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Elizabeth Poett's Homemade Gnocchi with a Creamy Tarragon and Leek Sauce

Homemade Gnocchi with Creamy Tarragon-Leek Sauce

byElizabeth Poett
Total 1 hour and 30 minutes
Active 60 mins
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Pasta-like potato gnocchi are easy to make and require only a few ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen. There is something so comforting about this dish that combines the browned, crispy edges of the gnocchi with roasted butternut squash and a cream sauce. The leeks and tarragon give it a fragrance and flavor reminiscent of early spring.
TIP: Have an ample amount of extra flour on hand for flouring the board when working the dough, when rolling the gnocchi, and for dusting the sheet pan for the gnocchi. The gnocchi dough should be made right before cooking, not ahead of time. However, uncooked gnocchi can be frozen for cooking later.
Special Equipment
a food mill or ricer; a dough knife
Special Equipment
a food mill or ricer; a dough knife
For the butternut squash
  • 1 medium (1-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the gnocchi
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for salting the water
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling and rolling
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 sprig tarragon
For the cream sauce
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 leeks, thinly sliced into half-moons, rinsed, and dried
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces Asiago cheese, finely grated
    1. For the butternut squash: Preheat the oven to 400℉. In a bowl, combine the squash, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the squash is fork-tender. Set aside.
    2. For the gnocchi: Cook the potatoes whole in a large, partially covered pot of salted boiling water until tender. This will take about 40 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the potatoes from the pot and set them aside to cool.
    3. Once potatoes have cooled for 10 minutes, use your fingers to peel them. Use a food mill or ricer to crush the potatoes into a large bowl. Turn the milled potatoes out onto a floured board. Make a well in the center and add the egg to the well. Use a fork to mix the egg into the potato. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and then sift the flour over the top of the potato mixture. Use your hands and a dough knife to mix the flour into the potato mixture until it holds together easily and the dough is uniform in texture.
    4. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust the parchment with flour. Cut the dough into 8 equal parts. Roll the first piece of dough into a long rope 1/2-inch wide. Cut the rope into 1/2-inch-long pieces. Gnocchi can be cooked like this, or rolled over gnocchi paddles to create rounded gnocchi with ridges. Place cut (or cut and rolled) gnocchi onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
    5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Lower half of the gnocchi one by one into the boiling water. Cook until all the gnocchi float to the surface. This will take 2 and 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to move the gnocchi from the water to the heated skillet. Add the tarragon sprig. Use a metal spatula to move gnocchi around carefully to brown them while keeping them from sticking to the pan. Once the sides of the gnocchi are golden brown, move them to a heatproof bowl and cover with a cloth. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to the skillet (keep the tarragon in the skillet). Repeat the process to cook and brown the second half of the gnocchi. Set aside, covered, while making the cream sauce.
    6. For the cream sauce: Once all of the gnocchi have been cooked and browned, put together the cream sauce. Melt the butter in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the leeks are wilted and begin to look translucent, add the wine to the skillet and cook until the wine has reduced to about half. Add the cream and tarragon. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.
    7. Add the browned gnocchi and butternut squash to the sauce and stir to combine. Sprinkle a generous layer of the Asiago over the top and serve warm.