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Todd Humphries' Polenta Gnocchi in Browned Sage Butter


Polenta gnocchi in a shallow serving bowl, dusted with Parmesan

We're so proud to have our polenta, grown, milled, and ground by our friends at Anson Mills. To celebrate, we asked our friend, Chef Todd Humphries of Kitchen Door here in Napa, to help us out with a twist on traditional potato gnocchi.

We've even made a video so you can follow along. View Todd Humphries' Polenta Gnocchi video. 

You can use leftover polenta or make it specifically for this dish, if you're like us and don't understand the concept of "leftover polenta."

For the gnocchi:

  • 1 quart water
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper
  • 1 cup fine yellow polenta
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 2 to 2½ cups “tipo 00” pizza flour, plus extra for dusting

To finish:

  • 12 ounces unsalted butter
  • 12 fresh sage leaves, roughly chiffonade
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Finely grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Makes 6 servings (plus an extra batch of gnocchi to freeze for later) 

  1. To make the polenta, in a heavy-bottomed pot, bring the water to a simmer. Add the salt and pepper, then slowly add the polenta, making sure you whisk continuously. Simmer gently, continuing to whisk frequently to avoid sticking, until the polenta is smooth and thick, about 45 minutes.
  2. Remove the polenta from the heat. Whisk in the 6 ounces of butter and the 4 ounces of grated cheese. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  3. Using a spatula, transfer the polenta to a large mixing bowl. Let cool completely.
  4. Evenly mix in the eggs with the spatula.
  5. Sift 2 cups of the flour onto the polenta and knead into a dough. Use additional flour if still sticky.
  6. Lightly dust two 9-by-12-inch sheet pans with flour. Dust your countertop lightly with flour and place the dough on the floured surface.
  7. Gently roll the dough to about ¾ inch thick and dust the top of the dough.
  8. With a bench scraper, cut across the dough into ¾-inch-thick strips.
  9. Dust each strip lightly with flour and roll into cylinders; cut each cylinder into ¾-inch-long gnocchi.
  10. Transfer the gnocchi to the pre-dusted sheet pans. Place half in the refrigerator until ready to cook, and freeze the other half for future use. (Note: Half of the gnocchi will make about 6 servings. If you want to make 12 servings, you can double the amount of butter and sage and cook all of the gnocchi.)
  11. To cook the gnocchi: Fill a large pot two-thirds full with water and bring to a boil. Have ready a large tray or sheet pan.
  12. When the water is boiling, in a large sauté pan, warm 4 ounces of the butter over low heat.
  13. Meanwhile, drop 20 of the gnocchi into the boiling water. Once the gnocchi float to the surface, let cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the tray. 
  14. Raise the heat on the sauté pan to high to brown the butter. Add 1/3 of the sage and the gnocchi and stir to coat the gnocchi. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter.
  15. Repeat this process two more times with the remaining gnocchi, butter, and sage (for a total of 60 gnocchi). 
  16. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese before serving.


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