This Gnocchi and Asparagus in Cream Sauce is great for easy daily meals as well as special dinners. Pillowy gnocchi and sweet, crisp-tender asparagus are coated with a rich yet not too heavy cream sauce.
Gnocchi, which are light and fluffy dumplings made primarily from potatoes, are so delightful to eat. Their delicate flavor makes them perfect for cream-based sauce while the addition of asparagus brings sweetness, freshness, and fun textures to the dish.
A generous sprinkle of freshly-cracked black pepper then boosts the level of tastiness immediately. I find that the asparagus and black pepper help counterbalance the richness of the cream sauce, making it not too heavy.
Watch How to Make Creamy Gnocchi with Asparagus
The main ingredient is potato gnocchi, which are best when made from scratch. If you can find quality store-bought gnocchi, that will work too. We personally prefer homemade gnocchi, and when we have time, we just make a big batch and store in the freezer.
I like to follow Chef Thomas Keller’s recipe for homemade gnocchi, which calls for baked russet potatoes. His recipe has the highest ratio of potatoes to flour among all gnocchi recipes I have come across. When I make it, I use about 20 oz of baked potato flesh, 2.5 oz flour, 2 egg yolks and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
To make the gnocchi from scratch, mash the baked potato flesh, then add egg yolk and just enough flour to hold the dough together. Use a dough cutter to combine everything and avoid kneading the dough too much. Divide the dough into portions, then roll into small ropes and cut into small pieces. Very simple, isn’t it?
You will also need several spears of asparagus, heavy cream, parmesan cheese, garlic, and black pepper (a lot of it!). A fancy-looking dish sometimes requires just a handful of ingredients.
Gnocchi dish is usually very filling, so you don’t need huge servings for it. If you serve it as an appetizer or first course, I find that 2.5-3 oz of gnocchi per person will be enough. As a main course, you will want 4.5-5 oz per person.
This gnocchi and asparagus in cream sauce recipe is very quick to make, so try to prepare and measure all ingredients before turning on the stove. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Trim off the woody end of your asparagus or use a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin from the bottom part of the asparagus spears. We don’t want dried out or woody, fibrous parts of the asparagus to ruin our dish.
- For this recipe, you will need to slice asparagus into small pieces, about 1/2-inch. If the spears are large, slice them in half lengthwise before cutting into small pieces crosswise.
- Don’t overcook the asparagus pieces since we want them to be crisp-tender and sweet. Overcooking asparagus will bring out an unpleasant odor, mild yet noticeable.
- Use freshly grated parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper for the best taste.
Please find the detailed instructions in the recipe card below. Here are other vegetable recipes and pasta recipes you may like.
I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.
Gnocchi and Asparagus in Cream Sauce
- Trim off the woody end of your asparagus or use a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin from the bottom part of the asparagus spears (as in the video). Then slice asparagus into small pieces, about 1/2-inch. If the spears are large, slice them in half lengthwise first before cutting into small pieces crosswise.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi and reduce the heat to a more gentle boil. Cook until gnocchi float to the surface, about 2-3 minutes. Drain the gnocchi and reserve the cooking liquid.
- Place a pan over medium heat and add some olive oil. Add minced garlic and sauté briefly until fragrant. Add asparagus pieces and stir to cook for about 15 seconds. Sprinkle a small pinch of salt and give it a quick stir.
- Add drained gnocchi to the pan and give everything a quick toss. Add cream and 3-4 tablespoons of reserved gnocchi cooking liquid. Adjust the heat as needed to let everything simmer while stirring gently and frequently. Stir in 1-1½ tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Cook until the cheese melts, the sauce thickens and asparagus is crisp-tender. Try to avoid overcooking the asparagus.
- Transfer to serving plates. Sprinkle plenty of black pepper and some more parmesan cheese on top. Serve immediately.