a couple times with horrible results. I guess a package is the way to go! This recipe sounds so tasty!

Erica said...

WOW - this looks fantastic. I took a gnocchi and risotto cooking class. Risotto I've got down pat. My gnocchi still needs some work! I always seem to add too much flour. The spinach gives it such great color too- just gorgeous

Sasha said...

Welcome to the delicious world of gnocchi, guys! Good job and keep exploring : )

With a little practice, homemade gnocchi is easily done.

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