Tender potato dumplings flecked with bits of browned butter, red pepper confetti, Parmesan cheese and crispy fried sage leaves. My gnocchi with sage brown butter sauce is pure comfort food. Growing up, I used to love to eat gnocchi tossed with melted butter and grated Parmesan. The light, squishy texture is what I remember most. Fueled by nostalgia, I’ve attempted to make gnocchi at home many times over the years. Sometimes with fantastic results. Other times, not so much. The deceivingly simply ingredient list (potato, flour, egg, salt) may lead you to believe that this is an easy recipe. But this is not an easy recipe. Nor is it a hard one. Mastering the art of gnocchi-making simply takes practice. You may fail on your first attempt, but I urge you to keep trying. It’s all worth it once you take that first bite of pillowy potato deliciousness.
I learned how to make Italian gnocchi before I even knew how to say it (nyo-key, for those non-Italian), but shortly thereafter I also learned that you can buy frozen gnocchi in a lot of grocery stores. Gnocchi can be made from potatoes, semolina, flour, or a combination of these, but in all cases it literally cooks in a few minutes. This recipe is for potato gnocchi with butter and cheese, a recipe that you can easily make even richer by adding a few sage leaves. Sage belongs to the mint family and is very aromatic, but it isn’t quite minty. It can be found with the rest of the herbs in the produce section. Romano cheese has a very sharp flavor, so if you aren’t partial to it, substitute parmesan or use less than the recipe calls for. A nice little shortcut here is buying the already grated romano, instead of grating a big romano block yourself. I hope you’ll enjoy this traditional Italian recipe as much as I normally do!