Gnocchis à la sauge

Fluffy gnocchi sautéd with fresh sage in melted butter is one of my go-to dishes when I need to get a quick meal on the table. The butter is browned ever so slightly, enhancing the lusty flavor of the sage, and a topping of freshly grated parmesan adds a delightful tang. This subtle Tuscan-inspired dish is elegant enough to serve for lunch when last-minute guests arrive. And its real beauty is that it takes just five minutes to prepare.

Gnocchis à la sauge / Gnocchi with fresh sage

Now that the weather is finally turning nice in Paris, I’m more than ever looking for dishes that are quick to put on the table. Especially now that I’m cooking for one most days due to lockdown. I have to admit that cooking fatigue sometimes sets in, and fresh ideas can be hard to come by. Which is why, when I spotted some fresh gnocchi dumplings the other day, I brought them home to cook with the sage growing on my veranda.

I’m sprucing up my veranda at the moment, having failed to do so last spring due to our very strict lockdown at the time. With the virus numbers rising alarmingly in Paris, new lockdown rules were announced a couple of weeks ago. These measures allow only ‘essential shops’ to stay open for business. So I rushed down to the flower and plant shops along the Seine to stock up before they closed. Well, I was happy to learn that France is a country where flower shops are considered essential…

Along with rosemary, thyme, basil, lavender and campanula (bellflowers), I bought a small lemon tree, which is rewarding me with lovely white blossoms that I hope will be lemons by the autumn. They have joined my my venerable sage plant, transplanted from the country some years ago and still producing darling new leaves every spring and pale flowers in the summer.

Remarkably easy to grow, sage is a great addition to numerous dishes. It has also been used throughout the ages for medicinal purposes including, allegedly, curing snakebite and increasing fertility among women. The kings of France enjoyed sage, from Charlemagne, who recommended its cultivation in royal gardens, to Louis XIV, who liked a cup of sage tea. More recently, sage has been found in clinical trials to improve memory.

Dishes on this site that feature fresh sage include an omelet, a thin-crust pizza (with bacon), cheese ravioli and roast guinea hen. If you can’t grow it yourself, fresh sage can be found at farmers markets, fine grocery stores and online. And gnocchi are available at Italian delis, the fresher the better.

Happy cooking.

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