Gnocchi With Brown Butter, Sage And Parmesan
This is one of those flavour combinations that just works so incredibly well and is evidence that you don’t need a huge number of ingredients to make something truly delicious.
By all means you can use store bought gnocchi but if you’ve never made your own and have wondered how to do it, it’s actually incredibly simple to make and it does taste quite a bit better than store bought. But I am saying that as someone who does also use the kind you can buy a lot as well so there’s no judgment here. Whatever works best for you!
The combination of brown butter and crispy sage is so so good. I love it and it seems to taste even better at this time of year when it’s getting colder and the leaves are crunchy on the ground.
Now there are as many variations and different recipes for making gnocchi as there are stars in the sky and I use a few different recipes but this is my current favourite.
By all means you can use store-bought gnocchi but if you’ve never made your own and have wondered how to do it, it’s actually incredibly simple to make and it does taste quite a bit better than store-bought. But I am saying that as someone who does also use the kind you can buy a lot as well so there’s no judgment here. Whatever works best for you! If you want to make gnocchi that’s a bit different to usual, try our Green Gnocchi made with cavolo nero.
Since making gnocchi (or using shop-bought gnocchi) is perhaps not an everyday kitchen activity, here are some key questions we’ve been asked:
Do you need to boil gnocchi before frying?
No, if you are going to pan-fry gnocchi, there is no need to boil beforehand. If you do, the gnocchi will take on water and make it harder to gain a golden exterior (but you can do it if you would rather a softer bite). For this recipe, simply fry the gnocchi for 5-6 minutes in olive oil in a pan over medium-high. This recipe only requires boiling if you’d rather it that way – Four Cheese Gnocchi with Butterbeans.
Is it better to pan-fry or boil gnocchi?
Both techniques achieve different results. Boiling gnocchi turns them into pillowy small bites, they should be fluffy and light. It makes for a smoother and more typical bowl of ‘pasta’. Pan-frying gnocchi crisps them up so it adds a bit more bite to your dish. They can also look a bit more visually appealing in this way as they have that golden allure! Homemade gnocchi tends to be even more pillowy than shop-brought, so pan-frying them gives you the best of both worlds.
Can you brown gnocchi after boiling?
The short answer is yes! The longer answer is that we wouldn’t bother with the faff. Not when we know you want to get a meal on the table to please everyone sat around it. Whilst boiling it before is fine and some say it lends itself to a lighter, fluffier texture on the inside, we don’t think the effort of doing both makes for a big enough difference to make it worthwhile.
What to serve with brown butter sage gnocchi
In all honesty, a big bowl of this is as delicious as it is comforting. However, sometimes we do agree that a slightly more balanced meal is necessary, especially on a weeknight. A side of roasted broccoli or some garlic green beans would be delicious here. Or some oven-roasted crispy chicken thighs too.
For the gnocchi
2 medium russet potatoes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 large egg
Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
For the sauce
1 pinch salt and pepper
75 g (⅓ cup) unsalted butter
10 fresh sage leaves
2 cloves garlic – peeled and very finely sliced
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
zest of 1 lemon
juice of ½ lemon
Preheat oven to 200c. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place potatoes onto a baking sheet and pierce them a few times with a fork. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Let them cool completely so you can handle them
Cut in half; scoop flesh into a medium bowl and mash. Transfer 1 1/2 cups to a large bowl; stir in flour, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into an 18-inch long rope, about 1-inch in diameter, sprinkling with additional flour as needed to prevent sticking. Using a sharp knife, cut each rope into 3/4-inch bite-size pieces; transfer to baking sheet.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; cook gnocchi until tender, stirring occasionally, about 4-6 minutes. You might need to do this in batches. Remove the gnocchi from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat.
Add the gnocchi, plus a pinch of salt and pepper and fry the gnocchi for 5-6 minutes, flipping them over until the gnocchi is brown all over.
Remove the gnocchi from the pan and place in a bowl.
Wipe the pan out and then melt the butter over a medium heat. Once melted, continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes, until it starts to go a very light brown and smells a bit nutty.
Add the fresh sage leaves and cook for a minute. Watch them closely as you don’t want them to burn, they will taste very bitter. They will also crisp up when you take them out of the pan
Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring often.
Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan and sprinkle on the salt and pepper.
Stir together , squeeze in the lemon juice and add the zest and cook for a further minute.
Divide between bowls and top with plenty of parmesan and black pepper.