Anna Jones’ gnocchi in sage butter recipe | The Modern Cook (2024)

Sage is a herb I return to at this time of year. It partners all the things I want to eat now: cheesy polenta, potato cakes, fried eggs, roast squash, plump gnocchi. As a young chef, I learned how to fry a sage leaf until properly crisp. It is a simple but precise little job, so I have included it here as a recipe in its own right, with some things I love to top with it. Sage advice, you might say.

Potato gnocchi with greens and sage (pictured above)

Gnocchi may sound like it’s laborious to make, but it is easier than it seems, and these light little dumplings bathed in buttery sage are worth a little loving labour.

Prep 10 min
Cook 2 hr 20 min
Serves 4-6

1.5kg medium floury potatoes (such as maris piper)
50g rock salt
70g ‘00’ pasta flour
1 good grating fresh nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1 small bunch crisp sage leaves (see below)
25g butter or olive oil
1 head (250g) cavolo nero or winter greens
50g parmesan or vegetarian Italian hard cheese
Zest of 1 lemon

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Wash and pat dry the potatoes, then pierce all over with a fork. Scatter the rock salt into a roasting tin, sit the potatoes on top and bake for one and a half to two hours, until soft. When the potatoes are ready, take them out of the oven and leave to cool until you can handle them.

It’s important you dothe next step while they are still warm – but be careful not to burn yourself. Halve the potatoes, scoop out the flesh, mash the potato flesh with a potato ricer or by passing it through a coarse sieve, then put on a clean work surface and sprinkle over the flour. Season well and grate over the nutmeg. Make a well in the centre, pour in the egg and gradually work to a soft dough. Take care not to overwork the mixture though: just knead until everything is just-combined or the gnocchi will be tough.

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Take a teaspoon of the mixture and drop it into the boiling water to check it holds together. If it doesn’t, you may need to add a little more flour and test your dough again.

When you’re happy, cut the dough into four pieces, roll each into long sausage shapes about 2cm thick, then cut each sausage into 3cm lengths. You can cook your gnocchi straight away or store them in the fridge on a tray for up to 24 hours.

Follow the recipe below to fry the sage leaves until crisp, then drain on kitchen paper. Put the sage pan back on a medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and the butter, then add the greens and cook for four to five minutes, stirring until wilted.

Reduce the pan of water to a brisk simmer. To cook the gnocchi, drop in batches into the pan and cook until they rise to the surface – about two and a half minutes. Use a slotted spoon to add the gnocchi straight into the greens pan and leave to take on some of the butter. Save some of the pasta cooking water.

Finely grate most of the parmesan and lemon zest over the gnocchi, toss well, add 100ml cooking water and reduce to a thick sauce. Divide the gnocchi between two to four plates, grate over the remaining parmesan and finish with a little drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.

Perfectly crisp sage leaves

This is really a technique rather than a recipe, and one I do on repeat. I use butter and oil, because I like the taste as the butter begins to brown, but olive oil will work in place of the butter.

Anna Jones’ gnocchi in sage butter recipe | The Modern Cook (1)

Prep 5 min
Cook 1 min
Makes a jarful

1 bunch fresh sage
1 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter, or 3 tbsp olive oil
Coarse salt

Pinch the sage leaves off their stems. Heat a pan over a medium high heat, add the oil and heat a little before adding the butter.

When the butter has melted and begins to sizzle, add the sage leaves – in batches so you don’t crowd the pan – and cook until they are dark brown and crisp – this should take 20-30 seconds. You can turn the leaves carefully with tongs if you need to.

The leaves will turn a deeper, darker green when they are done. Once you see this, use a slotted spoon to transfer them quickly to a plate lined with kitchen roll, and sprinkle generously with coarse salt.

Ways to serve

Anna Jones’ gnocchi in sage butter recipe | The Modern Cook (2024)


How do you cook pre bought gnocchi? ›

Bring a large pot water to a boil; add 1 tablespoon salt. Add half of the gnocchi; when they rise to the top (after about 2 minutes), continue to cook until tender, about 15 seconds more.

Does gnocchi have to be boiled before baking? ›

It comes together on a single baking sheet in right around 30 minutes. No boiling required!

Can you cook gnocchi in sauce instead of boiling? ›

A perfect quick and easy weeknight dinner recipe, the mini gnocchi is cooked directly in the vodka sauce, no pre-boiling necessary (which means less dishes for you!)

Do I need to boil frozen gnocchi before frying? ›

You can skip the boiling when frying your gnocchi. However, if you prefer your gnocchi a touch softer, you could boil it first and then pan fry them for about 3-5 minutes instead of the full time to brown. If making this as a full meal, this will serve 2-3.

How do you spice up store bought gnocchi? ›

After your gnocchi is cooked and drained, you can toss it with any sauce and/or vegetables you want. Store bought gnocchi is great with marinara, pesto, bolognese ragu, sun-dried tomato sauce – and this tomato-mushroom sauce, of course.

How long does store bought gnocchi take to cook? ›

(To re-hydrate, most packages recommend boiling the gnocchi for about three minutes before saucing, topping, and eating.)

Is it better to boil or fry gnocchi? ›

Boiled gnocchi can be a bit stodgy, a bit slimy, a bit heavy… fried gnocchi is perfectly crispy and fluffy and light and toasty and all sorts of other lovely adjectives.

What is the best way to cook gnocchi? ›

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then turn down to a simmer, and tip in half the gnocchi. Stir, then wait for them to rise to the surface. Count slowly to 10, then remove with a slotted spoon, and tip into whatever sauce you're using.

How do you cook gnocchi so it is not mushy? ›

Always bake potatoes in their skins to make gnocchi from. It removes maximum moisture from the potato. Don't bake them in advance as you need to use them as soon as they come out of the oven. Juggling hot potatoes is not easy but if you leave them to cool the starch changes and your gnocchi will be inedible.

Can you pan fry gnocchi? ›

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and a little knob of butter in a large frying pan over medium - high heat. Fry the gnocchi for 5 - 6 minutes in a single layer, turning often until golden brown and crisp on the outside. Turn the heat down if they get dark too quick. Pop them on a paper towel when done.

What should you not do when making gnocchi? ›

Don't overwork the dough: When making gnocchi dough, it's important not to overwork it. Overworking the dough can make the gnocchi tough and chewy. Mix the ingredients together just until the dough comes together, and then stop mixing! You're not kneading bread here.

Why is my gnocchi falling apart when boiling? ›

Test the Gnocchi:

Right after making your dough, cut off a small, bite-size piece of gnocchi, roll it over a gnocchi board if you wish, and boil it until tender. If it stays together, it's good to go! If it disintegrates, you need more flour.

Do Italians fry gnocchi? ›

But what's really interesting about gnocchi is the different ways in which it's made throughout Italy. They can be boiled, baked or fried; bouncy, chewy or crunchy and studded with various herbs, spices or vegetables.

How do you know when gnocchi is done? ›

Poach gnocchi in batches in a pan of lightly salted water for 2-4 minutes. Cooked gnocchi will float to the top. Strain and serve immediately with a good pasta sauce. See our how to make gnocchi guide for more information.

How do you heat packaged gnocchi? ›

First, you'll want to reheat your gnocchi properly. For best results, preheat your oven to 350℉ and place the gnocchi on an oven-safe dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through. Alternatively, you can boil water in a pot and add the gnocchi when it reaches a rolling boil.

Can you cook store bought gnocchi in oven? ›

Toss them directly from the package onto a sheet pan with a slew of veggies, roast them for 20 minutes, scoop into bowls, and dig in. Seriously — that's it. If you're craving something a little more cheesy and creamy, drop some freshly torn burrata onto the baked gnocchi.

How to pan fry store bought gnocchi? ›

Instructions. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium skillet and carefully mix in the packaged gnocchi until every dumpling is nice and glossy. Toast the gnocchi for 5-7 minutes until golden brown and plump and the butter is absorbed. Careful you don't brown it too much or the exterior gets a little too crunchy.

How long is vacuum packed gnocchi good for? ›

Packaged gnocchi is vacuum-sealed and can be found in the pasta section of most grocery stores and co-ops. It's shelf-stable and will keep in the cupboard for at least six months. Once the package is opened, wrap in plastic, and store in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze.


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