Nonna’s Potato Gnocchi with Butter, Sage & Onion

I think I have been making gnocchi my whole life… I can’t even remember when I made my first batch. This recipe is an iteration on my Nonna’s gnocchi since I was so young when she made them for me I have only taste memories to go by. I remember them being light and fluffy, not chewy or starchy like store bought/packaged. They would be gently boiled and then pan fried in equal parts butter and olive oil… my nonna being from the north in Italy where use of butter is the norm… and with fresh sage and onion joining the saute pan to create a simple masterpiece. A few toasted pine nuts on top make for a perfect textural garnish. Through trial and error over decades I came to this never-fail version. Keep it simple with the sage and onion version provided here or go crazy and add a third cooking step to create Gnocchi Al Forno where chopped wild mushrooms and cream are added in and the entire batch is baked until it’s a bubbly golden brown. Either way it is delizioso!


preparation Time
105 mins

cook Time
20 mins


711 per serving


  • 2 idaho russet potatoes, cooked yield = 2 cups
  • 2 cup flour 00, plus extra as needed during rolling
  • 3 extra-large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup parmesan reggiano, grated; 1/3 cup for mixture, the rest reserved for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon for mixture; 1/2 reserved for sauce plus 1 reserved teaspoon for pasta water
  • 2 teaspoons white pepper, 1 pinch for mixture; 1 pinch for sauce
  • 1 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup large sweet onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves
  • 2 cup galic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts


Step 1

Microwave the russet potatoes until cooked, set aside to cool. Remove the peels and press the cooled potatoes through a ricer into a large mixing bowl. To the mixing bowl add in the eggs, 1/3 cup of the cheese (reserving remainder as garnish,) sea salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir gently. Fold 1 1/2 cups of the OO flour into the mixture until just incorporated, do not over stir. Bring the mixture together and form into a ball; cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill 15+ minutes.

Step 2

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the remaining flour onto a clean work surface and reserve the last 1/4 cup in an adjacent pile. Retrieve the chilled dough from the refrigerator and divide into 6 equal portions. You're now ready to form the gnocchi. Adding as much flour needed to keep from sticking to the surface as you go, gently roll each portion into long strands approximately 12" inches length. Keep your hands light to the touch and do not overwork the pasta. With a sharp knife or pastry cutter, slice each length into 1-inch pieces. Next, while pressing the tines of a fork against your work surface, roll each 1 inch dough piece up against the back of the fork tines and then down again... this will form slight groves around the gnocchi that once cooked, will help the gnocchi hold sauce. You will end up with approximately 1 inch long by 3/4 inch wide grooved ovals. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Yield should be about 72 gnocchi. For best results, place gnocchi in the refrigerator for one hour before cooking.

Step 3

To cook the gnocchi bring a large pasta pot of water to boil; once boiling add a teaspoon of sea salt to the water. Meanwhile on another burner, heat a large skillet. To the skillet, add the olive oil, butter, onion & sage leaves and saute over medium heat until the onions are almost translucent and the sage leaves are crispy. Season with a pinch each of sea salt and white pepper; lower heat. Remove the gnocchi from the refrigerator and drop immediately into the salted, boiling water. With a slotted spoon, remove the gnocchi as soon as they float to the surface (about 2 minutes) and add to the saute of onions and sage. Also add in the minced garlic. Increase the heat back to medium and gently brown the gnocchi 3-4 minutes. The gnocchi will have a delicious, lightly crisped exterior, but will remain soft and fluffy inside. Once the gnocchi are gently browned, add the toasted pine nuts to the pan.

Step 4

Serve family style or as individual portions with the remaining parmesan as garnish.

recipe by

No N.



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