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Ricotta Gnocchi in Brown Butter Sage Sauce

I made gnocchi once before, last year.  They were terrible–heavy on the inside and strangely wet and slimy on the outside.  Never having had gnocchi before, I had nothing to compare it to, and still I was fairly certain that was not how they were intended to taste.

At least I was right about that.

However, desperate times call for desperate measures, and I had an egg yolk and ricotta cheese that needed to be used up yesterday.  Quick google search later, and ricotta gnocchi was the solution I needed.  I just had to risk it one more time.

And I am so glad I did!  Gnocchi can be light and fluffy and delicious!

Ricotta Gnocchi in Brown Butter Sage Sauce (from the blog The Little Teochew)

for the gnocchi:

  • 1 C ricotta
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 30 g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 C flour (give or take a few tablespoons)

for the sauce:

  • 2 T butter
  • 1 t dried sage leaves (preferably whole)
  • salt to taste

Start a big pot of water to boil, since you’ll want it to be hot hot hot once the gnocchi are ready.

Combine the ricotta cheese, egg yolk, Parmesan cheese, and salt in a medium bowl and mix.  Slowly add the flour–use as little as you can and still make it possible to roll it out.  The less flour you use, the lighter and fluffier the gnocchi.  Also be careful not to over mix.  It’s okay if the gnocchi dough is still sticky when you roll it out–you can dust a bit of flour on your hands to make it easier.

I dusted the table and my hands and rolled the dough into five thin ropes (about thumb size).

I flattened them just a tad, and cut them into one inch-sized pieces.


I then pressed a fork into them in an attempt to make them look more attractive.  Worth that step, I think.

Once the gnocchi are rolled, dump them into the vigorously boiling water.  They should sink and then float to the top after a minute or two–they’re done!  Scoop them out and let them drain before serving hot.

I followed the blogs instructions to brown them in a dry skillet before serving–I thought it made them look nicer, and would give them a better texture as well.  Up to you.

To make the sauce, simply brown the butter in a small skillet over medium heat and crush in the sage leaves.  Season with salt to taste and drizzle just a little over the top of the gnocchi.  With a butter sauce like this (especially on a heavy gnocchi!) a little goes a long way.  No need to drown ’em, or you’ll have a few forkfuls and never want to eat again.

It’s also worth mentioning that a serving size of these is not that many.  This recipe would have served 4 people nicely, with a side salad or some other nice and light veggie.  They are deceptively filling, these gnocchi.

So for my second time ever eating gnocchi, I’d say it was a much better experience–definitely something I’d try again.

Fritz says they were perfect.  Rare compliment from him.


Speaking of Fritz, he brought his clinic coat home from school because the pocket needs to be mended.  Henry has taken up residence inside the cave it created behind the chair.

I’m almost positive that he really thinks we can’t see him.

“Where have I been?  Oh, you know–just around.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.fullmeasureofhappiness.com/2012/01/28/ricotta-gnocchi-in-brown-butter-sage-sauce/


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  1. Bernadette

    It’s getting so, I look for Henry before I read your recipes. He is such a beautiful and photogenic cat! Just want to give him a big smooch!

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      I won’t tell him you said that…his head is already big enough as it is :)

  2. Rachel @ Bakerita

    This recipe looks so good! I’ve been terrified of gnocchi, but this recipe looks totally do-able. I’ll definitely be trying these out soon…yum!

  3. MyFudo

    Had no luck making gnochi before. I can’t come up with the perfect texture. Something wrong somewhere. I may just give it another try, using this cheesy version. Thanks for posting!

  4. Susan Sunde

    Lauren, I tried gnocchi this weekend, too. It was a package of whole wheat and sweet potato gnocchi I bought at World Market. It sounded good, but it wasn’t. And I didn’t really want to have spaghetti sauce on it. I concluded that gnocchi was just not for me. However, yours looks yummy. I think I’ll give it a try.

    Also, I’m in love with Henry!

  5. Nuts about food

    I have lived in Italy for a long long time now and have never had or heard of ricotta gnocchi. So thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Paula @ Spoons n Spades

    Oh, I love finding new ideas for gnocchi as it’s one of my favourite foods. Yours looks absolutely delicious, will give it a try!

  7. Michelle

    This really does make enough for at least 4. Too much for little old bacholerette me. Do you think these would freeze?

    I also found browning them in a dry skillet impossible. They stuck to the pan and lost their shape. I ended up browning them IN the butter sauce. That worked perfectly!

    A successful gnocchi! Yum! Thanks :)

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      I’m not sure about freezing them…I think they’d work! Glad they worked in the butter sauce :)

  8. cookingIsMyPassion

    I LOVE your little tidbits about your cat. that picture where he’s hiding and your comment made me laugh out loud. your blog hits so close to home- about loving food, having a love-hate relationship with it and your body…. i love your blog and im so happy i found it. keep up the awesome :)

    1. Lauren Zietsman

      thanks, so glad to have you!!

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