Pumpkin Gnocchi

…with browned butter and crispy sage.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Okay, it happened. Rain jacket? Out of storage. September cold? Achoo! Uh huh. Pumpkin bandwagon? Jumped on.

I guess it’s really fall. I guess September happened. And October is probably going to happen no matter how hard I dig in my heels. And you know what? I think I’m okay with that.

In fact, I can’t really remember what I like so much about summer…

In the summer, every time I go for a run, I feel like I’m going to collapse of a heat stroke, then drown in my own sweat. My non-air conditioned apartment feels like a sticky, humid greenhouse. My beach (yes, I claimed it) is packed with over-tanned, frisbee-tossing suburbanites clothed in far too little fabric, leaving me to drive in circles for 30 minutes looking for a parking spot while my dog hyperventilates with BEACH! excitement in the backseat.

And it’s too hot to turn on the oven.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

I think I’ve always associated summer with freedom. But in the grown up world, that’s not really accurate. Therefore, I declare that I am going to make fall my new favourite.

It’s still sunny, but at a comfortable 16 degrees. (American friends, that translates to exactly halfway between cold and hot). The markets are overflowing with gorgeous local produce. I get to buy new boots. My dog matches the changing leaves. It’s appropriate to make succulent slow braises and stews. Warm spices find their way into all kinds of delicious baking.

Yep, I think I’m going to be friends with October. Are you on board? Good! Let’s wear sweaters and put pumpkin in stuff.


Gnocchi are Italy’s answer to dumplings. They are typically made with cooked, mashed potato, flour and egg. The dough is rolled and sliced, and boiled. The resulting doughy morsels are chewy and delicious. Reminiscent of pierogy dough.

You pronounce it like this: nee-ock-ee. Emphasis on the “ock”. Here, just listen.

Or you can call it gah-noh-chi. Wrongly. But it’s kinda fun. Your choice.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

This autumnal version uses pumpkin instead of potato. Sauteed quickly in browned butter and sage, they are unbelievably delicious and surprisingly easy to make.

First you mix the pumpkin with the egg, salt, and nutmeg. Then you add enough flour to make a sticky dough – it will pull away from the bowl, but it will still stick to your fingers.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

You divide the dough into manageable amounts, and roll it out to a long rope of about an inch thickness. You slice the rope and pop the gnocchi into a pot of boiling water.

It’s easy to tell when they are done; they simply float to the top!

Pumpkin Gnocchi

While the gnocchi are cooking, melt some butter in a big pan along with sage leaves. The butter will brown itself into a blissful state of nutty, toasty brown, while the sage leaves obligingly become delectably crispy.

If you’re new to the browned butter experience, drop everything, and head to the kitchen. I won’t wax poetic about it again, but just trust me. Drop everything.

Toss the boiled gnocchi in the browned butter and serve, topped with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan and a pinch of sea salt.

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Pumpkin Gnocchi with browned butter and crispy sage
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4 servings
  • Pumpkin Gnocchi
  • ...with browned butter + crispy sage
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (if canned, be sure to choose 100% pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1½ cup flour (approximately), plus more for hands and work surface
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup sage leaves
  • parmesan cheese, grated, for sprinkling on top (optional)
  • sea salt, to finish
  1. Set a large pot of water to boil. In a medium sized bowl, combine pumpkin, egg, salt and nutmeg. Add the flour in several additions, stirring to combine. Continue adding flour until the dough is firm enough to handle, but still somewhat sticky.
  2. With floured hands, pinch off about a quarter of the dough. Roll between palms and on floured work surface to make a 1-inch thick rope. Cut rope rope into 1-inch pieces. Repeat with remaining dough.
  3. Drop gnocchi into boiling water and cook until they rise to the surface, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large, heavy saucepan. Add sage leaves and cook, swirling frequently, until butter browns. Remove from heat.
  4. Drain gnocchi on paper towels, then add to brown butter and toss. Serve sprinkled with parmesan and sea salt, if desired.
  5. Serves 4 as an appetizer or side dish; serves 2 as a main course.

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32 Reviews

  1. Karagoldsborough

    September 30, 2011 10:51 am - Reply

    Wow, these look great! Gnocchi and pumpkin! Can’t go wrong there! Welcome to Fall!

    • Anonymous

      October 1, 2011 3:32 am - Reply

      Thanks Kara!

  2. [email protected]

    September 30, 2011 5:42 pm - Reply

    Amazing! Cant. Wait to try! Happy sweater wearing and pumpkin eating!

    • Anonymous

      October 1, 2011 3:31 am - Reply

      Right back at ya! 

  3. Anonymous

    September 30, 2011 6:21 pm - Reply

    love the commentary and the link to listen – I laughed out loud.. are they yummy?

    • Anonymous

      October 1, 2011 3:31 am - Reply

      Are they EVER!  Gotta try ‘em!

  4. Chelby

    October 1, 2011 3:24 am - Reply

    Hello Foodess, we have just discovered your website whilst ‘googling’ for a tortilla recipe….what a joy you are…you are so funny….love your humour….love the recipes…adding you to our favourites for sure. Cheers Chelby

    • Anonymous

      October 1, 2011 3:31 am - Reply

      Thanks so much Chelby!! Come back often! :-)

  5. Bronwyn Coyne

    October 1, 2011 4:23 am - Reply

    Me oh my, sounds so good. I’ll have to give this a try soon!

  6. baconandbaileys

    October 1, 2011 1:49 pm - Reply

    Brilliant!! I love that you can sub out the potato for the pumpkin – so yummy!!

  7. Connmiel

    October 2, 2011 12:23 am - Reply

    I have never been so eager for dinner at breakfast!! These looks incredible, and I love love love the gorgeous photography. I’m living in Japan currently and haven’t been able to find pumpkin other than the common Kabocha squash here, but I may have to renew my search just to make these :) Huzzah to fall, pumpkin, and most importantly, sweaters!! 

    • Anonymous

      October 3, 2011 5:18 pm - Reply

      Thanks Connmiel :-) You can use Kobacha squash – that would be delicious!

  8. Mpmav1

    October 2, 2011 9:40 pm - Reply

    I’m assuming that is 1/4tsp? nutmeg?

    • Anonymous

      October 3, 2011 5:17 pm - Reply

      Yep, it sure is! Thanks, I’ve changed it.

  9. Shelby

    October 26, 2011 6:34 am - Reply

    This recipe looks amazing…What a lovely blog you have! Look forward to following… Thanks!

    • Anonymous

      October 26, 2011 4:29 pm - Reply

      Thank you very much, Shelby! Glad you enjoyed.

  10. Unhip Squirrel

    November 10, 2011 5:53 pm - Reply

    Wow… I was just looking for some kind of pumpkiny squashy brown butter sagey thing to use my sage in. Is it possible that I missed this when you posted it originally?  Geez.. looks AWESOME!!

    • Anonymous

      November 11, 2011 12:00 am - Reply

      It was awesome! You should make it right now…

      • Unhip Squirrel

        November 13, 2011 3:48 am - Reply

        I did actually!! I made it! It was totally wicked. I was going to blog it but I had a little bit of difficulty with the gnocchi and kind of overdid the butter. It was still really tasty, but I want to give it another go and do it properly before blogging :D

  11. Auburn Meadow Farm

    November 22, 2011 10:58 pm - Reply

    Good stuff! Just made this and served with spiced apple relish – pretty delish, thanks!

  12. Rebekka van den Bos

    March 15, 2012 8:42 am - Reply

    Hi Foodess, I found this recipe yesterday while searching for something a bit different to do with a pumpkin, I made it last night, the Gnocchi were perfect! I served it with a little red pesto, rucola and alfalfa, the sourness of the pesto and pepperyness of the rucola and alfalfa balanced perfectly with the sweetness of the gnocchi! Thanks you have cured my fear of gnocchi making! sooooo easy!

    Best thing is I have some left to warm up for lunch today! yay :-)

  13. Robyn

    April 11, 2012 6:46 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing such a delicious and simplified recipe for gnocchi. My sister told me about your site and recipe for this and I’ve made it twice. We didn’t have enough pumpkin so I added a sweet potato to it tonight and it worked out as well. This is definitely a new favourite!

  14. meenakshi

    October 11, 2012 10:52 pm - Reply

    can you please guide that how to keep fresh boiled gnocchi pumpkin pasta warm for 1-2 hrs before mixing in any kind of sauce and can i make this dough one day before? your guidelines will be a great help to me.

    • foodess

      October 13, 2012 9:12 pm - Reply

      I wouldn’t try to keep it warm for 2 hours… you could cook, then cool it, and reheat it in a sauce or drop it briefly back in boiling water to reheat. You could make the dough a day ahead and refrigerate – that should be fine.

  15. erinarini

    November 20, 2012 2:38 pm - Reply

    I just tried this receipe, it looked so easy. Well, mine didn’t turn out at all. The gnocchi doubled in size and got really mushy. They also rose to the top of the boiling water as soon as I put them in. The only thing I can think of that I did wrong was use self rising flour. Was that my mistake?

    • foodess

      November 21, 2012 9:16 am - Reply

      I’m sorry they didn’t turn out! :-( Yes, it was absolutely the self-raising flour! It has a leavening agent (baking powder) in it that will cause them to expand as soon as they hit heat. You should never use self rising flour unless the recipe explicitly asks for it….

      • erinmarini

        November 21, 2012 12:30 pm - Reply

        Okay. I am going to try again. I wanted to make them for Thanksgiving. I’ll let you know if I can do better :) Thanks for your comment!!

        • foodess

          November 21, 2012 1:55 pm - Reply

          You can do it!! To ensure Thanksgiving success, maybe take one out and try it to make sure it’s cooked properly before you remove the rest from the water.

          • erinmarini

            November 23, 2012 11:10 am -

            Okay I am happy to report that I got the right flour and made them again. They were a big success! Thanks for the great recipe and the help!!

          • foodess

            November 23, 2012 2:13 pm -

            You’re most welcome! So glad they were a hit!

  16. Brianna Marie De Lorenzo

    January 31, 2013 10:08 am - Reply

    One of the secret tricks to perfect gnocchi, is to not pull it out of the water when they start to float. Give them a few extra minutes and you will see them puff out. Then remove them. You will have little light fluffy clouds. Tried and true tips from my Nonni.

  17. Robin Spires

    November 24, 2013 3:47 pm - Reply

    These were INCREDIBLE and they freeze beautifully. I’m making several batches to freeze for quick dinners.