Meatless Monday: Gnocchi with Sage, Butter and Parmesan

Way back when, in 1998 to be specific, I had an internship at the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council and worked with its local PR director. I had no prior knowledge of the agricultural industry beyond eating and drinking a lot of it, but this was a total immersion into the dairy farming field. In addition to angering everyone in the office for changing the height of their chairs (SIDE NOTE: My supervisor was pregnant at the time and on a part-time work schedule and, when she was in, I would get displaced to an office of someone that was on the road or on vacation. None of the women in that office was taller than about 5-6 and I was 6-1. I once had a nutritionist berate me for changing her chair and telling me to put it back where it was, as if I knew her preferences. I lowered it two inches and she seemed happy. In other news, all nutritionists are nuts.), I got to work closely on the selection of the butter sculpture that would be displayed at that summer’s edition of the Great New York State Fair.

The 2015 sculpture (Source: Syracuse.com)

The butter sculpture is one of the biggest attractions at The Fair and, as you might guess, is constructed completely of butter. The artist might employ some framing on the interior, but when the curtain is pulled back, there are hundreds and hundreds of pounds of butter on display.

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I mention this because, I got to see my former supervisor the other day at a breakfast meeting and she told me that her daughter was turning 17 years old. Now, her daughter had The Wife for her high school American history teacher, but I guess I never put together that she is as old as she is. And that I’m as old as I am.

It’s also worthing bringing up because this recipe is so rich that tastes like it uses about as much butter as those artists. Four tablespoons is really more butter than I like to use in a dinner for just The Wife and I, but it does create a hearty sauce to coat the gnocchi. In retrospect, I would make 2 lbs. of pasta to go with this. Live and learn.

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WHAT WORKED: Shelf-stable, store bought gnocchi. I don’t make my own pasta for a lot of reasons, namely the flour explosion that would be likely to occur in my kitchen. And with The Kid’s Celiac disease, I try to keep that to a minimum. Frozen is fine for red sauce recipes, but this really calls for a more delicate approach to the pasta.

WHAT DIDN’T: Only making one pound of pasta.

EASE OF PREPARATION: Very easy.

BEST FOR: A very simple, very quick dinner on a night when you are in a rush, or as a side to a meat dish.

SERVE WITH: Bread and extra grated cheese.

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Gnocchi with Sage, Butter and Parmesan
  • 2 lbs. gnocchi (homemade or shelf-stable and store-bought)
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 oz. parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 18 to 24 sage leaves

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt it and add the gnocchi to cook.

In a serving bowl, combine the butter, parmesan and sage, gently tossing it to combine. When the gnocchi begins to float to the top, transfer the pasta to the serving bowl.

Once all the pasta is cooked, add 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid to the bowl and toss to combine. Serve with crusty bread and grated parmesan cheese.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

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