Fried Gnocchi Aglio e Olio

The calendar tells me that Lent starts tomorrow. Which is odd because I’m pretty sure it started almost three weeks ago here, when the Black Death first descended on our household. We’ve been battling one health issue after another ever since then, including issues I won’t mention on the same page with food. Regardless, I’m all tuckered out and having a hard time settling on my various Lenten penances. Isn’t sleeping only a few hours a night penance enough?

All this is to say that while tomorrow I might come up with something eloquent to say about fasting, today I’ve got nothing. Except for a recipe that you can cook on days of fasting and abstinence.

Gnocchi Aglio e Olio is a twist on the typical Italian Spaghetti dish of the same name. I am not a fan of spaghetti, but am a fan of crispy fried gnocchi, so I switched them out long ago and vastly prefer this version. Also, you can buy gluten free gnocci in most stores, and as it tastes a million times better than gluten free pasta, it’s a much better option when feeding the gluten-free people in your life.

This isn’t necessarily a recipe for a huge, ravenous crowd, as the more you multiply it, the more batches of gnocchi you have to fry. I’ve doubled it, but probably wouldn’t triple it. It’s also all hands on deck in the moments leading up to eating. But it comes together fairly quickly, requires minimal prep, and is so, so delicious, that it’s totally worth ignoring your kids for 15 minutes and just accepting (most) of the damage that ensues during that time

Gnocchi Aglio e Olio

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 5 minutes, Cook Time: 15 minutes


  • 24 ounces boxed (or homemade) potato gnocchi
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional, especially if little ones are eating)
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • ½ cup Pecorino-Romano (or Parmesan), freshly shredded
  • Kosher salt
  1. Bring 6 cups of salted water to boil, while you chop herbs and shred cheese.
  2. When water is a few minutes from reaching its boiling point, combine olive oil and butter in a large frying pan and melt together over medium heat.
  3. Add crushed garlic to butter and oil, and toast until it reaches a golden brown. Remove garlic from oil and set aside.
  4. When water starts to boil, add gnocchi. Boil until the gnocchi floats to the surface (about 3-4 minutes).
  5. Using a slotted spoon, remove gnocchi from the boiling water and transfer to the frying pan in a single layer. Fry in butter and oil until the gnocchi become lightly brown and slightly crisp (about 7-10 minutes). (If doubling, boil and fry one batch, transfer to a warm baking dish, then boil and fry the second batch. Then return everything to the pan to mix together.)
  6. Toss in herbs, crushed red pepper flakes, cheese, (and diced fried garlic if you like). Check for salt and add if needed. Divide evenly onto plates and serve.

. Serve With…

  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • Garlic Bread

13 thoughts on “Fried Gnocchi Aglio e Olio

  1. michelemarie885 says:

    I have made Pasta Aglio e Olio, but I can’t wait to try this!! LOVE gnocchi! (The one problem I foresee is making this for myself, my husband and four (teen and up) sons. How much gnocchi is enough gnocchi, I wonder?)

    • Emily says:

      When I made the recipe for the photos, I doubled it and served myself and three men. It was rich and filling and there was plenty for everyone. You might want to triple the batch, which could be done with two frying pans or just plan on extra time and keep the first batches warm in the oven.

      • michelemarie885 says:

        We did make this several weeks ago and it was DELICIOUS and WELL LOVED! I can’t remember now how many times I multiplied the recipe, but it was not enough. We always like to have leftovers! I will definitely make it again!

  2. mladinich333 says:

    Hi Emily! If you private message me, I’ll send you some essential oils to help your family get well. God bless you for all the beauty you share with us!

  3. Sarah says:

    This looks amazing… Must now obtain gnocchi! And I’m realizing that my days of abstinence are not very creative. I have a very shallow meatless repertoire. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Gail Paquin says:

    This was amazing!!! I grew up eating Gnocchi made from ‘scratch’ by my Nona… sooo much work. After reading your post I decided to take the leap to store-made gnocchi served without traditional homemade pasta sauce, and went with your version instead. It was so good! I served it to my Italian son-in-law (who also knows the homemade version) on Ash Wednesday. He, along with the rest of us loved it.
    Thank you Emily.

    • Emily says:

      Awwww….this makes me so happy. I consider praise from Italian cooks and eaters the highest form of praise!

    • Emily says:

      My dad LOVES gnocchi, but he generally gets it with red sauce, and it sounds like that’s what happens in your house too, Gail. 🙂 But I wonder if he’d like this–I might have to sic it on him! I, however, generally don’t like gnocchi, but this dish is making my mouth water! (My dad is second generation Italian American, so he’s an Authority. :-D)

  5. Grace Stark says:

    This was so, so delicious. I used store-bought gnocchi, but I’ve been itching to try my hand at homemade for a while. Do you have any recommendations for a good homemade gnocchi recipe?

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