Saturday, 28 September 2013

Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms, Garlic and Sage in a Brown Butter Sauce



Before I go any further, I just want to confess right up front that I did not make this gnocchi from scratch. Quite often recipes are made from scratch on the blog but this is an exception. One of these days I would love to show you how to make potato gnocchi. It's actually just cooked, starchy potato mixed with a little flour, egg yolk, seasoning, and Parmigiano Reggiano. It's worked (only just enough) into a dough, then rolled into ropes and cut into little pieces. They are like soft, fluffy pillows of carbohydrate heaven. You don't necessarily have to use potatoes to make gnocchi, either. I've seen corn gnocchi, butternut squash gnocchi, even ricotta gnocchi. It's not pasta, they are more like dumplings, however there are "gnocchi-shaped pasta shells" so be sure you know the difference.

Anyway, I had some factory made potato gnocchi in my pantry and had a hankering for this earthy, autumn dish and decided to share a bit of it on the blog. Gnocchi's job is to carry sauce. You can make just about any sauce from tomato, pesto, cream, garlic and olive oil... but a very popular (and indulgent) choice is brown butter. Brown butter is just regular butter that is melted and cooked slowly so that it doesn't burn but goes golden brown and takes on a fragrant, nutty aroma. Fresh sage is the perfect accompaniment for it. In fact gnocchi with brown butter and sage alone would be fantastic!

To add a bit more flavour and texture I added some common button mushrooms, a portobello mushroom and a little minced garlic. I sautéed the mushrooms separately in a little butter and olive oil for a few minutes until they were brown and flavourful. Then I melted some butter and kept it at a low simmer while it browned. During that time I added some minced garlic and fresh leaves of sage. The garlic and sage braises more than fries due to the gentleness of the cooking. The smell is out of this world!

Gnocchi is very easy to cook. Fill a large pot with salted water and bring it up to a simmer. Dump the gnocchi in and wait a couple of minutes until they begin to float. When they float you can take them out. So when my gnocchi had floated I removed them with a slotted spoon to strain most of the water away and threw them into the butter, garlic and sage. I cranked the heat up just for a minute to get a little texture on the outside of the gnocchi. Then I served with some fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano.


This is not the healthiest or most colourful dish you'll see on the blog but if you want to indulge on a stupendous, comforting, aromatic and vegetarian dish I really recommend this one. 

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