Though you need a decent chunk of time to make gnocchi, it's really not hard to do. The sage brown-butter sauce, on the other hand, comes together so quickly, you can prepare it in the few minutes it takes to cook the gnocchi.
The pay-off is worth the effort. The soft gnocchi and the nutty, toasted butter make for deeply satisfying comfort food. You can add toasted hazelnuts, walnuts, or pecans for a textural contrast and even more rich, nutty flavor, but the dish is simple and delicious without them.
- Active time: 50 minutes
- Total time:1 hour 50 minutes
- 2 pounds potatoes (about 4 medium baking potatoes, such as Russet and one medium waxy potato, like Yukon Gold)
- 1 whole egg, plus one egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more for adding to boiling water and for final seasoning
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh lemon juice, as needed
Preheat oven to 400°F.
With a fork, poke a few holes in each potato and spread the potatoes out on a baking sheet. Bake until potatoes are cooked through and tender, about 1 hour.
As soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still very warm, scoop out the flesh and pass it through a potato ricer or a food mill fitted with a small hole insert. Spread the potatoes onto a clean, cool, lightly floured surface.
Whisk together the eggs and salt together and drizzle over the riced potatoes. Sprinkle ¾ to 1 cup of the flour over the eggs. With a bench scraper, work the ingredients together, cutting into them and gathering them into a mass. Add flour to reduce stickiness.
When the mixture holds together, knead briefly, continuing to flour the work surface to prevent sticking and adding flour if the dough is sticky. As soon as the dough is smooth and soft and holds together, stop kneading and shape it into a thick log.
Working with ¼ of the dough at a time, roll the dough into long ½- to ¾-inch ropes. With the bench scraper, cut them into 1-inch-long pieces. Optionally, form ridges on the gnocchi by rolling them over the back of a dinner fork. Transfer the gnocchi to a lightly floured baking sheet while rolling out remaining dough.
At this point, you may refrigerate the uncooked gnocchi for up to 2 hours or freeze them on the baking sheet and then transfer them into a covered container and store in the freezer for several weeks.
Boil a large pot of water, add a generous pinch of salt, and blanch the gnocchi in two batches until they float. With a slotted spoon or spider, remove the gnocchi and spread on a baking sheet while brown-butter sauce finishes cooking. (Alternatively, you can shock the cooked gnocchi in ice water, remove and spread them onto a baking sheet, toss with a little olive oil, and refrigerate until needed.)
While the gnocchi are cooking, heat the butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted and beginning to bubble, add sage. Continue to cook until the solid particles in the butter have browned lightly and the sage is crisp. Add the cooked gnocchi, tossing to coat the pasta evenly with the sauce. Allow the gnocchi to brown lightly in some spots, remove from heat, add lemon juice, salt and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.