Spring is when many plants awaken from their Winter slumber and this is equally true for kitchen garden plants. Fresh herbs are one of the most important items to grow in a kitchen garden regardless of size. Besides bringing life to one’s cooking, they bring colour and sometimes flowers which attract bees , they play an important role in the companion planting cycle of life, deter various pests and plant diseases.
Sage is an often-overlooked herb due to its strong, robust, earthy flavour but without it an essential sauce of French and Italian cuisine could not be possible – Sage and Burnt Butter Sauce.
This recipe combines the best of two worlds Italian simple cooking with French culinary sparkle.
Makes 4 Serves
Ingredients – gnocchi
1½ cups (360 g) fresh ricotta
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
some freshly ground black pepper or nutmeg
extra flour for dusting work surface
Ingredients – sauce
100 g butter
16 – 20 sage leaves
l. Place the ricotta, parmesan, eggs and flour into a bowl, season well with salt and pepper, and mix until combined to form a soft dough.
2. Tum out onto a floured surface and cut into 2 or 3 pieces that should then be gently rolled into a number of ropes which are you cut into 2 – 3 cm by 1 cm pieces, to resemble small pillows of dough.
3. Place the small gnocchi on a clean tea-towel and move on to the next rope of dough.
4. When ready to cook the gnocchi – bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and place the gnocchi gently into the water (in batches if needed).
5. Allow the gnocchi to heat and cook in the boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes so they rise and float to the surface. Then remove with a slotted spoon and place on a tray lined with a clean cloth so they can drain and dry. Repeat with remaining gnocchi until all have been cooked.
6. Place 15 grams of butter (I tablespoon) in a hot pan and fry off the gnocchi in small batches so they a golden and brown on most sides.
7. Remove golden gnocchi to a warm bowl and repeat step 6 until all gnocchi are golden.
8. Place remaining butter into the pan and allow to heat and bubble so it becomes a brown colour.
9. Add the sage leaves to the hot butter and cook for a few seconds before pour the butter and sage over the fried gnocchi.
10. Serve immediately with extra Parmesan
You can prepare and cook the gnocchi in advance and proceed to stage two when ready to finish and serve the dish.