Gnocchi with Sage Butter

Homemade gnocchi, or little Italian dumplings, can seem like an ambitious dish if you’ve never tried to make them before. But once you transform the humble potato into these fluffy, sauce-soaking pillows of dough you’ll never look back. It’s important to use a floury potato for this dish, and to avoid boiling the potatoes as too much water will make the dough sticky and bullet-like gnocchi will result. Instead, steam the potatoes and use fingertips when rolling for a feather-light result that will have everyone sniffing round for seconds. 


Serves: 4-6
Preparation: 45 m
Difficulty: moderate


Ingredients

700g (approx. 4) red potatoes
2 large eggs, yolks only
150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
Ground pepper

Sage butter

100g butter
15-20 small sage leaves
Salt and ground pepper
Grated parmesan cheese, to serve


Method

  1. Bring a saucepan of water with a steamer insert to the boil. Peel and chop the potatoes into even pieces and steam for 15 minutes or until tender.
  2. Remove steamer from saucepan and allow steam to evaporate from potatoes as they cool slightly. Mash the potato into a bowl or use a potato ricer and set aside to cool completely.
  3. Season the cooled potatoes with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the egg yolks until well distributed. Mix the flour throughto form a dough.
  4. Dust a clean work surface with flour.  Using your fingertips for a gentle touch, roll a quarter of the dough at a time into long sausage shapes about 3cm diameter.
  5. Slice each sausage of dough diagonally into pieces of approximately 2cm wide, using a sharp knife.
  6. In small batches, place the cut dumpling pieces into a colander with a sprinkle of extra flour and shake to soften the edges, or roll over the tines of a fork to create ridges. Set aside gnocchi on a tray, without pieces touching.
  7. Bring a saucepan of water to boil and salt. Cook the gnocchi in 2 batches, removing the cooked gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon when it floats to the surface of the water.
  8. In a frying pan, melt the butter stirring in the sage leaves just before it has completely melted. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter darkens to light brown and the sage start to go crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Stir gnocchi through the butter sauce and serve with a generous topping of freshly grated Parmesan.

Serving suggestions

  • For a lighter sauce, serve gnocchi with a fresh tomato and basil passata or pesto.
  • You can also prepare your gnocchi ahead of time and freeze uncooked on a baking paper lined tray, well spaced, before storing frozen in a zip-lock bag. Simply add frozen gnocchi to boiling water when ready to cook.