Introduction: Gnocchi With Browned Butter, Sage, and Romano Cheese
Sounds complicated, doesn't it? It isn't! I learned how to make gnocchi before I even knew how to say it (nyo-key), but shortly thereafter I also learned that you can buy frozen gnocchi in a lot of grocery stores. Gnocchi can be made from potatoes, semolina, flour, or a combination of these, but in all cases it literally cooks in a few minutes. This recipe is for potato gnocchi, which can be found in the frozen section next to all the frozen pastas. At my local grocery store, bags sell for 99 cents! So, this is a very cost-effective meal. Browned butter is made easily by heating butter a little bit longer than you would to melt it. Sage belongs to the mint family and is very aromatic, but it isn't quite minty. It can be found with the rest of the herbs in the produce section. Romano cheese has a very sharp flavor, so if you aren't partial to it, substitute parmesan or use less than the recipe calls for. A nice little shortcut here is buying the already grated romano, instead of grating a big romano block yourself.
Step 1: Prepare
Although two pots on the stove implies a difficult, time-consuming recipe, rest assure that the cook time is minimal. You will need a large pasta pot, a small saucepan, a slotted spoon, a medium-sized bowl, knife, cutting board, wooden spoon, and measuring cup. Take a look at the accompanying photos to see what the ingredients are.
1 16-oz (1 lb) bag of frozen potato gnocchi
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup grated romano cheese
salt and pepper
Step 2: Boiling
Boil a large pot of salted water. Now you will proceed to prepare the rest of the recipe.
Step 3: Chop Sage
Wash about 2 sage leaves and chop, measuring out a teaspoon. Set aside.
Step 4: Melt Butter
Browning butter sounds intimidating, but it's very simple. Toss 2 tbsp of butter into a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until butter turns golden brown (2-3 minutes). When it is approaching the golden brown color, it will begin to crackle more as it bubbles. As soon as it becomes the golden brown color I've depicted below, remove from heat.
Step 5: Add Sage to Butter
Now you will add the sage to butter. When you do so, it will bubble and crackle a lot. I usually don't do this, but you can wear an oven mitt at this time, in case you're worried. Stir, put on the lid, and set aside to keep warm.
Step 6: Is That Water Boiling Yet?
By now, your water should be close to boiling. When it's boiling, remove the lid, and pour in the gnocchi. To prevent splashing, I use a slotted spoon to place them in the pot. It takes a little more time, but I'm not a fan of boiling water burns.
Step 7: Removing the Gnocchi
What I love about gnocchi is that it's so simple to know when they are done. The gnocchi float to the top! As they do so, remove them with the slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Continue to do so until they are all out.
Step 8: Toss With Browned Butter and Sage!
Stir in the browned butter and sage. Doesn't it smell good???
Step 9: Add the Cheese
Then, add the 1/2 cup of romano cheese. If you haven't tried romano yet, I recommend tasting it before you put it in. Unfortunately, my boyfriend has some bad association from the taste from a previous meal in Europe, which I didn't know about. That made for an ignored bowl of gnocchi (that became unexpected leftovers for me the following day!). Stir together until it melts.
Step 10: Eat Your Gnocchi!
Eat up while it's still hot. This recipe only serves two, so double or triple as necessary. Yum!