Homemade Gnocchi with Ragu or Sage Butter


Calling all gnocchi lovers!

I have always envied Italian blood or perhaps more specifically being able to cook with your Nona and learn the true Italian way. Italian food is possibly one of my all time favourites!

I am sure you can agree when Julia Roberts eats that bowl of spaghetti in Eat Pray Love that you were never the same again.

I completely lost myself in that moment of the fork swirling the spaghetti and the Neapolitan sauce oozing with rich tomato flavour and of course the slurping up of that perfectly al dente spaghetti. All that was needed was some fresh basil and I would have sold my Kenwood mixer for that moment (not really but pretty close)

Cooking for friends and sharing recipes with them is what inspired me to invite contributors to my blog. I wanted to create a space that wasn’t only a single voice (my recipes and my story)

Combining my love for EVERYTHING Italian (I even drive Italian) and the  approach of a collective experience; I found my first candidate! The beautiful and wildly talented fashion guru Miss Raya Rossi from The Visual Journal!

I can guarantee you that a day cooking with her was filled with laughter and of course a lot of snap chat! You should follow us @melissadelport and @RayaAFF 

We decided that gnocchi was going to be the order of the day. Reason being? It’s so damn hard to make a good homemade gnocchi. I decided to combine our recipes and the outcome? Sheer brilliance. The best part is that we did gnocchi two ways with a simple ragu and a butter sage sauce not to forget our vegetarians out there! You will not go wrong with this recipe!

I also thought I should share the following excerpt from Eat Pray Love because it is one of the truest sentiments I have ever heard.

Liz: I’m in love. I’m having a relationship with my pizza. You look like you’re breaking up with your pizza. What’s the matter?

Sofi: I can’t.

Liz: What do you mean you can’t? This is Pizza Margherita in Napoli, it is imperative to eat and enjoy that pizza.

Sofi: I want to, but I’ve gained like ten pounds. I mean, I’ve got this. . .right here in my tummy, you know this. . .what’s it called? What’s the word for it?

Liz: A muffin top. I have one too.

Sofi: I unbuttoned my jeans like five minutes ago just looking at this.

Liz: Lemme ask you a question, in all the years you’ve ever undressed for a gentleman–

Sofi: —it hasn’t been that many.

Liz: Alright. Has he ever asked you to leave? Has he ever walked out, left?

Sofi: No.

Liz: Because he doesn’t care. He’s in a room with a naked girl. He’s won the lottery. I’m so tired of saying no and waking up in the morning and recalling every single thing I ate the day before. Counting every calorie I consumed so I know exactly how much self-loathing to take into the shower. I’m going for it. I have no interest in being obese; I’m just through with the guilt. So this is what I’m going to do, I’m going to finish this pizza and then we’re going to go watch the soccer game and tomorrow we’re going to go on a little date and buy ourselves some bigger jeans.

P.s If you have not seen Eat Pray Love, you need to do 3 things immediately, rent it, make this gnocchi for dinner and open a good wine!


serves 5


  • 500 grams mince meat (try get non lean meat as it softens better with the fat but lean will also do)
  • a few good glugs of olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped 
  • 2 carrots grated 
  • 1 teaspoon oregano 
  • 1 teaspoon thyme 
  • 1 bottle Passata (tomato pure in a bottle) 800grams 
  • 1 onion grated 
  • 1 cup parmesan grated 
  • 1/2 a cup of milk 
  • 200 grams butter 
  • half a cup of sage leaves 
  • 800 ml potato (should be about 8 large potatoes) 
  • 4 egg yolks 
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 150 ml parmesan grated
  • 200-250 ml flour 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup course cooking salt



Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius 

Boil the potatoes until soft. Do not over boil them. You should be able to pierce them with a fork but they should still be firm.  
Place the potatoes onto of the coarse cooking salt and pop them in the oven for 20 minutes. 
Allow to cool.
Once cool, cut in half and scoop out the insides and pass through a sieve. The other option is to put the potatoes through a potato ricer like Raya did. 
Form potatoes lightly together and make a well in the middle. 
Put in yolks, parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg and lemon rind and work together until combined.
Then add flour. Do not knead the mixture work gently with it. Add the flour in stages until you are able to roll the gnocchi into sausages and cut them into bit size pieces. 
Gently use a fork to make indentations for the sauce to stick. 
POACH the gnocchi in salted water until they float to the surface. Then remove them. This is the secret, do not boil the gnocchi as they will break. 

Ragu Sauce:

Add olive oil, garlic clove salt, pepper, 2 grated carrots, oregano, thyme in a pot on high heat. Add the bottle of passata (tomato puree in glass bottle). Put lid on. Turn to medium heat and leave for 15 mins. 
Grate an onion into a separate pan of hot olive oil and butter.
Cook the onion with salt, pepper and oregano until soft.
Braise the meat with the onion and add more olive oil.
Let the meat cook for 10 minutes.
Add 2 table spoons of passata into the meat for extra flavour.
Once the meat is lightly cooked add it to the passata pot. 
Add a cup full of finely grated parmesan.
This gives it more flavour (without adding more salt)
Let the ragu cook on low heat for another 15-20 minutes. This will allow the sauce to thicken. There should be more meat then sauce. 
Add half a cup of milk, and continue to let cook for another 5 minutes. 

Butter sage:

Fry the butter and sage over a medium to high heat. 
Add the gnocchi. Remove once the butter has browned.

Raya's Top Tips:
- Use a carrot to sweeten the passata if the tomato is slightly acidic. 
- Grate your carrots and onions they cook better
- Let your meat soak in the flavour of the tomato - leave it on low for longer.