Ricotta gnocchi (gnudi) with sage leaf brown butter and creme fraiche
I have had a couple of dinners out this week and both times selected the gnocchi dishes on the menu. One of these was at Waterfront Wines, probably my choice for top restaurant in Kelowna. Chef Mark Filatow works his magic in the kitchen and it’s always special to go there. The dish I ordered was not called gnocchi, it was described as house made ricotta cavatelli with grana padano and sage brown butter and served with silky carrot and fennel sauce, spring greens, beluga lentils and cascade tomatoes. It was perfect. To be honest, I am not that easy to please at restaurants. I have been there and done that and look for dishes that are simple and fresh. This dish was both, but don’t be fooled by the word simple. The simplicity I am talking about is the ultimate sophistication.
I have made gnocchi before but not in a while so it was time to make it again. Gnocchi is not hard to make so don’t shy away from it. Also, when we cook at home we prepare food for ourselves, our family and friends we invite to our home, so no one is expecting Filatow calibre foods. We are home cooks.
Making gnocchi falls into line with where my mind is now. With our trip coming up in a month Italy is on my mind. I am trying to register to a couple of cooking classes in Milan, a gnocchi class and a stuffed pasta class, but having some difficulty doing it. When I try to pay for the classes it seems to empty my virtual “basket” and won’t let me pay. I called the school and was asked to email them, which I have done, but received no response. I am determined to finalize the registration this week come gnocchi or high water and I may have to recruit my Italian teacher Gian Marco Litrico to help me with this.
1 500g container ricotta
2 egg yolks
1 1/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups flour or as needed
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup creme fraiche
Sage leaf brown butter:
1/2 cup butter
10 sage leaves
A squeeze of lemon optional
Place ricotta, egg yolks, parmesan and some salt and pepper in a bowl and stir with a spatula.
Add 1 cup flour and mix until a sticky dough forms.
Turn dough onto a parchment sheet or your counter and knead, adding just enough flour so the dough sticks together. Too much flour will make the gnocchi heavy.
Divide the dough into four pieces.
Roll each piece into a log about an inch in diameter.
Cut each log into 3/4-1 inch pieces.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add salt.
Drop the gnocchi into the water in batches and cook until they float to the surface. Let them dance around for a minute or so and taste one to check if they are cooked through. When ready, remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
Melt the butter in a large skillet and cook until it begins to turn golden brown. Be careful not to burn it. You can skim off the milk solids to make clarified butter.
When the butter is golden add the sage leaves and cook for a minute, then remove the leaves and set on a plate.
Add the squeeze of lemon, gnocchi and walnuts to the butter and toss around gently for a couple of minutes.
Spoon the gnocchi into bowls, top with a few sage leaves and sprinkle with additional grated parmesan.
Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.