Arugula Gnocchi with Spicy Brown Butter Sauce

Arugula Gnocchi with Spicy Brown Butter Sauce | Playful Cooking

Sometimes your palate takes time to relish certain flavors or ingredients and then there are times when it wins over your heart at the very first bite. Even before you know what the dish was all about, you desire for more. I have few such dishes in my list and gnocchi is one such indulgence. I remember the first time, both the taste and the awkward moment when I completely embarrassed us. Gnocchi is not something that I ate in India and didn’t really know how to pronounce it the right way. Thankfully, Arvind was there to correct me, very skillfully, except I am sure the guy had a good laugh as he placed the ticket to the chef.

It was absolutely delicious, soft and covered with flavorful pesto sauce!


After that day, I prepared gnocchi several times for dinner but always using the store bought frozen ones. As delicious and easy it was, I couldn’t stop myself from getting my hands dirty with the homemade version. It did sound intimidating at first, but surprisingly it was not that hard at all. Definitely time taking but truly simple. And nothing can beat freshly made gnocchi. So much more tender and pillow-y, it just melts in your mouth. Always worth all the effort!


Making Gnocchi | Playful Cooking


Steps to make Arugula Gnocchi | Playful Cooking


Steps to make Arugula Gnocchi | Playful Cooking


The best part is that preparing gnocchi doesn’t need any extravagant gadgets or ingredients. You could choose not to create the ridges, but the ridges do help holding the sauce. A regular fork works absolutely fine to create those ridges and I used that process several times in the past. However, a gnocchi board does come handy and quickens the process a tad bit. Knowing how much we both love this Italian treat, it was a small investment.


Steps to make Arugula Gnocchi | Playful Cooking


Steps to make Arugula Gnocchi | Playful Cooking


Steps to make Arugula Gnocchi | Playful Cooking


Arugula Gnocchi | Playful Cooking


My go-to choice is plain gnocchi with any kind of pesto sauce but at times, I like to play with the dough. Adding arugula to the dough not only gave a vibrant green shade but also added a lovely flavor. The mild peppery taste from the greens with the spicy brown butter sauce finishes the dish beautifully. The stunning green hue will retain if you don’t fry the gnocchi before bathing in the sauce. At times, we like it mildly fried in butter and hence, had to compromise with the color. Pleasing to the eyes or not, this dish always entertains our bellies.


Fresh Arugula | Playful Cooking


Arugula Gnocchi with Spicy Brown Butter Sauce | Playful Cooking



Arugula Gnocchi with Spicy Brown Butter Sauce

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 2 as main course or 4 as appetizer

Arugula Gnocchi with Spicy Brown Butter Sauce


    for the gnocchi
  • a handful fresh arugula
  • 1 large russet potato
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (you might need more while kneading)
  • salt
  • for the sauce
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • parmesan cheese
  • fresh lemon juice


  • Boil the potato in salted water and while it’s still warm, carefully peel the skin. Using either a food mill or fork, mash the boiled potato in a bowl. Do not over mash but make sure there are no lumps.
  • Using a blender or food processor, grind arugula with egg yolk. Pour the mixture over mashed potatoes and give it a rough mix. Add a pinch of salt and drizzle some flour on top. Using a spatula, start working on the dough. Keep adding flour as you go until the dough is moist but not sticky.
  • Roll the dough into a log and using a knife, cut into several pieces. In my case, it was 5 pieces.
  • Work with one piece at a time. Dust some flour on it and roll it out to a much thinner log this time. Cut the thinner log into multiple pieces using a knife, each around 3/4 inch. Now using a fork or the gnocchi board, shape each piece. Place one piece at a time and press it with your finger lightly so it forms the ridges. Then, roll it to form a curl. Set it aside and move on to the next piece.
  • Once you are done creating the gnocchi, start with boiling the gnocchi and the sauce.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the gnocchi (in batches, if required). It will take about 3 to 4 minutes for it to become fluffy and float on top.
  • In the mean time, keep a pan ready with 1-tablespoon butter at medium heat. This will be used fry the gnocchi after boiling. Drop the boiled gnocchi and sauté it for about couple of minutes.
  • In another medium hot pan, add 3 tablespoons of butter. It will sizzle and melt slowly. Add chili flakes and lemon zest. In couple of minutes, the butter will turn brown in color. Keep an eye as it can turn from brown to black in a matter of seconds. Finally, drop fried gnocchi to the pan and mix it to coat the sauce properly.
  • Drizzle some fresh lemon juice, add parmesan cheese and serve immediately.


You can make the gnocchi in advance and freeze it in a zip lock until ready to be used.


Arugula Gnocchi with Spicy Brown Butter Sauce | Playful Cooking

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sowmya says:

Beautiful clicks.. I love gnocchi, Gorgeous styling.. thanks for sharing the recipe.. I love the addition of arugula 🙂

this is so beautiful! i simply adore arugula and adding it to the gnocchi dough is genius.

dixya says:

these are so gorgeous!!! I made gnocchi last year and it was truly delightful. love the arugula version.

I love gnocchi, and the brown butter sauce sounds delicious!

Marie says:

What a stunning dish! All of these flavors sound amazing together!

as always i enjoy drooling over your pictures in a cation…Lovely! so is Gnocchi.

This post definitely impelled me to make gnocchi at home. I have to give this recipe a try soon 🙂

Archana says:

I love how simple and delicious this recipe looks! Beautiful shots!

Gorgeous color of the dough.My husband loves Gnocchi & chicken soup. Particularly loving all the hand shots xx

Lovely post as usual girl! Love the hand shots. There’s just something amazing in touching, feeling and kneading the dough with your own hands that once you try making them at home you just can never look back. Love the amazing flavor combinations. Curious to find how peppery arugula works in the dough. Will be trying someday!

A beautifully written post and wonderful shots of the process. Haven’t had it since I became vegan though. I remember the sensuous making of gnocchis in Godfather III. Andy Garcia demonstrates the making to Sofia Cappola. 🙂 Your pictures look every bit as sensuous. I second Prerna – it is magical to create something with dough and getting your hands messy. I love arugula in pestos, so am sure this will be extremely flavourful!

Sarah says:

This is stunning. Can you please open a restaurant in Dubai so I can go there for lunch? Today?

Trishnanta says:

Oh. My. God. I am spellbound by your style of photography. The gnocchi looks beautiful. I am a huge fan of your blog. An absolute visual treat.

Eha says:

What a wonderfully original and delicious recipe! I do not use potatoes often but do love gnocchi! So like the use of arugula and am looking forward to marrying those delicious morsels with the brown butter sauce! Thank you!!

MB says:

What a goregeous post! I’ve always been a store-bought gnocchi person, but you make it seem quite easy… might have to give it a try this weekend… Love the arugula and spicy brown butter combination… inspired! Thank you.

What a beautiful and delicious gnocchi recipe! I love the idea of using arugula in gnocchi. Irresistible!

These are looking awesome. Now I am craving for some and probably will have to do it as soon as possible.

cheri says:

My mother is from Italy and her cooking is very simple and so amazing. Great pics. So creative with the arugula.

Rosa says:

Fabulous gnocchi and pictures! A very original recipe.



Kiran says:

Mouthwatering!! Lovely recipe and stunning styling 🙂

ps: Happy Birthday!

nipponnin says:

I enjoyed finish photos as well as all the process pics too. Beautiful!

Joyti says:

I think I probably pronounced gnocchi wrong the first time I ate it too. 🙂

Your gnocchi flavoring sounds really unique and LOOKS gorgeous. Lovely pics!

Simi says:

What a gorgeous post, love the photography…. Stunning

Looks fabulous congrats on having a little guy 🙂 just saw a pic on instagram cute 🙂

Divya says:

Congrats on your baby boy, Kankana! He looks adorable in the Instagram pics. We need more pics!

your pics are so stunning!!

Pri says:

Wow, this looks SO delicious. I love that you made the gnocci from scratch! I STILL don’t know how to pronounce gnocci (I always forget lol) so I share your pain!