I have a soft spot for gnocchi, those little italian dumplings most commonly made with potato. And Sage butter . . . Swoon! Gnocchi is actually very easy to make at home (if you have some time on your hands), and the secret ingredient here is ricotta cheese — it makes these dumplings lighter in texture. If you’re not into kumara, pumpkin is a tasty alternative.
Makes: 4 serves
Takes: 30 minutes to prep; 10 minutes to cook
2 large kumara
200g ricotta cheese, drained in a sieve for 2 hours
1 cup freshly grated parmesan + extra for serving
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups plain flour, approximately
handful fresh sage leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method: To make the gnocchi, place the kumara on a microwave-proof plate and microwave on high for about 10 minutes until tender, turning halfway, or cook in boiling salted water until soft. Cut in half and allow to cool. Scrape out the flesh and mash; you should have 3 cups.
Add the drained ricotta and blend well. Mix in the parmesan, brown sugar, salt and nutmeg. Mix in the flour, about 1⁄2 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. You may not need all of the flour, depending on the consistency of your dough.
Working on a floured surface, knead the dough lightly and divide into four equal pieces. Form each piece into a long roll, about 2cm in diameter. Cut into 2cm long pieces. You can roll the tines of a fork over each piece to add grooves if you want.
Line a baking tray with baking paper and sprinkle with a little flour. Transfer the freshly made gnocchi onto the tray.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Working in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the pan, boil the gnocchi for 3–4 minutes until tender. They will rise to the surface when cooked. Transfer the cooked gnocchi to a clean baking tray. Reserve 1⁄2 cup of the cooking liquid.
To make the sage butter, melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a medium- high heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until the butter solids have started to brown, and you can smell the nutty aroma. Add the sage leaves and swirl lightly for about 1 minute, until the leaves are just beginning to crisp. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
Toss the cooked gnocchi and reserved cooking liquid through the sage butter and serve with a dusting of freshly grated Parmesan.