Meatless Mondays: Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage

Special occasion? This decadent gnocchi with ricotta cheese, fresh sage, toasted hazelnuts and pecorino Romano cheese has just the right wow-factor

Credit: Catherine Roscoe Barr

This gnocchi is loaded with vegetables, fresh sage and grated cheese

Homemade gnocchi isn’t quick to make, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it and the end result is company-worthy

You know those people who are so at ease when you arrive at their place for dinner, calmly multitasking with food preparation and guest-greeting? I am not one of those people. 

I decided to make gnocchi – for the first time – when we had friends over for dinner the other night. And it went slightly less than smoothly.

The recipe is from the gorgeous cookbook Araxi: Seasonal Recipes from the Celebrated Whistler Restaurant by James Walt. My version was quite different from what it was supposed to be but it was still absolutely delicious.

Even though making the gnocchi was a little time consuming, the rolling and cutting was like a meditation and plenty of fun with a glass of wine and some awesome tunes.

I was listening to DJ Neoteric’s “The Look” mix for Aritzia, which you’ll probably love if you were around in the ’80s, and sipping Gray Monk’s delicious Pinot Gris.

This gnocchi is definitely a dish I’ll make again, and next time I won’t forget the hazelnuts and chives, or forget to boil the gnocchi before frying them.

That’s partly why they aren’t immediately recognizable as gnocchi in the picture because I fried them, remembered they were supposed to be boiled first, then boiled them, them fried them again.

And it’s partly because instead of straining the solids from the vegetable nage (you’ll see what I mean when you read the instructions) I removed the bay leaves and blended everything together with a hand blender to make a puree. 


This recipe serves 4 to 6

  • 500 g ricotta cheese, strained overnight to remove moisture
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable nage (see recipe below)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp chives, chopped
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 20 dried sage leaves (I used fresh)


  1. In large bowl, combine ricotta, egg, salt and nutmeg, mixing well.
  2. Add flour and, with fork or pastry cutter, gently but swiftly work the mixture into a soft dough. Be careful not to overwork dough, as it could become tough when cooked.
  3. Lightly dust a medium bowl with flour. Add the dough and cover with plastic wrap.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Lightly flour a clean work surface and a large plate.
  6. Divide dough into 4 parts, then roll each piece between your palms into a log about 2 cm in diameter.
  7. Using a small knife or pastry scraper, cut each log into about 12 x 2.5 cm pieces.
  8. Transfer gnocchi to plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes, until chilled.
  9. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil on high heat.
  10. Add gnocchi and cook until they float, about 2 minutes.
  11. Drain and rinse gnocchi, and transfer to frying pan.
  12. *Add vegetable nage and cook on medium heat until nage has nearly reduced by half, about 5 minutes. (I added vegetable puree and cooked until mixture was hot and well combined with gnocchi, about 2 minutes.)
  13. Turn off heat and stir in butter, chives and hazelnuts.
  14. Add half the cheese and toss gently.
  15. Divide the gnocchi and sauce among 4 to 6 bowls.
  16. Garnish with sage leaves and remaining cheese.

Vegetable Nage Ingredients

I halved the original recipe which yields about 10 cups and appears below.

  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 8 shallots, sliced
  • 4 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 4 whole star anise (I couldn’t find these at the grocery store so I didn’t use them)
  • 1 large fennel bulb, sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 coriander seeds (I used 1/4 tsp ground coriander)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup white wine

Vegetable Nage Instructions

  1. In large pot, combine all ingredients except wine.
  2. Bring to boil on medium-high heat, then reduce to low and gently simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. *Remove from heat, stir in white wine and refrigerate for 45 minutes or until chilled. Strain nage through fine mesh sieve into clean bowl, discarding any solids. (I removed bay leaves, pureed mixture with a hand blender, and added white wine.)