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Traditional Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

Serves: Makes 4 servings


  • Brown butter sauce:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced sage leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for serving

  • Potato gnocchi:
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • ½ cup cake flour, plus more as needed
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for simmering


These classic Italian potato dumplings should be light and pillow-like in texture. After forming the gnocchi, cook within 2 to 3 hours or freeze for up to 1 month. To freeze, lay gnocchi on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, gently scrape them off the sheet pan and place in an airtight container. Once frozen, gnocchi can be dropped right into the boiling water to cook.

Preheat oven to 400°F. To make the gnocchi: Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork. Place the potatoes onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender, about 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Using a kitchen towel and paring knife, carefully peel the potatoes and immediately process potatoes with a potato ricer or food mill and evenly spread out on a clean flat surface or baking sheet.

Using a fine-mesh strainer, dust the potatoes evenly with flours. Drizzle egg and salt over and knead until you have smooth, cohesive dough, about 2 minutes. If the dough feels sticky, incorporate up to ¼-cup more cake flour. Set gnocchi aside, covered with a kitchen towel, to rest for twenty minutes.

Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and cut into quarters with a bench scraper. Roll each portion into a long rope, about ¾-inch in diameter. Using the bench scraper or a knife, cut the rope into ¾-inch long pieces. Set the cut gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel as you form the rest.

Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil and season generously with salt. To prepare brown butter sauce: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk solids turn golden brown and the butter takes on a nutty aroma. Stir in sherry vinegar and sage. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low.

Meanwhile, add gnocchi in batches to the simmering water and cook until they float to the surface, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked dumplings to the skillet with the sauce, gently stirring to coat with the butter and sage. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Transfer to warmed shallow pasta bowls or large rimmed serving platter; garnish generously with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and serve immediately.

Steps to Perfect Gnocchi: 1- We recommend russet potatoes for gnocchi; they are drier and fluffier than other potatoes. While Yukon Gold potatoes are also a common favorite because of their buttery flavor, they are easily over worked, resulting in a gummy consistency. 2- Always bake the potatoes instead of boiling them, this prevents the potatoes from becoming too wet (requiring more flour in the dough). You’ll also get more flavorful results, as some of the potato flavor is lost during boiling. 3- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, pass the potatoes through a potato ricer or food mill. This tool will produce a fluffier result and lighter gnocchi. Mashing will produce a thicker potato product resulting in heavier dough. 4- Be careful not to overmix the dough as it will make the gnocchi tough. Spread the riced potato evenly on a flat surface or baking sheet. Use a fine-mesh strainer to dust the flour over the potato before gently kneading into smooth dough. 5- Unbleached all-purpose flour will work just fine for making gnocchi. However, we have found that the addition of cake flour makes for an even lighter dumpling because of its lower protein content and finer texture. 6- Like any dough, gnocchi dough likes a rest. Time your gnocchi production to allow for a 20 minute rest before rolling out gnocchi. 7- Often you’ll see Italian gnocchi made by pressing the finished dough over a floured fork or ridged wooden gnocchi paddle which imparts grooves that help to trap the sauce on the gnocchi.

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