Every now and then I find myself getting a little bit obsessed with a flavor combination. Maybe it’s cranberries and goat cheese turned into every variation of salad and appetizer or rosemary and garlic being baked into various types of bread. Lately, I’ve been having a bit of a love affair with crispy sage butter. There’s just something amazing about the smell of sage sizzling in butter and the texture of the leaves after they’ve crisped up in golden shimmery butter.
Combine that with my ongoing love affair with all things gnocchi and it turns out you’ve got something amazing. Now I’m no stranger to sage, butter and gnocchi, but in the past I’ve always used it as a sauce for homemade sweet potato gnocchi. Whether homemade or store bought, my standard MO for gnocchi is to boil it then top it with a sauce. As it turns out, I’ve been missing the boat on something awesome.
Pan fried gnocchi.
Like everyone else, I’ve seen it go flying by on Pinterest a few times. Claims of crispy gnocchi with a gourmet mac n cheese sauce are usually at the front of the “let’s pan fry it instead of boiling it” fan club. Honestly? Gnocchi mac and cheese holds no interest for me. If anything, it sounds kind of…stomach churning. My stomach would be full (and ill) for a week!
Still…the idea of pan fried gnocchi intrigued me.
And you know what? It should have. As it turns out, pan fried gnocchi is the adult gourmet’s answer to tater tots. Crispy on the outside, warm and pillowy on the inside. They have a chewyness to them that is welcome and comforting.
This recipe actually came about as a last minute entree on a night I didn’t feel like cooking. Mr W and I had gone out to lunch after a business meeting and weren’t particularly hungry and the kids had requested spaghetti and salad. I was up for the salad, but plain old spaghetti has never been super high on my list. I noticed a package of gnocchi in the pantry next to the pasta and pulled it out figuring I might as well give this pan frying thing a try.
A little searching around in the fridge turned up some fresh sage from a recipe earlier in the week. A quick glance in the cheese tray turned up a chunk of Asiago sitting next to a package of bacon pieces. So out they came and to the stove I headed. This entire recipe took about 15 minutes to whip up and was absolutely fabulous.
Pan Fried Sage Butter Gnocchi with Bacon & Asiago Cheese
- 1 package of gnocchi
- 1 bunch, fresh sage
- 2 T butter
- 2-3 T bacon pieces
- Asiago Cheese
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Strip leaves from sage stems and toss into butter. Stir and toss until leaves are turning slightly crispy and butter smells strongly of sage. (Be careful not to burn or brown the butter!) Carefully add gnocchi and toss to coat with butter. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes before adding bacon pieces. Toss to mix and cook another 3-5 minutes or until gnocchi are slightly puffy with a bit of browning on them. Remove from pan, pouring excess butter over top of them. Grate as much or as little fresh Asiago cheese over the top of the gnocchi and serve warm.
I’ll be honest and say that now that I’ve had pan fried gnocchi, it may be tough to go back to the alternative. I see a lot of potential flavor combinations worth trying here…especially with spring and fresh herbs coming into view. Fresh basil, red onion and balsamic would be a good one, or rosemary and lemon butter.
Give it a go, and don’t be afraid to sub in some other herbs, cheeses or extras. A friend tried it with rosemary rather than sage and reported excellent results as well.