Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

I cannot express to you the sheer genius of this dish, for both it’s thrilling simplicity and for its ability to make me salivate Pavlov-style every time it crosses my mind. I am not exaggerating in my assertion that this is possibly the best weeknight dinner ever.

This is likely to be at least partly due to the fact that brown butter is my secret lover. Yes, since I discovered it – in it’s toasty, golden lusciousness – I have been entangled in a turbulent affair consisting of one breathtaking, buttery moment in the kitchen after another. *Don’t tell Adarsh. I try to play it cool around him when brown butter is present.

Please – go do the following, it will change your life. Go lop off a hunk of butter, park it in a frying pan, and watch the magic as it goes from yellowy, frothing, buttery-ness to a clear, brown liquid with an intoxicatingly sweet and nutty aroma. Toss in some hot gnocchi, or fettuccine, or your butter-vehicle of choice. But for goodness sake, toss something in. Quickly. Or you may find yourself lapping it straight from the pan. And you don’t want to be caught in that position.

You can follow my lead and stir some fresh sage into the pan to brown with the butter, followed by boiled, drained gnocchi, some sautéed ½ inch pieces of butternut squash, a splash of chicken broth, and a sprinkling of grated parmesan. With the first nutty bite of chewy, buttery gnocchi that melts in your mouth, you will want to shower me with love and pretty presents.

Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

  • 1 lb (500g) prepared gnocchi (homemade, if ambitious, or packaged)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 20 fresh sage leaves, or 1 tsp dried
  • 4 tbsp chicken stock
  • Grated parmesan cheese for serving, optional

1. Cook gnocchi in large pot of salted, boiling water until they float to the surface. Drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat until melted. Add sage, and continue cooking until butter turns a clear, dark amber (being careful not to burn). Add chicken stock to butter.

3. Add drained gnocchi to skillet with butter and stock, tossing to coat evenly.

4. Season with salt and pepper, and top with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

*Optional: Cut 1 lb butternut squash in 1/4 inch cubes and saute in 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until tender and slightly browned. Add with gnocchi to browned butter and toss.

As a final step, prepare self for brown butter-induced euphoria and, possibly, a turbulent love affair.

Last Updated on January 31, 2009 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

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