Pan-Fried Potato Gnocchi with Arugula – Recipe

Pan-Fried Potato Gnocchi with Baby Arugula and Pecorino Romano

I made gnocchi the other day, and yes my daughter helped. We ate most of them with a simple tomato sauce. They were good but a bit on the heavy side. I haven't really mastered the art of ultra-light potato gnocchi. If you have a hot tip on how to achieve pillowy lightness, please share.

I figured that by frying the rest in butter, I could make the most of their texture. For pan-frying, I think you want a little bit of density in the dumpling. After they crisped up, I added a generous handful of baby arugula and tossed briefly, then finished with pecorino romano. Man, this is good stuff! The toasty gnocchi, nutty/bitter arugula and umami flavors of the cheese are all mellowed with the browning butter. Toasted walnuts would be a perfect addition to this dish (but not in my house).

Since I can't claim my gnocchi technique is spot-on yet, let me point you at this very well-done visual recipe from Syrie of Taste Buddies. One tip I just learned from re-reading my Paul Bertolli: when "forking" the gnocchi, dip the tines in flour before each one. I'll try that next time. Once you've got your gnocchi made and boiled until they float, fry them up like this:

Pan-Fried Potato Gnocchi with Arugula
Serves 4
Vegetarian; not vegan or gluten-free

  • 4 cups potato gnocchi (homemade, see link above, or storebought)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (don't worry, you won't eat all of this)
  • 4 big handfuls baby arugula, well cleaned
  • pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano, thinly shaved (a vegetable peeler works well)
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • flaky sea salt (Maldon (aka the world’s greatest salt)!)
  • optional: 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  1. Boil the gnocchi according to the original recipe, drain and cool.
  2. In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium high heat.
  3. Add the gnocchi in a single layer, and fry until crispy and brown on one side. Carefully flip to brown the other side.
  4. Drain off most of the butter.
  5. Add the baby arugula and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  6. Toss until the arugula just begins to wilt (maybe 30 seconds)
  7. Divide among 4 plates and garnish with the cheese and optional walnuts.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, March 23rd, 2009 in Main Courses, Recipes.

7 Responses to “Pan-Fried Potato Gnocchi with Arugula – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    March 23, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    I made this for dinner tonight. I really like the texture and the ‘fried potato’ taste that results from this treatment. Excellent with a clove of garlic sauteed before adding the gnocchi. Also, I made it with store bought gnocchi. I know it’s not as good, but with a salad it makes for an ultra quick weeknight meal that’s relatively healthful and fresh tasting.

  2. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    March 23, 2009 at 2:30 pm #

    Wow, thanks for the quick feedback! I’m glad you liked it, and I’m sure a
    clove of garlic and/or some chili flakes would be good in there.

  3. Reply
    March 23, 2009 at 2:58 pm #

    Can’t help with gnocchi making, but this looks fantastic! I have lots of arugula in my garden right now too.

  4. Reply
    March 24, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    These look delicious, and for some reason remind me of scallops!

  5. Reply
    March 25, 2009 at 7:03 am #

    Hi Michael….the gnocchi looks great! As far as making them light goes, I think Alton Brown made some gnocchi on Good eats. I cant seem to find the link though. He is pretty thorough when it comes to cooking so it might be worth checking out.

  6. Reply
    July 20, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    Hi Michael, I would recommend you check out the recipe in Tom Douglas’ Seattle Kitchen for a good potato gnocchi recipe. The general recipe is as follows:

    1 lb russet potatoes (baked and put through ricer)
    2 Tb butter
    kosher salt
    freshly ground black pepper
    1 egg
    3/4 c all purpose flour (adjust as needed, only adding as much flour as needed to make a soft dough)

    Hope this helps!

    • Reply
      July 22, 2013 at 8:21 am #

      I’m sure Tom’s recipe is good; since I wrote this post some years ago, I also had the good fortune to eat Lisa Nakamura’s gnocchi at Allium and I have to say they are the best I’ve ever had, including many times in Italy. Here’s her recipe: link to

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