Gnocchi, bechamel: A comfort food combo that can't be beat
Is there a dish you make that gets your family a little excited for mealtime? At my house, it's gnocchi. When word gets out gnocchi is showing up for dinner, everyone starts milling around the kitchen, just waiting. Thank goodness this pasta only takes a few minutes to boil.
Gnocchi is a wonderful comfort food, and a blank canvas to shape into any combination of flavors. We recently had some amazing homemade mushroom gnocchi while in Hawaii, and ever since we haven't stopped talking about that meal. Making homemade gnocchi is definitely on my culinary bucket list. I will get to it. Sooner than later, I hope.
Making a bechamel sauce for this dish is also really easy. If you have never made this creamy sauce before, don't worry. The great thing about a bechamel sauce is that once you know how to execute it, you'll be able to whip one up for a variety of dishes. It's simple to change the flavor to go with almost anything. You will never be at a loss when it comes to needing something creamy for one of your recipe creations.
The flavors of walnut and sage are also a classic pairing. They are the driving force behind this dish. The toasted walnuts add texture and the fried sage leaves boost flavor, add a little crunch and are visually appealing. If you are not a walnut fan, you could use pine nuts. It won't be the same slightly sweet, slightly bitter flavor walnuts give, but the pine nuts will add the texture this meal needs.
Spend time toasting your walnuts over low heat. The slow toast brings out the walnut's meaty character. Push the walnuts around with a spatula until they just start to brown. Remove them immediately from the heat and the pan to let them cool.
Creamy Gnocchi With Walnuts and Sage
For the fried sage leaves and walnuts:
12 fresh sage leaves
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup whole walnuts
For the bechamel sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
1⁄4 cup flour
11⁄2 cups whole milk
3 large cloves garlic, pressed or made into a paste
1⁄2 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
For the pasta:
1 pound gnocchi, uncooked
Add the oil to a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is heated, add the sage leaves, 4 at a time, and fry for 30 seconds. Place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Set aside.
In another nonstick, dry skillet, toast the walnuts over low heat until they are slightly browned and fragrant, for about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and pan. Set aside.
To make the bechamel sauce, add the butter to a large saucepan (a 12-inch pan works great) over medium heat. Once it's melted, add the flour and whisk until it is fully incorporated. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly to remove any lumps. Add the garlic, sage, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Simmer until the sauce has thickened, for 7 to 10 minutes. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi according to package directions. Place it directly into the sauce when it is finished cooking.
To serve, place the gnocchi in a bowl and garnish with the fried sage leaves, walnuts and parmesan cheese.
Makes 3-4 servings.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL notebook: Jamaal Charles injures ankle vs. Broncos
- AHL overtime rules create some confusion for Penguins prospects
- Rossi: Given start, it’s time for Pitt to finish
- Steelers not receiving big returns on their offseason investments
- Crash closes part of Route 30 in Unity
- Rare triple play sparks Pirates’ comeback victory over Cubs
- Pitt notebook: Expanded game plan likely awaits Iowa
- Vermont’s Sanders considers run for president
- Long wait is over for Apollo-Ridge girls soccer team
- Mt. Washington landslide stable — for now
- Victim helped Ohio man charged in 4 killings