The OG of this recipe comes from a restaurant in Minneapolis called Bar La Grassa – the gnocchi is beautiful, luscious, rich, and simultaneously delicate. The actual pieces of gnocchi are tiny and pillowy and light, and the little bits of roasted cauliflower plus a light coating of creamy, slightly orange-y (!) sauce with a handful of fresh chives over the top just make the whole dish a rare and unexpected gem.
There are very few meals I’ve had that have ever made me cry, but the first plate of this gnocchi that I ordered after all the pandemic lockdowns and shutdowns of the last few years literally brought me to tears. It is heavenly. Otherworldly. Just so darn good.
A year or so ago, I posted a video of this gnocchi to Instagram and someone (hi, Alix!) followed up with an email in which they SENT ME THE RECIPE. The restaurant recipe. There was some uncertainty on where it came from – best guess from the original sender was that they wrote it down from a televised interview with the head chef Isaac Becker years ago (this is why I love all of us).
I balked at it for a while – how could I even attempt to make this at home? I couldn’t. Or… could I?
But what I’ve settled on sharing is a homemade version that is REALLY, REALLY GOOD – mostly true to the recipe that was emailed to me, but just a bit more semi-homemade than the real deal restaurant version, making it ideal for the regular home cooks of the world who love delicious things.
So, yes, you have to go to the restaurant to experience the real, life-changing thing.
But you can, in fact, get the truly amazing restaurant flavor at home as an easy, easy, easy weeknight dinner.
Homemade Gnocchi Vs. Pre-Made Gnocchi
When I made the gnocchi from scratch (as instructed from the recipe), I didn’t feel like it had a huge payout. After a lot of admittedly amateur work, my gnocchi didn’t turn out nearly as tender and lovely as the restaurant version.
So I’ve decided to leave that to the pros and use pre-made gnocchi. It saves time, of course, but also – if you buy the right brand (DELALLO!) it’s going to be very, very delicious and make you wonder why you were ever spending all that time making your own gnocchi anyway.
And now, this cauliflower orange gnocchi. I cannot get enough of this, and thanks to our fave brand of all truly authentic Italian products, it can become a FAST and delicious weeknight masterpiece.
(For the record, it’s not hard to make homemade gnocchi! I don’t want to discourage you from trying it, especially for a weekend. I find this gnocchi – with ricotta! – is incredibly forgiving if you have the time and desire to try your hand at the homemade stuff.)
How To Cut Cauliflower On a Mandoline
How you cut the cauliflower will make or break this dish.
You have to cut the cauliflower on a mandoline.
Something magical happens to that cauliflower when it is sliced into thin little papery pieces and then hits a hot pan of sizzling butter with a bunch of freshly minced shallots. OH BABY. This is next-level cauliflower.
Here’s a little video showing how you can cut the cauliflower on a mandoline:
Basically, you’ll want to remove the bigger portions of the stem and break the cauliflower down into medium-large florets. From there, you’ll turn the florets sideways to run them down the mandoline. You don’t want to put the top of the floret directly onto the mandoline – it’ll just crumble everywhere. The stem is what holds it together. What you’ll be left with kind of looks like flat, papery little trees, with stems and tops.
I often find that I end up with a little side-bowl of the crumbles and extra bits that fall of the sliced cauliflower – it’s just going to happen, even when you do it correctly, because cauliflower is crumbly like that. But it’s all good – those extra pieces are perfect to save and use in a super fast batch of cauliflower walnut taco meat or cauliflower soup.
If you don’t have a mandoline, I’d recommend just using a sharp knife to try to replicate what you see in the video – thin, tree-like slices.
This recipe is just a thing of beauty. Weeknight-friendly, restaurant quality, and just so many happy, pillowy, cozy little bites.
a medium-large head of cauliflower, cored and thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces on a mandoline (about 3 cups)
2shallots, minced (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 – 1/2cupheavy cream (see notes)
1/2 – 1 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoonssalt(more to taste)
juice and zest of 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons of juice, zest to taste)
chives for topping
Cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Set aside.
Heat the butter over high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add cauliflower, shallot, and cooked gnocchi; let it sit for a few minutes and then stir and repeat. You want the cauliflower and gnocchi to get browned, and the shallots to get soft.
Add in the cream, orange juice, red pepper flakes, and salt. Simmer for just a minute or two until desired consistency is reached – everything should be coated in a silky light sauce.
Serve immediately topped with fresh chives and orange zest. OH MY GOODNESS.
Most nonstick pan manufacturers will recommend not using high heat because it can wear down the pan faster and potentially cause the pan to give off toxic fumes (especially an empty pan), so just use the highest level of heat you are comfortable with. I usually use a high-ish heat – like 8/10 – with my Caraway brand nonstick pans. The higher heat is necessary for getting that pretty browning on the gnocchi and cauliflower!
Using 1/4 cup heavy cream will give you a light, barely-there coating. It’s delicious. Using 1/2 cup of heavy cream will give you something more substantial, rich, and “saucy.” Also delicious. You pick!
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:15 minutes
Keywords: Bar La Grass, gnocchi, cauliflower gnocchi, easy dinner, one pan dinner