About a month ago, I was talking to one of my best friends in California, and she told me that her brother had made gnocchi that was browned in a butter sage sauce. It sounded so amazing and decadent that I couldn’t get it out of my mind.
My first experience with gnocchi was subpar at best. I was in Little Italy, in Manhattan, and I just couldn’t wait to try “authentic” gnocchi.
What they brought me was just a bowl of stodgy goo. Although I’d never had it before, there were too many people getting excited about it for me to believe that was the best gnocchi had to offer.
Turns out I was right.
The next time I had it was at a cooking class for my sister-in-law’s bachelorette party. Delicious! I don’t remember what kind of sauce we topped it with or anything. I just remember loving it. I also remember my gnocchi being comically misshapen and all kinds of sizes…
I work at Sur La Table, where we offer cooking classes. I’m on the retail side, but sometimes when there’s extra food, they let us try it. More good gnocchi! This weekend, I tried one (Ok, it was like 6) from the “Date Night Capri” class. They were big oversized gnocchi with a tomato pancetta sauce.
Hands down, best gnocchi ever. It’s better than this sweet potato gnocchi, but I might get fired if I rip off the recipe from work, so this are what you get instead 🙂
NO seriously, I kid. Sweet potato gnocchi are so good! Especially when they’re drowned in browned butter sage sauce!
They remind me of a pumpkin ravioli I used to get in Santa Barbara. Just the right amount of starchy-ness to satisfy the comfort food craving, but not too bad for you, because it’s just sweet potato, whole grains and egg (let’s forget about the sauce for a sec k?)
Actually, we can’t really forget about the sauce, because it’s amazing. I don’t have to go into detail about why you’re going to love browned butter mixed with fresh sage.
It’s self explanatory.
Gnocchi takes some time to make, but it’s so much fun! I felt like a little kid making play-dough snakes. Then, I felt like a culinary genius, making gnocchi from scratch! Then I realized that making gnocchi from scratch isn’t really that hard, and I shouldn’t be so impressed with myself.
Because gnocchi made by novice chefs (I am one) is not perfect every time, browning them really helps to give a contrast to the texture. Soft and starchy on the inside, browned and crunchy on the outside.
I made two sauces for this. The first was a gorgonzola cream sauce that involved a roux and white wine, and fresh chives. It was good! But, the browned butter sauce was so much better. It’s amazing how easily butter can beat…just about everything else.
Nothing against the gorgonzola cream sauce, it’s just not browned sage butter!
I’ll be making more gnocchi soon.
Have you had good experiences with gnocchi? Do you like it?
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour + extra for kneading/ rolling
- 1½ cups sweet potato puree (for me this was 3 medium sweet potatoes)
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbl vegetable oil
- BROWNED BUTTER SAGE SAUCE:
- 4 tbl unsalted butter, cut into a few pieces
- 1 tsp minced fresh sage
- ½ tsp salt + more for boiling water
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
- Scrub sweet potatoes to remove any dirt and cut in half lengthwise. Rub cut side and outside of potatoes with vegetable oil. Lay potatoes cut side down on the jelly roll pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are very soft.
- Grabbing potatoes with an oven mitt, take the skins off the potatoes as soon as you take them out of the oven (They should peel right off if you pry them with a fork) and put the insides in a bowl. This will help them to release steam and dry them out. Stir the sweet potatoes every 10 minutes or so until all the steam is released, and the potatoes cool. Let cool completely, uncovered.
- Sprinkle counter top with flour. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour.
- Add egg yolk to the sweet potatoes and stir with a fork to combine. Sprinkle flour and salt on top of sweet potato/egg yolk mixture and stir to combine until the flour has just disappeared.
- Transfer dough to counter top and knead until dough becomes slightly sticky and smooth, sprinkling with more flour if it becomes too sticky. Just a minute or so.
- Cut dough into 4 pieces and roll each piece into a long snake shape. When the long piece is ½ inch in diameter, cut into ¾ inch pieces. Take each piece and roll it over the tines of a fork, while pressing your thumb into the other side, or use a gnocchi board if you have one. Transfer to jelly roll pan.
- Repeat with 3 remaining pieces of dough.
- BROWN BUTTER SAGE SAUCE:
- In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt butter and swirl every so often until it becomes brown, and smells nutty. Remove butter from pan, but return pan to stove top. Add minced sage and salt to butter, and stir to combine. Set aside.
- In a large stock pot, bring 6 quarts of salted water to boil. Add gnocchi and stir once so they don't stick to the bottom. Once they float to the top, put saucepan that you made the browned butter sauce in over medium heat. Add gnocchi to the sauce pan and brown for about a minute on each side. You may have to do this two batches if the pan gets too crowded. Be sure to remove ALL the gnocchi once they float, and then wait to brown the second batch. If you leave the second batch in the water, they'll get gummy.
- Remove browned gnocchi to plate and drown in reserved, browned butter sage sauce.
This recipe was adapted from Cook’s Illustrated