Monday, July 25, 2011

Ricotta Gnocchi in Sage Brown Butter

Last Wednesday was one of those extra-crazy, hectic evenings.  Mealtime rolled around and there was nothing even remotely ready to sit down for.  Quick! Feed the kids whatever randomness you can gather from the fridge!  Never mind that it doesn't entirely cover all the food groups and your five-year-old goes to bed wailing that he didn't get to eat "real dinner."  Jay and I agreed that I would put together something for us once the little darlings were tucked away for the night.

Once the kids were in bed, I set to work on a dish I had been wanting to try for awhile.  It made use of the remaining container of ricotta cheese I had used to make Summer Lasagna the week before and some fresh sage leaves I actually happen to be (trying) to grow this year.  I put on a pot of water to boil, browned some butter and within a short time, we were settled on the couch in front of the tv together with our respective pasta dishes (what a treat nowadays since having kids--the whole eating in front of the t.v.--for our family, that is).  Traditionally, "gnocchi" are little dumplings made from potatoes and flour and served with pesto or pasta sauce.  That said, gnocchi (which translates literally into "lumps") can actually be made from many ingredients.  These Ricotta Gnocchi were incredibly simple to make and are creamy and light, Italian comfort food.  I served them with sage brown butter, as recommended by Mark Bittman, the recipe's author.  You don't have to wait for a night when the kids are already in bed to make them (I would think they would be kid friendly--especially if they got to help), but I don't blame you if you do. 

Ricotta Gnocchi
1 15 ounce container ricotta cheese (preferably whole milk)
1 1/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese (this is a time where freshly shredded improves things greatly)
2 eggs, beaten
freshly ground black pepper
3/4-1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
8-10 fresh sage leaves

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  In the meantime, in a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese and Parmesan.  Mix in eggs and stir until well combined.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add in 1/2 cup flour, adding more until mixture comes together in a very sticky dough.  Put one spoonful of dough into the boiling water.  If the dough holds its shape while it boils, the dough is ready, if not, add more flour.

Put the butter in a large skillet and melt it over medium heat.  Continue to cook butter until it becomes a nutty brown color.  Add the sage leaves and fry in the butter until crispy looking (just a minute or so).  Turn heat to low and just keep warm.

Place spoonfuls of the dough (working in batches of about six at a time) into the boiling water.  When gnocchi rise to the surface, remove from water with a slotted spoon and add to the skillet with the sage butter.  Continue to boil gnocchi and transfer to skillet until dough is used up.  Once all the gnocchi are in the skillet, toss with the sage brown butter, taste and adjust seasoning as needed and serve immediately.
Serves 4

Source: Ricotta Cheese Gnocchi by Mark Bittman


  1. sounds like a great variation on the traditional gnocchi! thanks!

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