A quick and easy pumpkin gnocchi recipe that’s perfect for a cozy fall weeknight! The gnocchi are pan fried until they’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside – my absolute favorite way to prepare gnocchi! Meanwhile, we’ll whip up a delicious pumpkin parmesan pasta sauce using canned pumpkin, so it comes together in a snap. To serve this dish I recommend plating the sauce, then topping with the crispy gnocchi, more parmesan, and thyme. Plating the gnocchi on top of the sauce helps keep them crispy throughout the meal.
Key Tips – Crispy Gnocchi in Pumpkin Sauce
Do NOT pre-boil your gnocchi.
- This recipe calls for packaged gnocchi straight out of the package, you don’t need to boil them before you use them! The gnocchi will cook through and become tender as they cook in the pan, so there’s no need to pre-boil
Make a double batch, or save half of the canned pumpkin for later!
- This recipe calls for half a can of pumpkin purée, so you can either save the other half for another recipe, toss the excess, or make a double batch.
Store bought gnocchi are perfect for this quick meal!
- You can find prepared gnocchi at most major grocery stores, located in the pasta aisle (it is typically not refrigerated).
- If you’ve never made gnocchi before, this is the type of package you’re looking for. It typically ranges from about $2 -$5 per pound.
- I’ve never made this recipe with homemade gnocchi so I’m not sure how well they would hold up to the pan frying method.
Store leftover gnocchi and sauce separately.
- If you plan on keeping leftovers, it would be best to store the sauce and gnocchi separately, so the gnocchi stay crispy. Reheat them individually, then combine to serve.
You’ll need two skillets to prepare this dish.
- I recommend working on the pumpkin sauce in one skillet, while the gnocchi are cooking in another skillet. Most cookware sets include a deep skillet and a shallow skillet, I recommend making the pumpkin sauce in the deep skillet and the gnocchi in the shallow skillet.
- If you only have one skillet, you can cook the gnocchi in the bottom of a large pot instead!
Check out my guide on freezing fresh garlic to save some time in the kitchen.
- If you’re looking for the convenience of pre-minced garlic, but the flavor of fresh garlic, freezing your own minced garlic is a great option! You’ll be surprised to find that the flavor of frozen garlic is nearly as good as fresh, without the sticky prep and clean-up. Read more about it here: How to Freeze Garlic.
Dietary Restrictions – Crispy Gnocchi in Pumpkin Sauce
This dish is naturally Vegetarian.
- Just make sure you prepare it with veggie stock rather than chicken stock.
Make it Gluten-Free:
- Substitute the gnocchi for gluten-free gnocchi, which are available from a number of national brands. Here’s one example!
- Make sure the stock you use is also gluten-free, some commercial chicken/veggie stock contains wheat.
A Note On Serving Sizes
Serving sizes are a very personal thing, making it difficult for me to select a serving size that suits everyone. While this is listed as 4 servings, some people would prefer to have more than one serving. I typically serve this dish as 2 large dinner portions, plated in the pictures is two servings per bowl.
Crispy Gnocchi in Pumpkin Sauce
- 7.5 oz pumpkin purée half of a standard 15 oz can
- 1 lb gnocchi from 1 standard package
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan plus more for topping
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves optional, for topping
- ¼ cup half and half
- 1 cup chicken or veggie stock
- 3 tbsp salted butter
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ tbsp freshly minced garlic
- ⅛ tsp ground thyme optional
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp salt
- Dissolve the cornstarch in the chicken/veggie stock. Make sure your parmesan is grated and ready to go.
- Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a medium skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Add the gnocchi, breaking up any that are stuck together. Toss until all the pieces are lightly coated in butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the gnocchi is golden and crispy on the outside, and soft in the center, about 10 minutes. (Note, you start with gnocchi straight out of the package, don't boil them first!)
- Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Once melted, stir frequently until the butter browns and gives off a nutty smell, about 1 to 3 minutes depending on the temp of your stove. Once the butter is lightly browned, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 more minute.
- Quickly add the pumpkin to the skillet and mix to incorporate it into the butter and garlic mixture. Add the stock/cornstarch mixture and half-and-half, and bring the skillet to a simmer.
- Allow the pumpkin mixture to cook down, stirring occasionally, until the consistency is similar to the photos, about 7 minutes. Meanwhile, add the brown sugar, ground thyme, ground nutmeg, and salt. Remove from heat and mix in the grated parm, stir until it is fully melted and incorporated.
- Plate the pumpkin sauce directly onto the serving dish, then top with crispy gnocchi. Add a little fresh thyme and grated parm if desired, and serve immediately.
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