Behind the Scenes

See How Chef Elana Makes Her Special Brown Butter Gnocchi

Chef’s Counter: expert info from our culinary pros.

This brown butter gnocchi recipe is the real deal. After learning the proper technique from a real Sicilian nonna in Italy about 10 years ago, Chef Elana shares a dish that’s near and dear to her heart. Tossed with a light yet fragrant brown butter and sage sauce, this dinner makes homemade pasta look easier than ever.

Recreate this incredible meal using Chef Elana’s recipe below. Serves 2 + 2 leftovers.

1 pound russet potatoes
1 large egg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and dusting
5 sprigs of fresh sage
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Step 1
Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork and microwave until tender, 8 to 12 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Step 2
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat for the gnocchi.

Step 3
Halve the potatoes lengthwise and carefully scoop out the flesh into a large bowl (discard the skins). Add the egg and flour. Knead by hand until the mixture is fully combined and it reaches a dough-like consistency. If thee dough is too wet, knead in more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Form the potato mixture into a ball and turn it out onto a dry, flour-dusted surface. Cut the dough into four equal portions.

Step 4
Dust a clean, dry surface lightly with flour. Roll one portion of the dough into a rope about 1/2 inch thick. As you roll, allow your fingers to widen (think jazz hands!) helping the dough spread out evenly. Then, cut the rope crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces. Repeat with the remaining 3 portions of dough.

Step 5
Thinly slice the sage leaves. In a large non-stick pan, heat the butter and sage together over medium-high heat, constantly swirling until the butter is nutty, fragrant and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Step 6
Working in batches, add the gnocchi and a generous pinch of salt to the pot of boiling water. Boil until they float to the top, 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, return the pan with butter to low heat. Carefully scoop out the gnocchi using a slotted spoon or spider, reserving the pasta cooking water. Transfer half the gnocchi to the pan with the butter.

[Transfer half the remaining gnocchi to a medium bowl and set aside to cool. Once cool, drizzle with olive oil and save for leftovers. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap for up to two days.]

Step 7
Warm the gnocchi in the brown butter until well coasted and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sauce clings to the gnocchi. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in half the Parmesan cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Step 8
Serve the gnocchi with the remaining Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Enjoy!

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