Our Lemon Brown Butter Gnocchi looks like a million bucks, but only needs six ingredients and about 35 minutes of your time. We roast frozen cauliflower gnocchi with broccoli until crispy and brown and then toss it all in a lemon-infused brown butter. Garnish with plenty of grated parmesan cheese, serve with a big salad, and call it dinner.
Lemony Brown Butter Gnocchi
Just because it’s all holiday cookies, festive cocktails, and incessant Christmas jingles, doesn’t mean dinner isn’t happening. In fact, dinner still has to happen EVERY SINGLE DAY. And it’s hard. However, with a little help from the grocery store, dinner can be E-A-S-Y. Ridiculously easy.
Enter: Lemony Brown Butter Gnocchi.
This easy weeknight dinner is basically another form of our sheet pan Cauliflower Gnocchi we shared a while back, but winter-fied. We take the same fundamental – roasting the cauliflower gnocchi until irririsibly crispy on the outside and pillowy on the inside – but instead pair it with a nutty brown butter studded with lemon and hearty roasted broccoli.
Of course, no pasta dish is complete without a sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano, so we add a generous hand at the very end.
Serve with our favorite Kale Salad, a sizable glass of vino and enjoy.
Ingredients in Brown Butter Gnocchi
Cauliflower Gnocchi. I like to buy my cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe’s, but I know a lot of stores these days carry it in their freezer section.
Broccoli. When it comes to roasting, use fresh broccoli. I like to cut the florets myself so there are some flat pieces that can lay flush with the baking sheet. This helps the broccoli to get a nice brown crisp to it, instead of just crisping up random spots.
Olive oil. The best way to roast the broccoli and gnocchi is to use olive oil. It can withstand a high temperature which is needed to sufficiently roast both ingredients.
Butter. For me, brown butter is synonymous with winter. When browned, it takes on the most lovely nutty, deep flavor that pairs really well with just about any winter veggie or ingredient. Be sure to use unsalted butter.
Lemon. To add a little hint of acid and brightness, I like to sprinkle in both the lemon zest (at the end) and lemon juice (in the beginning).
Parmesan. As always, and especially for something as simple as Brown Butter Gnocchi, we recommend using an aged Parmigiano Reggiano if you can swing it. It compliments the brown butter beautifully, and has a lovely sharpness to it you can’t get with standard parmesan cheese.
Let’s make Brown Butter Gnocchi!
Roast the gnocchi and the broccoli. I like to add both the broccoli and the cauliflower gnocchi to a really large baking sheet. Make sure each component can spread out nicely on the baking sheet. You don’t want anything to be too close together or it will steam instead of roast. If needed, use two pans.
Drizzle the broccoli and gnocchi with olive oil. Use your hands to evenly coat the broccoli. Keep the two components separate, because the cooking times will vary. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper. Toss one more time and then spread them out again.
Pop them into a 425-degree oven. Roast until the broccoli starts to crisp up and brown, about 12-15 minutes. The broccoli will cook faster than the gnocchi, so when the broccoli is crisp, remove it from the sheet pan and store on a plate or platter. Flip the gnocchi and then place back in the oven until they are golden brown and crisp on both sides, about ten minutes or so.
Make the brown butter. While the broccoli and cauliflower gnocchi roast, make the butter. We’ve made brown butter 1,000 time here, but in case you’re new, here’s how it goes down:
Add the butter to a large skillet set over a medium-high heat. Let the butter begin to melt. Once it starts to brown on the edges, swirl the pan. Continue to swirl the pan until the butter turns a deep brown color and smells very nutty. Remove from the heat.
Assemble. Once the butter has browned, add the lemon juice, stir. When the broccoli and cauliflower gnocchi are done, add them to the pan with the brown butter. Set the pan over a medium heat and toss until everything is coated in the lemon brown butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Garnish! Sprinkle with lots of grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Use any winter vegetable. Brussels sprouts or butternut squash would be delicious. Of course, make sure to adjust the cooking time for each change. Brussels sprouts will take about the same amount of time as broccoli, maybe a little bit longer depending on how large the sprouts are. Butternut squash will take 5-10 minutes longer than the broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
- Add in a few very thinly sliced pieces of garlic to the brown butter in the last minute or two of cooking.
- DO NOT BURN THE BROWN BUTTER. Brown butter can go from nutty and delicious to burnt and bitter very quickly. Make sure to keep an eye on it as it browns. It should be a deep brown color, but not black. Do not let it smoke.
- Don’t skimp on the salt. For a dish as simple as brown butter gnocchi, you really need to make sure you season adequately, otherwise, you risk a the dish a subpar finished product.
- Even though the serving size for this dish is two, they are generous portions. If your family members aren’t big eater, then this will feed a family of four if you serve it with a big salad. If your family members are big eaters, you can easily double the recipe.
Other easy 5-Ingredient Dinners
- This squash ravioli is a showstopper, both in looks and taste.
- Trying to impress someone? Whip up these Tarragon and Brown Butter Scallops. You won’t regret it!
- Crispy Salmon with Pesto and Cauliflower is one of my favorite easy meals to throw together. Restaurant quality right at home.
Lemony Brown Butter Gnocchi
- 12 oz package cauliflower gnocchi
- 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
- 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- zest 1/2 lemon
- parmigiano reggiano for garnish
- sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add broccoli to one side of a large sheet pan. Add cauliflower gnocchi to the other side. Drizzle the broccoli with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Use your hands to coat the broccoli. Drizzle the gnocchi with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Use hands to coat the gnocchi in the olive oil. Sprinkle the broccoli with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss again. Sprinkle the cauliflower gnocchi with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss again.
- Spread out the cauliflower gnocchi and broccoli on the sheet pan. Make sure nothing is touching. If needed, use two sheet pans. If the broccoli or cauliflower is too close together, you risk everything steaming instead of roasting. Roast the broccoli and cauliflower for 12-15 minutes or until the broccoli is crisp. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the brococli to a plate. Flip the gnocchi over and place back in the oven unitl the gnocchi is golden brown and crisp, another 5-10 minutes.
- While the broccoli and cauliflower roast, make the brown butter. Add the butter to a large skillet set over a medium-high heat. Once the butter melts and starts to turn brown on the edges, start to swirl the pan. Continue to swirl the pan until the butter turns a deep brown color and smells nutty. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice. Set aside.
- When the gnocchi is done roasting, add the broccoli and the cauliflower to the lemon brown butter. Add the lemon zest. Toss to combine. Transfer to two plates and garnish with grated parmesan cheese.
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