Potato Gnocchi with Browned Butter and Crispy Sage Leaves

I love potatoes.

Boiled, mashed, smashed, fried, baked, scalloped but, most of all, I love potato gnocchi.

When I owned Sister’s, I used to get the biggest kick out of my customers, many and varied, pronunciations of this humble little potato dumpling. I had one gentleman who called it gah-nochy. I tried subtly to correct him but he never caught it. Another customer proudly pronounced it nooky! It was adorable. It conjured up all sorts of interesting visuals…

Gnocchi is pronounced yoky with an ‘n’ on the front – nyoky. I can’t think of an english word that creates the same sound.

Gnocchi is another one of those mystery foods that everyone thinks is difficult to prepare but, in fact, is easy as pie! It freezes perfectly so you can make a big batch to have more at another time. There are a number of commercial varieties available that are good but, nothing beats gnocchi from scratch.

It took me a couple of tries to perfect the technique so, if it does not turn out the first time, do not give up. It’s cheap to make and so worth the effort!

The recipe will seem a little loosey – goosey because it is. You are looking for a particular consistency in the potato mixture which you will recognise in time. I will try to

trouble – shoot for you but, nothing beats good old trial and error.

I found the paddle that I am using in the above picture at a farmer’s market in Tuscany. The same result can be achieved with a fork, if you want the ridges.

Potato Gnocchi

serves 6

preheat oven 350*F

6 medium baking potatoes, washed and pricked with a fork

1 egg

1/2 cup Tipo 00 or all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

semolina flour

Place potatoes in oven and bake for 1 hour or until potatoes pierce easily with a fork

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes then scrape the flesh into a large mixing bowl.

Beat the potatoes with an electric beater until smooth then beat in egg…mixture will be a little damp

Add 1/2 cup Tipo 00 flour or all-purpose flour, sea salt and nutmeg…stir in by hand

You should be able to knead the potato mixture. If you can not, add a little more flour until you can.

Place dough on a floured board and knead 4 or 5 times…gently press the dough into a flat disk

Using a very sharp knife, divide the gnocchi into 6 strips

Working with one strip at a time, gently roll the strip into a cylinder 1 1/2″ thick

Cut the gnocchi in 1 ” pieces and place on a baking sheet that has been sprinkled with a little semolina flour.

Continue until all of the potato mixture has been used up.

Allow the gnocchi to sit for 1/2 hour before cooking

When you are ready to serve, bring a large pot of lightly salt water to a boil.

Carefully drop gnocchi into boiling water and cook until gnocchi floats to the top of the water…about 2 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove from pot and place directly into warmed sauce…toss and serve.

Note: Gnocchi is delicate so a gentle touch is required at all times. Never pour the gnocchi into a colander or you could end up with a clump of potatoes instead of lovely little dumplings! Also, if you have some left to freeze, place the gnocchi on a semolina sprinkled plate and put it in the freezer until the gnocchi are hard. Then put the gnocchi in a freezer bag and store until you need them…up to 6 months.

Sage Browned Butter

1/2 lb butter

large handful fresh sage leaves

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add sage leaves in batches, so that the leaves have enough room to be laid flat. Fry for 1 minute  on both sides…2 minutes total

When the sage is fried set aside until ready to serve.

Remove butter from heat until you are ready to add the gnocchi

Just before gnocchi is cooked, warm the butter…the butter will have brown bits in it from cooking the sage 

Place the cooked gnocchi directly into the warmed sage butter and gently toss…serve immediately garnished with the fried sage leaves, grated parmesan, salt and pepper.

Thanks for reading