How to Make Carrot Gnocchi with Walnut Brown Butter Sauce

Carrot gnocchi is a delicious and easy way to use up leftover carrots and make a hearty meal. This recipe, adapted from Tasting Table, shows you how to make your own gnocchi dough with carrots, flour, cheese, and egg, and how to cook them in a simple but flavorful sauce of butter, walnuts, and pecorino Romano cheese. It’s a perfect dish for the fall season, when carrots are abundant and fresh.

What is gnocchi?

Gnocchi are small dumplings made from flour and various ingredients, such as potatoes, cheese, or vegetables. They are usually boiled and then tossed with a sauce or fried in butter. Gnocchi are popular in Italian cuisine, but they can also be found in other regions of Europe and South America.

How to Make Carrot Gnocchi with Walnut Brown Butter Sauce
How to Make Carrot Gnocchi with Walnut Brown Butter Sauce

Why use carrots for gnocchi?

Carrots are a great ingredient for making gnocchi because they add color, flavor, and nutrition to the dough. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin A, fiber, and antioxidants. They also have a natural sweetness that complements the nutty and savory taste of the sauce. Carrots can be used instead of or in addition to potatoes, which are the most common base for gnocchi.

How to make carrot gnocchi dough?

To make carrot gnocchi dough, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 3 cups chopped carrots (about 3 large or 4 to 5 thin carrots)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt

The steps are as follows:

  • Boil the carrots in a saucepan of water until fork-tender, about 20 minutes.
  • Drain the carrots and mash them into a paste with a potato masher.
  • Transfer the carrot paste to a large bowl and add the flour, Parmesan, egg, garlic, thyme, and salt. Mix well until a dough ball forms.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently until smooth and workable.
  • Cut the dough into four equal pieces and roll each piece into a 1-inch thick rope.
  • Cut each rope into half-inch pieces and shape them into gnocchi by rolling them on a fork or a gnocchi board.

How to cook carrot gnocchi?

To cook carrot gnocchi, you will need the following ingredients for the sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The steps are as follows:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the gnocchi in batches until they float to the surface, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve half a cup of the cooking water and drain the gnocchi well.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the walnuts and cook for another 2 minutes, or until the butter browns and smells nutty. Discard the garlic.
  • Add half of the butter mixture to a large serving bowl and set aside.
  • Add the remaining butter mixture to the same skillet and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Add the cooked gnocchi and toss to coat with the sauce. Cook for about a minute or until slightly browned.
  • Transfer the gnocchi to the serving bowl and sprinkle with pecorino Romano cheese. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

How to serve carrot gnocchi?

Carrot gnocchi can be served as a main course or as a side dish. They go well with salads, roasted vegetables, grilled meats, or soups. You can also garnish them with more cheese, chopped parsley, or lemon zest for extra flavor.

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