Pepper-Crusted Filets with Ricotta Gnocchi, Shiitakes & Brown Butter-Sage Sauce

By • November 17, 2015 8 Comments

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Author Notes: Gnocchi are one of my all-time favorite Italian pastas and everything changed once I made them from scratch. I could no longer buy them pre-made or frozen and I started eating way too much of them. It's so easy to make them at home, and they turn out melt-in-your-mouth fluffy every time! I especially like to make ricotta gnocchi, because it makes the dish a lot lighter. I use less than 3/4 cup of flour for 6 people. The brown butter and sage sauce is classic and just delicious, and the filet mignon elevates the gnocchi to a decadent, holiday-worthy meal.
Note: If cooking for 2, you will have some gnocchi left over. But they taste great the next day, so enjoy some for lunch!
Jenya | BlueGalley

Food52 Review: Overall I enjoyed this dish. This is a very rich meal but definitely presents as "special occasion" dinner. (Thought it seemed a little odd to me that the gnocchi makes enough for 4 to 6 but only calls for 2 steaks.) I needed to add almost 1/2 cup flour to get the dough "slightly sticky" and workable, but the gnocchi were easy to make after the dough sat in the fridge. I did like that this came together pretty quickly, and the payoff was worth it for the not-so-intense amount of work. Annie "Smalls"


Serves 4 to 6

For the gnocchi and brown butter-sage sauce:

  • 1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
  • 1 cup good quality ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup flour plus 2 tablespoons (and more for dusting)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 8 to 10 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (it's the holidays!)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh sage, coarsely chopped (or 20 or so small sage leaves left whole)

For the filet mignon:

  • 2 filet mignons, about 6 ounces each and at least an inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly and coarsely ground black pepper
  1. Grate the Parmesan, chop the parsley, place both in a bowl together, and set aside. Scoop the cup of ricotta into a medium bowl and use a large fork to smooth out any lumps. Sprinkle the flour on top, and with the fork mix together until the mixture is lumpy. Add the 3 egg yolks and gently incorporate into the flour-ricotta mixture. Sprinkle the black pepper over it, add the Parmesan and parsley, and stir everything together until a dough comes together.
  2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or two until it easily comes together into a ball. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour, but try to add as little as possible. The dough should be slightly sticky, which helps make the gnocchi extra fluffy. Place the ball of dough into a bowl (you can use the same one you mixed it in) and let it sit in the fridge for at least 45 minutes to an hour. Note: Dough can be made the day before and allowed to sit in fridge overnight.
  3. Remove gnocchi from the fridge, flatten ball slightly and cut the dough into 4 even portions. Lightly flour a large tray or baking sheet that can hold gnocchi in a single layer and set aside. On a lightly floured cuttable surface, roll each portion into a long “rope”. I usually cut the rope in half and continue to roll each half further until about 1/2 an inch thick. So 4 portions, should render 8 equal length and width ropes. Use a cutter or pastry scraper to cut each rope (just line them up and cut together) into about 1 inch long pieces. Move the gnocchi to the prepared tray and place in fridge while you make the sauce.
  4. Set a large pot of salted water on high heat and bring to a boil, and remove the filets so they can come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Cook the butter until it turns a golden brown and oozes a nutty aroma. It will bubble vigorously at first and then settle and become one of the greatest things on earth: brown butter! While it cooks, use a spoon to skim white foam off the top and edges. You don’t have to get all of it, but as much as you can. Once the butter is slightly brown (about 4 minutes after it melts) add the sage leaves and cook another 2 minutes. Lower heat if necessary to not burn the butter. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. Wipe the shiitake mushrooms with a wet paper towel, remove any large stems, and slice into strips 1/4-inch thick. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat with the crushed garlic cloves. Remove garlic when after it turns golden and discard. Add the mushrooms and cook on medium-high heat to crisp slightly, stirring often. Lower heat after 3 minutes to low.
  6. Meanwhile, add the gnocchi to the boiling water in 2 batches, so as not to overcrowd. Cook a few minutes, until all the gnocchi have floated up to the surface.
  7. Add the brown butter and sage to the mushrooms and stir to combine. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked gnocchi directly to the sauce. Stir gnocchi with the butter and mushrooms very gently until coated with sauce. Taste and season with salt (Maldon or another flakey sea salt if possible) and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  8. Heat another skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of oil and two crushed garlic cloves. Remove and discard garlic once golden. Sprinkle the filets generously with kosher salt (1 to 2 teaspoons per steak) and coarsely ground black pepper. The pepper should cover the steaks completely, sides as well. Sear the steaks about 2 minutes per side, until a golden crust forms. The steaks should sizzle! Finish the filets in the oven until desired doneness. Personally, I like medium-rare, so I cook them until the center registers 140° F. Let them sit for 5 minutes before serving. Place each steak on a plate, spoon on the gnocchi, and sprinkle with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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