Parisian Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Thyme

updated Mar 15, 2020
Parisian Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Thyme

An easy recipe for Parisian-style gnocchi made with flour, eggs, butter, and Parmesan cheese.

Serves4 to 6

Prep20 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook25 minutes to 30 minutes

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bowl of gnocchi with parmesan cheese
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

As a self-proclaimed Italophile, I always thought gnocchi were strictly an Italian thing. But it just so happens that the French make a version that easily rivals the very best Italian gnocchi. If your ideal gnocchi are crispy on the outside but pillowy and light-as-air on the inside, this Parisian gnocchi is just for you. When tossed in thyme-infused brown butter and served with a generous flurry of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese, they’re simply irresistible.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Parisian Gnocchi Is the Best Gnocchi You’ve Never Heard Of

Forget all your preconceived notions of what gnocchi should be. They don’t have to be made with potatoes — or sweet potatoes, ricotta, or cauliflower for that matter. That’s right, Parisian gnocchi isn’t made with starchy vegetables or cheese — it’s made with flour! The base of these dumplings is a classic pâte à choux dough, which is a staple in French kitchens. It’s a simple mix of flour, hot water, butter, and eggs that’s used to make everything from éclairs to gougères.

To make Parisian gnocchi, the pâte à choux is enhanced with Parmesan cheese and a bit of Dijon mustard for extra flavor. It’s then piped into boiling water in small pieces to achieve pillowy dumplings. While the dumplings can be enjoyed right after they’re poached in the boiling water, they’re made extra-special with one more step.

Dry them on paper towels, then pan-fry them in herb-infused brown butter. The result are gnocchi that are browned and crisp on the outside and ridiculously tender on the inside. They’re the farthest thing from heavy or dense, as is too often the case with potato gnocchi. Instead, they’re ethereally light and guaranteed to become a new favorite.

More gnocchi recipes we love:

Parisian Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Thyme

An easy recipe for Parisian-style gnocchi made with flour, eggs, butter, and Parmesan cheese.

Prep time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces

    Parmesan cheese

  • 1

    small bunch fresh thyme

  • 2 sticks

    (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 1/2 cups

    water

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 6

    large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon

    Dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Finely grate 2 ounces Parmesan cheese (about 1 packed cup). Strip the leaves off 1 small bunch fresh thyme until you have 2 tablespoons.

  2. Cut 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) of the unsalted butter into a few pieces and place in a medium saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring to melt the butter.

  3. Remove the pan from heat. Add 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and resembles mashed potatoes.

  4. Return the pan to medium-low heat and stir continuously until the dough smells nutty, glistens, and is thick enough to hold a spoon upright, 3 to 5 minutes. A film of starch on the bottom of the pan is normal.

  5. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer or beat by hand with a stiff spatula.) Beat the dough on medium-low speed until it stops steaming and is just warm to the touch, about 1 minute.

  6. While beating continuously on medium-low speed, add 6 large eggs one at a time: Wait for each egg to be absorbed and for the dough to become smooth before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed between additions. The dough should come together in a very smooth, creamy batter.

  7. Add 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 3/4 of the grated Parmesan cheese (3/4 packed cup) and beat until combined. Transfer the mixture to a gallon-sized zip-top bag, loosely seal, and let rest for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.

  8. Snip 1/2 inch off one bottom corner of the bag. Holding the bag over the boiling water, squeeze the mixture out of the bag, cutting it off with a kitchen shears into 1-inch pieces and letting them fall directly into the boiling water. Cook until the gnocchi float to the top, about 2 minutes. As they float, transfer them with a slotted spoon to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. (It’s useful to have a helper here, if possible, to scoop out the floating gnocchi while you are cutting the dough into the water since they’ll start to float up in batches while you’re still working on adding the uncooked gnocchi to the pot.)

  9. Melt the remaining 6 tablespoons unsalted butter in a large high-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add the gnocchi in an even layer, sprinkle with the thyme leaves, and let the gnocchi cook undisturbed until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Gently flip and cook to brown on the other side, 3 to 5 minutes more, swirling the pan occasionally so that the butter browns evenly. Toss to coat the gnocchi in the brown butter. Transfer to individual bowls and serve garnished with the remaining Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.