zucchini ricotta gnocchi with sage brown butter sauce

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce by Hip Foodie Mom6

It’s sunny in Scotland this morning. Bright, clear and gusty with soft puffs of variable cloud. Some distance away, sunlight reflects off the still waters of Loch Fyne. The glare casts a pleasant glow upon the ceiling of our attic room; the light dances upon weathered timber as my fingers tap on black plastic keys.

Despite the sun, it’s decidedly chilly today. After a full Scottish breakfast (sausage, beans, fried haggis, tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding and a potato scone) both Aaron and I have re-wrapped ourselves in thick blankets whilst our warmest clothes wash in the hostel laundry. That suits me just fine. A couple of hours to rest, think, breathe and type… something that I haven’t done in quite a while. Travelling is beautiful but (as any traveller will tell you) the constant momentum eventually breeds fatigue. I presently feel like I could sleep for the large part of a week.

Anyway, enough about being tired. I’ve got a treat for you today, a delicious guest post written by another dear blogging friend of mine across the seas: the beautiful Alice from Hip Foodie Mom. I’ve been reading Alice’s blog for a long time now and I’ve always been impressed by her genuine kindness, creativity and interest in other blogger’s work (not to mention her drool-worthy food… Mexican Biscuit Casserole, anyone?!).

But in February of this year, I read this post about #FeedSouthAfrica and Alice’s honesty, faith and generosity of heart really spoke to my own values, social consciousness and belief in God. We connected up and… well, the rest is history. I am so grateful to have Alice as a friend and inspirational blogging sister. She inspires me every day.

So, without further ado: here’s Alice and her beautiful recipe for soft, pillowy, cheesy gnocchi (thanks Alice for contributing such a delicious recipe for readers of the Mess!).

Hello Laura’s Mess readers! I’m Alice from Hip Foodie Mom. I live in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m a wife, mother of two girls and love to cook. Hip Foodie Mom is a fresh food recipe blog. You’ll find a little bit of everything from meat dishes to Asian food to vegetarian and desserts… but one thing remains constant: my use of fresh, organic, quality ingredients.

While Laura is away on holiday, I have the great honor of sharing a recipe with you all. And before I get to the recipe, I have to say how much I love Laura and reading her beautiful blog. We have not met in person but I am always inspired by her writing and photography. She is a beautiful soul inside and out.

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi Dough

I don’t know what it is but there is something so relaxing and comforting about working with your hands and working on dough. I feel like an artist when I’m rolling dough for pasta, or pastry crust or pizza dough. Whatever it is, I love working with my hands and creating.

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi prep

We are moving into fall here in the Northern hemisphere. Fall is my absolute favorite season. I love the fall for many reasons but cooler weather, seeing the leaves change colors, pumpkins everywhere and hearty home cooked meals are my top four!

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce by Hip Foodie Mom2

Fall is when I dust off my slow cooker and bring out all of favorite comfort foods. Chili, stews, slow cooked beef and pork, casseroles and pasta.

If you’ve never made homemade pasta, gnocchi is a great one to start with. It doesn’t require a pasta making machine or attachment and it comes together fairly quickly. And even though my gnocchi isn’t the prettiest in the world, it tasted even more delicious knowing I made it myself. So the next time you are craving gnocchi and don’t mind getting your hands a little messy, I hope you try this. I’m definitely trying potato gnocchi (or some crispy gnocchi) for next time. I hope you enjoy!

And Laura, safe travels to you my friend and we can’t wait until you are back home and in your kitchen again. Cheers!!

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce by Hip Foodie Mom3

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce

by Alice Choi, Hip Foodie Mom

Serves 4

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi


For the gnocchi:

  • 2 cups zucchini, grated (skin left on)
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup all purpose flour, start with ½ cup

For the brown butter sage:

  • 1 stick, 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, sliced
  • 1/3 cup fresh sage leaves
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper

To serve:

  • Roasted cherry tomatoes
  • Freshly shaved Parmesan cheese


For the gnocchi:

Using a colander, mix together the grated zucchini and salt. Let it sit and drain for about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove and squeeze out as much liquid as possible, either using your hands or a cheesecloth.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the zucchini, ricotta, egg yolk and Parmesan cheese. Then, mix in enough flour to form a dough that is not too sticky to work with. Start with ½ cup of flour and keep adding a little at a time (only up to 1 cup total) until you have a nice workable dough.

Move the dough to a well-floured work surface and form dough into a ball. Roll the dough into 1-inch thick strings, and, using a pastry cutter, slice into 1-inch pieces. After you have all the pieces, feel free to also shape the gnocchi with your hands. You can then use the back of a fork to make lines on your gnocchi if desired.

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi

Bring a big pot of water to a boil, then, working with maybe 8-12 gnocchi at a time, gently drop the gnocchi into the water and cook until the gnocchi begins to float, remove from the water and repeat until all of your gnocchi is cooked.*

For the brown butter sage sauce:

Place the sliced butter into a skillet over medium-high heat and begin melting the butter, swirling the pan occasionally to help the butter cook evenly. Continue cooking the butter until it begins to brown, for about 4 minutes.

Once melted, the butter will foam up a bit. Add the fresh sage and continue to cook for a couple minutes more. You want the butter to be nicely browned and nutty but not burnt. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper and remove from the heat.

To serve:

Place some zucchini ricotta gnocchi onto a plate and top with the brown butter sage sauce. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, some roasted cherry tomatoes and the crispy sage (if desired). Serve immediately.

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi recipe adapted from Closet Cooking. *Check out this recipe to see Kevin’s tips and tricks!

Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce by Hip Foodie Mom

Thanks again Alice! If you’re yet to do so, please click over and say hello to Alice via her blog Hip Foodie Mom, facebook, twitter and/or instagram!

50 responses

  1. Oh Laura, your trip to Scotland sounds like heaven (especially that breakfast, I want it now!).
    And Alice’s ricotta gnocchi look, and sound, fantastic. I love making gnocchi, but have never tried the ricotta versions yet, I bet I would love them.
    Gorgeous pictures too!

    • Thanks so much Darya, it’s amazing over here! My first proper trip to Scotland… I’m amazed by the scenery, history, food, fresh air, everything! As for Alice’s gnocchi? Amazing. I cannot wait to try the recipe when I get home! x

    • Yes I did!!! Well, half of it… the rest was transferred onto Aaron’s plate (as he actually likes it). But as for black pudding and haggis… fried rounds of blood-and-gut-soaked oatmeal aren’t really my thing! I’d much rather eat this amazing gnocchi…!

  2. I love this idea for incorporating zucchini into the gnocchi – very clever! I will have to save this recipe for my late summer kitchen garden cooking classes when we have an abundance of zucchini coming from the garden again :)

  3. Pingback: Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce | Hip Foodie Mom

    • Making real friendships is something that I never expected when I started blogging, but now I consider it to be the biggest privilege! Alice is indeed a beautiful person, I do hope that you enjoy her blog Jeannee! xx

  4. Laura, thanks for having me on your beautiful blog. . I am honored!!! and YOU are an inspiration to me my friend. . enjoy the rest of your trip!!! and can’t wait until you are back home and cooking!

    • I can’t either Alice, I’m very much looking forward to being back in my kitchen! Thanks for sharing this gorgeous gnocchi post. The photos and method immediately drew me in and I can’t wait to experiment with the recipe (brown butter! Ah!). Sending you a hug xx

  5. Alice, this is making me hungry!! I’ve never made gnocchi before, but I will soon! This looks like such a tasty and warm fall meal. :) I just want to cozy up with a blanket and eat it in front of the Netflix fireplace (closest thing to a real fireplace in my home, haha). And I totally get what you mean about the relaxing and comforting effect of working dough; it somehow makes me feel more womanly, if that makes any sense.

    Laura, I’m glad you’re enjoying chilly Scotland; however, I am slightly disappointed by your lack of Nessie photos… I’m sure you’ve seen her! ;) Keep warm and rest up. xxxx

    Love and hugs!

    • Haha, we did pass by Loch Ness a couple of days ago… but (confession!) I didn’t actually join the crowd of tourists with their binoculars looking for Nessie! We’ll be passing again on the weekend so I promise if I see her, I’ll post a photo ;) As for the fireplace, a Netflix one is better than nothing! I’m wearing a thick blanket and a wooly sweater right now and I’m still cold… this Aussie needs to toughen up! Love xxx

  6. Ooh Laura, must have been interesting being in Scotland at the moment with the referendum build up and outcome! And Alice, this looks absolutely amazing! I have never made gnocchi but it is on my to do list, I’ll have to tweak it slightly and give it a go.

    • Yes, definitely! Aaron and I felt quite privileged to be here during such a momentous time, although it was sad to see the excitement of the ‘Yes’ camp quashed after the result came out. We’ll see what transpires over the next few months. As for this gnocchi, I cannot wait to try it! So delicious! xx

    • Browned butter definitely makes everything better! Alice’s gnocchi look amazing, I’ve made gnocchi once before but never with zucchini and ricotta (yum!). I will be trying this when I get home. Hope that you enjoy it!

    • Thanks so much lovely Claudia! It is indeed a wonderful place to relax. I’m enjoying the quiet tranquility! As for Alice’s recipe… I cannot wait to try it! Browned butter, sage and ricotta sound glorious :) xx

  7. Hey Laura! You’re at Loch Fyne? AMAZEBALLS! I am SO jealous, is it beautiful? Are you sick of haggis yet? Have heard that it’s a bird with one leg shorter than the other so it can only go around a hill in one direction without falling over? At least, that’s what my dad tells me … don’t kill the dream Laura, don’t kill the dream.

    And Alice, what a GORGEOUS recipe :) I am so gonna try this when I stop imagining haggis birds. I’ve made gnocci a couple of times with varying degrees of success and it never looked as good as yours. AND it’s one of my favourite foods ever so I really don’t know why I don’t have it more often. I can’t wait to pop over and see more of your blog – Laura has good taste so it must be spectacular :D

    Laura, you never told me what you did with the blackberries? I went for a walk with the parents yesterday and pater was uber upset that nearly all the blackberries had finished already … I had to get some of the mammoth quantity out of our freezer to make him happy again ;) xxx

    • Hahaha, ah Trixie I love you! I’m not a fan of haggis, Aaron has been eating it every day but… well, oats soaked in blood and guts aren’t really my idea of dinner (I much prefer the concept of a haggis bird… I may go hunting for it today!). As for the blackberries, we ate a few handfuls of fresh ones but I ended up donating the rest of the bag to the owner of the place where we were staying as she was making blackberry vodka. I wanted to make an apple and blackberry crumble but it became a little too hard to find the equipment that I needed as we were bunking in at people’s houses :( Oh well. It was a beautiful thought and I enjoyed collecting them with you and Clemmie :) Glad that you still have some left in the freezer… berries make Summer last a little bit longer! xxxx

  8. Pingback: Zucchini Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter Sauce | WinterIsComing30's Blog

  9. I’ve been to Scotland almost a decade ago and loved my time there. I have to admit though that quite a few of those castles freaked me out. Gnocchi with sage brown butter sauce is one of my favourite combos. This one looks absolutely delicious.

  10. Alice – I love getting your blog, and look forward to every post. But it just occurred to me that I haven’t seem a post im a while and that makes me worry my subscription got bumped. (This has recently happened to me with several blogs. I blame Blogger.) Anyway, these gnocchi look fantastic. Can’t wait to try them. (Coincidentally, I am making homemade pasta tonight for butter and sage sauce!) I will check and see if I am still subscribed!

    Laura, we just visited our Scottish friends in British Columbia and I was so disappointed that we didn’t (for the first time) have either haggis or black (blood) pudding. I love both of them! Must be my Scottish blood! Hope you get some rest soon. I absolutely know what you mean about travel exhaustion. Hugs, David

    • Thanks David, Aaron loves them too (I think it’s HIS Scottish blood!). I’ll just stick to the porridge and oatcakes I think ;) As for your subscription to Hip Foodie Mom, hm… not sure what happened there! Some of my WordPress subscriptions have also gone haywire recently. I think there are a few bugs in the subscription systems unfortunately. Lucky for me I still get both of yours! Hugs back to you my friend x

  11. I love Alice’s blog, and am so happy to see her teaming up with you for this post. These little gnocchi look fantastic. I haven’t made them in years, and never seemed to get them quite right. I need to try again with this recipe :-)

    • They’re such a delicious treat. I don’t make them regularly because of the time involved but I definitely want to give Alice’s recipe a go now. It looks amazing. Thanks Susan :) x

  12. Wow, I need to check out Alice’s blog now, I am a big fan of this gnocchi! Love the brown butter sauce, it seems so much richer than normal sauces :D
    Keep having a brilliant time in Scotland, though haggis sounds… um… interesting :P

    Choc Chip Uru

  13. What a well described breakfast. I wish I could travel to Scotland and experience the same thing. The Gnocchi with zucchini sounds really delicious and the photos are so clear and awesome with great colour combinations. Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

  14. OK, Laura, I’ve been trying to get brave enough to try to make gnocchi and this recipe has tipped me over the edge– I’m off to get the ingredients this week!! — and happy travels to you as you continue on. What an amazing trip!!…

    • Oh good luck Rhonda! I hope that it turns out beautifully!! I can’t wait to make it myself when I get home from holidays. Brown butter and sage is such a winning combination ;) x

    • Oh hello there Eva! Thanks so much for the lovely words. Very nice to ‘meet’ you via our mutual friend Alice! Your blog is lovely too, though I am going to have to work on my French! Hugs x

  15. Laura it is nice to meet you! I love Alice’s blog too and she is always so inspiring. I can’t wait to try this delicious looking gnocchi!!

    • Oh thanks so much Blahnik Baker! Lovely to meet you too through our mutual friend Alice! What’s your blog link? It doesn’t come up here. Would love to see some of your recipes xx

  16. Laura, I am so glad that I rejoined the blogging world and stopped back on by your wonderful blog! It has been and continues to be … gorgeous, just like you are. Wow! And homemade gnocchi with brown butter sauce and sage? Delicious. I look forward to reading about your trip to Italy too. I skimmed the pics and they are just beautiful, Laura. Your blog has always been so beautiful, but being away for over a year has really allowed me to see how much you’ve blossomed. Keep blooming and shining, Laura, you are an inspiration! xoxo

    • Oh you are way too beautiful Christina. Thanks for the kind words. You are just as inspiring to me and I am so glad that we met via the blogosphere. Sending you heaps of hugs xxx

  17. Oh this is exactly what I have been craving lately….I made a similar (but no where near as delicious looking) bowl of burnt butter sage gnocchi but I totally cheated and used the gluten free pre-made gnocchi that I can get from my local farmers market. Am yet to try making GF gnocchi from scratch. Any chance you know what sort of flour to use?

    • I can imagine that it’d be tempting to buy premade stuff Martine, I’ve done the same at times! As for making GF gnocchi from scratch, I’d probably just use something like the Orgran or Bob’s Red Mill plain flour mix (which I normally use for GF baking). You might also be able to use rice flour but the gnocchi end up a bit softer than regular gnocchi (not necessarily a bad thing but the texture will be different). Hope that that helps lovely! xx

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