Making braised onion sauce for gnocchi

imageI saw Braised Onion Sauce on Food52 last week, and bookmarked it to try. Slow-braised golden onions with butter and Madeira, served on pasta sounded just amazing! It is adapted from James Beard’s “Beard on Pasta”. So when my husband emailed today to say he had gone wild and bought two euros worth of fresh gnocchi at our pasta all’uova shop, asking if that would work with the onion sauce, I thought this was a brilliant suggestion. I bought a pile of onions, and came home to find the flat fragrant with onions already chopped and braising in our kitchen, thanks to my lovely husband.


Thursdays is gnocchi day in Rome, and these gnocchi are very good: soft, pillowy, and light. Our neighbour raves about the gnocchi from downstairs; he only gets to eat it when his wife is out (yes, there are low-carb followers even in Rome, implausible as that may seem). Our palazzo is now worried as there are rumours the pasta-makers downstairs may retire soon, and the nephew will take over. But will he have the same superb touch as Maurizio? Who knows? We had better enjoy his gnocchi and fresh pasta while we can.

Making golden braised onion sauce for gnocchi for two
Inspired by Braised Onion Sauce on Food52

5 tbs butter
350 grammes yellow and white onions, halved and sliced
1 tsp sugar
Pinch of salt
Splash of Marsala
400 grammes gnocchi
Grated Parmesan, for serving


See detailed instructions on Food52. Cooking the onions in butter does take an hour, at least, but it smells just amazing while slowly caramelizing. They should be darkly golden, we should really have waited longer but we were hungry…… When onions are darkly golden, or just medium golden as here, add a splash of Marsala to the onions (original says Madeira, but we only have Marsala in the house). Boil the gnocchi in a separate pan. When they float up, they are done – it takes no time at all. Now, toss the gnocchi in the pan with the onions. Serve with grated parmesan. Served two, with no leftovers.

It is buttery, rich, full of golden flavour: really lovely. It takes time, but was easy enough, and was nicely frugal for the January budget. I would make it again, definitely.  It is nice getting back into the swing of cooking!

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