Years ago, when I was the restaurant critic for Las Vegas Life magazine, I reviewed a restaurant at the Bellagio Hotel called Olives. It was Boston restaurateur Todd English’s Mediterranean-style Vegas eatery and I really loved it. I especially loved his dish of gnocchi in brown butter and sage sauce. It’s a wonderful autumn/winter dish and it is easy to make at home. Of course, at Olives it was made with homemade gnocchi, but you can use store-bought pasta to simplify the dish. Be gentle with the butter; you want to brown it lightly, not burn it. Also, although it’s called brown butter “sauce,” it’s really just a light coating, more akin to dressing, not a thick, heavy sauce.
- 1 lb. Italian-style gnocchi
- Kosher salt
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter (the better the butter quality, the better the sauce will be)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- A dozen or so fresh sage leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- First, cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a slow boil and add the gnocchi. Cook gently, stirring, until the gnocchi floats to the top of the water. This will probably only take 2-3 minutes.
- Drain the gnocchi well in a colander. You could use the gnocchi now, but I like to allow it to dry in a single layer on a kitchen towel so the gnocchi isn’t starchy and doesn’t stick to the saucepan.
- Over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet.
- When the butter is hot and bubbly and starting to turn golden colored, add the sage leaves and stir, crisping them a bit.
- Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan and stir, browning the gnocchi a little. Try not to burn the butter! Season with black pepper, to taste.
- Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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