After college, when I started trying to cook like a grown-up, gnocchi was one of the first recipes I made from Charlie Trotter’s rather amazing Gourmet Cooking for Dummies cookbook. The air fried cauliflower gnocchi are a long way off from what Charlie Trotter originally envisioned, but they’re also much simpler.
Wait, you’re using pre-made frozen gnocchi?
If you’ve ever gone through the full labor of making proper gnocchi, then you’ll know that they can be rather amazing. But doing them right isn’t easy. Most professional chefs will literally beat the lumps out of their potato by running it for long sessions in a stand mixer.
Then there’s the careful rolling, the cutting and the sliding on the tines of a fork to get the perfect shape. And then boiling. But, you’re not done yet, because the crucial finishing move is in a hot pan with butter to crisp them off.
It’s a lot of work. And it’s a lot of potato.
Enter Trade Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi
Over the years, we’re eating far fewer potatoes and have less time to invest in making super light, pillowy gnocchi. So when I heard that Trade Joe’s sells frozen cauliflower gnocchi, and that they’re pretty good, I was intrigued.
The first time we made them, we followed the bag directions for cooking them in water. What we ended up with was gluey mush.
Since I’m always looking for new ways to cook food (especially ones destined to be crispy) in my Air Fryer, this seemed like a no brainer.
And making crispy cauliflower gnocchi in the air fryer is super, super easy. It’s a one step process. Put the frozen gnocchi in the air fryer, spray with olive oil, and cook for 14 minutes at 390 degrees.
Give them a toss half way through and you’re on your way to really nice, crispy cauliflower gnocchi.
Making Brown Butter for Air Fried Cauliflower Gnocchi
This is a pro move for finishing any gnocchi, and it’s really easy to do. We’re going to brown butter. Which is a process of intensifying butter’s natural flavors and almost burning it.
The first part of browning butter is similar to making a pan sauce, or a reduction, where you cook off excess water. The bubbling is where you’re cooking off everything but the cream. This is how ghee is made.
But we’re going to do this at a higher temperature so that it “browns” the butter, without burning. This gives it a rich, nutty flavor.
Just be careful, this happens fast. Know your range, how hot it gets and how quickly it cools. This is one area where gas ranges excel as you need to quickly drop the temperature to low as soon as the butter melts — and before it burns.
While the butter is simmering, I toss in about a tablespoon of minced fresh sage. This will perfume the butter and give it a wonderful small and a subtle hint of sage.
And that’s it. You’re ready to go make some really crispy cauliflower gnocchi in the air fryer!
It's so easy to make this crispy air fried cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe's. Plus, make this simple brown butter with sage while it's in the air fryer!
- 1 Package of Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi
- 4 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Sage, Minced
Air Fry the Cauliflower Gnocchi for 13 minutes at 390 degrees (longer if you want it crispier)
While cooking, melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. As soon as it melts fully and starts to bubble, reduce heat to low. You want to find a sweet spot where the liquids continue to bubble off and it starts to brown (but doesn't burn/scorch)
Add the fresh sage and continue to simmer until the gnocchi are ready.