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Homemade Gnocchi with a Creamy Tarragon and Leek Sauce

Homemade Gnocchi with a Creamy Tarragon and Leek Sauce

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.

Homemade Gnocchi with a Creamy Tarragon and Leek Sauce

Elizabeth cutting gnocchi dough

Elizabeth placing gnocchi dumplings on a tray

Tip: Have an ample amount of extra flour on hand because you will need to flour the board when working the dough, when rolling the gnocchi, and for dusting the pan for the gnocchi. The gnocchi dough should be made right before cooking, not made ahead of time. However, uncooked gnocchi can be frozen for cooking later.

Special Equipment: food mill or ricer, a dough knife

Recipe makes 4 to 6 servings. Total time 1 hour and 30 minutes. Active time 60 minutes.



  • 2 pounds russet potatoes 
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cups all purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup olive oil for browning the gnocchi 
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt for browning the gnocchi, salting the water
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves (about 1 sprig)

Butternut Squash:

  • 1 medium (1-pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-size pieces
      2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

    Cream Sauce:

    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
    • 3 leeks, thinly sliced in half moons
    • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
    • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup dry white wine
    • 2 cup of heavy whipping cream
    • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped

    For serving:

    • 4 ounces asiago cheese, finely grated to top the gnocchi


    For the butternut squash:

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine the butternut squash, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place on a sheet pan and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Set aside. 

    For the gnocchi:

    1. Cook the potatoes in a large, partially covered pot of salted boiling water. This will take about 40 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the potatoes from the pot. 

    2. Once potatoes have cooled for 10 minutes, use your fingers to pull the peels off of the potatoes. Use a food mill or ricer to mill the potatoes into a large bowl. Turn the 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 the 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.

    3. Cut the dough into 8 equal parts. Roll the first piece of dough into a long rope that is 0.5” wide. Cut the rope into 0.5” pieces. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper and dust with flour. Gnocchi can be cooked like this, or rolled between gnocchi paddles to create rounded gnocchi with ridges. Place cut (or cut and rolled) gnocchi onto floured parchment paper.

    4. Bring the large pot of salted gnocchi water back to a boil. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 0.5 teaspoon 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 have floated to the surface. This will take between 2-4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to move gnocchi from the water to the heated skillet of butter. 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 have turned golden brown, move them to a heatproof bowl and cover with a cloth. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 0.25 teaspoons of salt to the skillet. Repeat the process to cook and brown the second half of the gnocchi. Set aside, covered, while making the cream sauce.

    For the cream sauce:

    1. Once all of the gnocchi have been cooked and browned, put together the cream sauce. Melt the butter in a large cast iron skillet. Add the leeks, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. When leeks are wilted and beginning to look translucent, add the white wine to the pan. Cook until the white wine has reduced to about half its amount. Pour in the heavy cream and fresh tarragon. Bring to a simmer and reduce to low heat. Continue cooking until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the remaining teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Turn off the heat. 

    2. Add the browned gnocchi and butternut squash. Stir until evenly combined. Add a generous layer of the asiago over the top of the gnocchi. Serve warm.

    Recipe first featured on Ranch To Table Season 4 Episode 1: "Crème Brûlée Day" on the Magnolia Network.



    Photographs by BJ Golnick and Brian Skope

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