Butter and sage: a simple, elegant pairing that perfectly accompanies gnocchi. Gnocchi is the ultimate comfort food and its versatility means you can be creative with the sauces and flavours. This easy recipe is a great entree or primo piatto (or main depending on the quantity you make). Sage butter is also great to enhance the delicate flavour of fish and grilled meat.
(For the gnocchi)
1 kg of brushed potatoes, peeled and cut into 4cm chunks
120-200 grams of plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
1 egg, lightly beaten
a pinch of salt
freshly shaved parmesan and ground black pepper to serve
(For the sage butter)
8 tbs/110grams of butter
15 fresh sage leaves
a pinch of salt
Steam the potatoes for 25 minutes or until tender, then mash with a potato masher or press through a potato ricer (recommended) while they’re still hot. TIP: It’s best to steam the potatoes rather than to boil them so the gnocchi are light, firm and tasty.
Allow potatoes to cool slightly (so they’re not burning your hands) and stir in a cup of flour, the egg and a pinch of salt. Knead to a soft elastic dough for a few minutes, adding more flour if needed. TIP: Be careful with the ratio of potato to flour: if there’s too much flour, the gnocchi will be hard; if there’s too much potato, the gnocchi will fall apart while cooking.
Taste a little of the dough to make sure there’s enough salt – add more with your hands. TIP: For green gnocchi, add some steamed spinach to the dough.
On a lightly floured surfaced, shape the dough into long rolls just over 1.5cm in diameter and cut into 2cm lengths. OPTIONAL: You can roll each dumpling on a fork or fine grater with your thumb to create a pattern (this helps the sauce pool in the indentations on the dumpling). For this recipe, I prefer plain, fluffy pillows sans pattern.
Place the gnocchi in a single layer on a tea-towel dusted with flour. Cook the gnocchi in slightly salted boiling water, adding them to the pot in small batches a few at a time. As they rise to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon – do not overcook them or they’ll fall apart. Drain and put in a warmed serving dish.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. As soon as it starts to colour, add the sage leaves and season with salt.
When the leaves are crisp, remove the pan and pour the butter over the gnocchi to serve immediately. Sprinkle black pepper and shaved parmesan to garnish.