I can’t remember where I first heard of sweet potato gnocchi, all I can tell you is that I have had them on my bucket list of things to make and/or try for several months. I have actually never made fresh gnocchi, sweet potato or otherwise. It seemed intimidating. I am happy to report that it’s not! If you can make simple sugar cookies, you can make gnocchi. Easy as it may be, I still needed a recipe, so I searched a few of my favorite recipe sites (cookingchanneltv.com, cookinglight.com, foodandwine.com, etc) and actually found very few recipes using sweet potatoes rather than regular potatoes. Also, all of them called for a brown butter and sage sauce.
For the gnocchi, I opted for a recipe I found on epicurious.com, which called for sweet potatoes, ricotta cheese, fresh nutmeg, parmesan cheese, and brown sugar.
It’s a bit of a labor of love because you have to roll each of them, but oh, is it worth it. Up until today I had only tried store-bought, refrigerated gnocchi and they tend to be a little bit dense and stick to your teeth. These are amazing little pillows of flavor that are so worth the time it takes to roll them out.
In yesterday’s post I mentioned the difficulties I have getting certain ingredients occasionally. Just like yesterday, I subbed ricotta for pureed cottage cheese. Then I had another dilemma – every recipe I found said brown butter and sage and I just couldn’t find sage anywhere. So, I got creative, thought about it for a little bit, and came up with shallots sauteed in butter with basil. Shallots have so much flavor, and the sweet aromatic basil went perfectly with the flavor of the sweet potatoes. I don’t know how it would have tasted with sage, but this combo is a winner.
Clearly, this isn’t “light” or “diet”, but every now and then you just crave a comforting, rich dish like this one. My mouth is watering just looking at this picture as I type… So here’s the recipe, because I know you can’t wait to try it too!
Gnocchi (10-12 servings):
- 2 lb. red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), rinsed, dried and pierced all over with a fork
- 12 oz. whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
Place sweet potatoes on a plate and microwave on high 5-7 minutes on each side (depends on the size, the need to be soft to the touch like a baked potato). Cut in half and spoon out the insides into a medium bowl; mash.
Add ricotta; blend well. Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Mash to blend. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough forms.
Turn dough onto a floured surface, divide into 6 equal parts. Rolling each piece between palms and the floured surface, make a rope about 1 inch thick (aprox. 20 inches long). Cut each rope into 20 pieces. Roll them over the tines of a fork and set aside on a baking sheet.
Boil and salt water in a large pot. Add gnocchi in batches and boil 5-6 minutes. Initially they sink, when they are done they will all float up to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl or baking sheet and add next batch.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup butter
- 6 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup basil leaves, washed, dried and thinly sliced
- salt and pepper (pepper optional)
Add olive oil to a pan heated over medium heat; add sliced shallots. Sautee about 5 minutes until tender. Add butter and allow to melt and brown, stirring occasionally. Turn down the heat if necessary to keep butter and/or shallots from burning. Once all of the gnocchi are cooked, add them to the pan. Add basil and mix together until evenly coated.
Serve with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.