Ricotta Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Sage Sauce

I had a lovely dinner the other night at The Cabin, a gorgeous small bar/small plate restaurant in Mt Hawthorn. The menu was comparatively compact and the dishes didn’t scream out at me to order them but when we took fork to food, everyone was suitably impressed. One dish that made us all swoon was “Straccetti pasta, toasted pine nuts, brown butter, sage and shaved Manjimup truffle”. The truffle was the dealmaker for me but all the other ingredients came together wonderfully too and I could have happily eaten the whole serve myself. But I didn’t :)

Ricotta Gnocchi
For Father’s Day weekend, I decided to try making something similar. I fell in love with spinach and ricotta gnocchi when I had it many years ago at Cream in East Perth. I found the perfect recipe for it and I usually paired it with a simple, fresh tomato and basil sauce. This time I figured I’d marry the gnocchi (sans spinach) with a classic brown butter and sage sauce, pinenuts and truffles, à la The Cabin.

Ricotta Gnocchi
The gnocchi is blessedly easy to make and once you have cooked them, you can put them to one side until you’re ready to serve them up. These gnocchis also don’t involve old, floury potatoes (which I never, ever seem to have on hand when I want to make tradtional gnocchi) so they are lovely and light. Getting the right consistency can be a little tricky (especially if you are using spinach) but my rule of thumb is to produce a gnocchi dough that is just easy enough to handle but tricky enough for you to get somewhat flustered over it. This weekend’s batch was a little too easy to move around and thus ended up not as fluffy but still much lighter than a traditional gnocchi. I guess it’s up to each person’s taste anyway.

As for the truffle, I had definitely wanted to use some in a recipe this month so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I wasn’t going to try anything too ambitious with truffle, given it’s $250 per kilo. Perhaps next season! If not for this idea, I probably would have done a linguini showered in shaved parmesan and truffle, and olive oil of course. I’m also hoping to try a rich mushroom and truffle pasta sauce that hubby and I had in Thredbo one year. For the time being however, I think I’d be comfortable serving this up to dinner guests :)

Ricotta Gnocchi

Ricotta Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Sage Sauce

250g fresh, semi-drained ricotta (let ricotta sit on some paper towels to remove excess moisture)
200g finely grated Parmesan cheese (you can use Romano also)
1 cup of plain flour (put in 3/4 cup first and add more flour according to preferred consistency)
1 egg
1 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg

3-4 tbsp unsalted butter
8-10 sage leaves
a squeeze of lemon
1 tbsp of pinenuts
pinch of salt

Extra Parmesan, shaved truffle and salt/pepper to finish

To Make: Place all ingredients into your preferred mixer and combine until doughy. If the mixture is so sticky that you cannot handle it at all, then add remaining flour. If you can make a ball out of the dough, then add a small amount of flour. Roll out dough onto floured surface and prepare gnocchi to your preference. I simply rolled the dough into logs and chopped into chunks. With a stickier mixture, you may need to make round gnocchi pieces by hand. If your mixture is sticky, refrigerate gnocchi for 10 minutes before cooking. Prepare large pot of boiling water. Add gnocchi in batches and cook until they start floating up to the top. Scoop out gnocchi with slotted spoon and set aside once all done.

Prepare sauce by adding butter to a small pan and warming gently until it starts to brown. Be mindful that milk solids will darken and separate but should sink to the bottom mostly at serving time. Remove butter from heat and add sage leaves which will sizzle and cook gently in the heat. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pinenuts.

Sautee required number of gnocchi in frypan with olive oil until surface is golden. Add a little of the brown butter and sage sauce and combine. Serve gnocchi on plate and drizzle more of sauce on top. Add some extra Parmesan and shaved truffle if desired.



  1. Emma @CakeMistress

    September 6, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Oh I loooooooove gnocchi so much. I have to make this for dinner soon, especially with that delicate brown butter sauce, instead of the tomato I drown mine in :)

    • Monica

      September 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      Please do! It’s a nice change from potato gnocchi which I usually find hard going after a few pieces. I might add that it freezes well with no change in quality during cooking :)

  2. Tenina

    October 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I love Ricotta gnocchi, so much lighter than the potato variety…and browned butter and sage? Cant go past it!

    • Monica

      October 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm

      It is lighter isn’t it? Makes the accompanying sauce more enjoyable too :)

  3. ThermomixBlogger Helene

    October 7, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Me too, me too! I’m on it for sure. What’s not to love about this? I might have to sneak in a bit of pumkin/squash into the gnocchi dough because I have so much in the garden at this time. That would work perfectly with the butter/sage sauce also. (No truffles at my house, but I do have the truffle oil in my secret hiding place…)

    • Monica

      October 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      Oh delicious! I’d love a surplus of homegrown pumpkin! It would definitely go well with the brown butter and sage :)

  4. Dan

    September 9, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Great recipe although I would not recommend leaving the gnocchi to one side once cooked. You really need to mix the sauce through as soon as the gnocchi is ready otherwise it will start to stick together and turn gluggy (this is a tip from my 76 yo Italian mum!)

    • Moni

      September 20, 2013 at 11:46 am

      Hello! Thanks for visiting and for sharing a tip. I think I have been told that you need to use the gnocchi up fast or at least keep them in a moist place like a bowl of warm water? I can see how this would be important with potato gnocchi in particular :)

  5. lolalavita

    March 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Hi. Can you please tell me if this serving is enough for a family of four or should I double the quantities?

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