Pan-Seared Potato Gnocchi with Buerre Noissette, Black Summer Truffle, and Manderone Provolone

Joseph Hafner

Gracie’s, Providence, RI

Chef Joseph Hafner’s gnocchi with brown butter appeared as one of many courses at the Rhode Island Summer dinner at the James Beard House. The dish, which starts with fluffy, salt-baked potatoes and is finished with black truffle shavings and aged provolone, is a decadent side for poultry or seafood but can also stand on its own as a meal.


  • 2 cups Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds russet Potatoes (about 5 small or 3 to 4 large potatoes)
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Piping bag fitted with a smooth pastry tip (or large ziplock bag)
  • Metal or plastic bench scraper (or large plastic spatula)
  • Food mill or fine meshed sieve
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces Mandarone Aged Provolone (or other hard, aged cheese for grating)
  • 1 black summer truffle (or 2 tablespoons of white or black truffle oil)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Line a shallow baking pan with approximately 2 cups of kosher salt. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork to allow steam to escape during the cooking process. Lay the potatoes over the salt bed and bake, uncovered, until a knife can easily be inserted through, about 1 hour.

Take the potatoes out of the oven and, while still hot, cut them in half. Using gloves or a kitchen towel to protect your hands, use a large spoon to scoop out the potato insides into the food mill or fine meshed sieve. Discard the skins. Process the potato through the food mill or sieve onto a lightly floured surface. Try to keep the potato as light and fluffy as possible. Make a well in the center of the steaming potatoes and coat the inside of the well with half of the flour. Add the egg, remaining flour, and chop the potato mixture with the bench scraper quickly, turning the mixture into itself and repeating until it just comes together into a solid mass.

Put gnocchi mixture into a piping bag or ziplock bag. (If using a ziplock bag, cut off a small 1/2-inch corner of the bag, away from the closure in order to evenly squeeze the mixture.) Pipe the gnocchi into rows 10 to 12 inches long on a lightly floured surface. Dust the top of the gnocchi with flour and gently toss the rolls with flour in order to ensure they are evenly covered.

Using the bench scraper dusted with flour, quickly cut the gnocchi into 1/2-inch pieces. Sprinkle each cut piece with flour and move them to a floured baking pan so they do not stick together. Leave the gnocchi at room temperature to rest for 20 minutes before cooking.

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Mix together ice and water in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Turn the boiling water down to a simmer. Shake the excess flour from the gnocchi and cook a handful of them until they float, about 2 minutes. Immediately remove gnocchi to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and continue simmer the remaining gnocchi in small batches until all are cooked. Once cool, lightly dry the gnocchi on a kitchen towel or paper towel, then coat with olive oil and refrigerate until cooking. (At this point the gnocchi may be frozen; make sure to freeze in a single layer.)

In a large nonstick pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Just as the oil begins to smoke, remove the pan from the flame and place a cup of gnocchi in the oil. Put the pan back on the burner and cook until they are crisp and golden on one side, about 6 minutes. Add the shallots, salt and pepper. The pan will be very hot and smoking. Add the butter until it foams and gently stir.

Divide the gnocchi between four shallow bowls and top with the freshly grated provolone, a generous shaving of truffle (or drizzle of truffle oil), a pinch of sea salt, and the chopped parsley.


4 servings