How to Make Brown Butter & Sage Gnocchi

Few elements go together like rich brown butter, earthy sage, and pillowy gnocchi! Join Chef Dan Bearss for this step-by-step demo.

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April 8, 2022 4 min read

Few flavors might go together quite as nicely as rich brown butter and earthy sage. Add a potato pasta like soft, doughy gnocchi to the dish and you’ll have yourself something truly spectacular!

Escoffier Chef Instructor Dan Bearss has ten years of experience — including breakfast and butchery — spanning the restaurant, hotel, and cruise ship industries. Learn from his expertise as he teaches us how to make this classic Northern Italian dish with a savory twist.

You can read the full Sage Gnocchi & Brown Butter Sauce recipe below, plus gather some tips and techniques from Chef Dan as he walks us through how to create this culinary masterpiece.


Here’s what you’ll need to gather before embarking on this dish.

  • 1 ½ pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 2 bunches fresh sage leaves (finely chopped)
  • ½ pound unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp garlic (finely minced)
  • 1 cup freshly shredded parmesan

How to Make Sage Gnocchi

1. Rinse and peel the potatoes removing any brown spots or eyes.
2. Cut potatoes into even sizes so that they cook evenly.
3. Fill a pot with enough cold water to cover potatoes and bring to boil. Immediately turn down to a simmer and continue to simmer until potatoes are fork-tender.
4. Once fork tender, dry potatoes until they reach room temperature (about 10 minutes).
5. Pass potatoes through a food mill or shred against the large holes on a box grater to create shredded potatoes.
6. Lightly sprinkle flour onto a work surface and add shredded potatoes.
7. Whisk egg yolks together and sprinkle over potato mixture along with ½ cup of flour, all of the salt, and ½ of the finely chopped sage. Begin to form into a ball.
8. Continue to lightly add flour while mixing until a smooth ball is formed (about ½ cup).
9. Cut into 4 even portions and form those portions into even balls.

Quick Tips

    • When you’re forming the pillowy potato ball, it should be all one color, and it should feel a bit sticky to the touch… like Play-Doh!
    • Stainless steel countertops, a wood cutting board, or even a stone slab can make ideal surfaces for spreading out the dough.

10. Working 1 ball at a time, roll into a long and even tube about ¾ inch thick. At every inch cut
all the way through to create the gnocchi pillow.
11. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the formed gnocchi. After about 3 minutes, when it
begins to float, pull one out and test it to make sure it is cooked all of the way through. It should
hold its form and have some slight resistance when you bite into it.
12. Once cooked, strain and let sit until ready to sauté.

How to Make Brown Butter

1. Place butter in a pot on medium/low heat and let it melt. As it is melting pay attention to the color
and smell.
2. When it begins to smell nutty and turns a light amber color, remove from heat.
3. Pass butter through a strainer to remove milk solids and keep at room temperature until ready
for use.

Quick Tips

You can absolutely bake or fry this pasta for a further twist on the dish. If you’re frying, you’d likely want to fry these for about a minute to a minute and a half for that golden brown effect without turning the gnocchi mushy.

4. Add 2 oz of browned butter to a sauté pan and 1 tbsp of finely minced garlic. Sauté on medium
heat for 2 minutes.
5. Add cooked gnocchi and sauté for 2 minutes while tossing the gnocchi in the brown butter
6. Remove from heat, sprinkle in ¼ cup of grated parmesan mixing to allow the cheese to melt.
Once the cheese has melted, plate and sprinkle with a pinch of the finely chopped fresh sage.

Brown butter in a skillet with a wood spatula

For Best Results, Enroll Help!

Imagine having Chef Dan himself – or another of Escoffier’s knowledgeable Chef Instructors – providing helpful guidance while you try your hand at this recipe?

That’s the kind of thing you might expect to find in culinary school: passionate Chef Instructors who are eager to pass on their knowledge and expertise to the next generation of chefs.

Want to try online cooking school instead of on-campus? As an Escoffier student, your Chef Instructors can still review your submitted recipes and provide feedback to perfect them!

Want more recipes from Escoffier Chef Instructors? Try these:

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