Winter will not quit here in the East! Snowed again last eve and we are expecting another few inches tomorrow nite. My dear brother out in sunny California keeps reminding me of how wonderfully warm it is in LA this time of year. I keep reminding him that I am much closer to Italy than he is. Sibling love 🙂
What better way to brighten up my winter’s day than with food! Not wanting to go out in the snow, I spied a few sweet potatoes in the pantry and decided to spend a peaceful morning making some yummy sweet potato gnocchi. I have never used root veggies for gnocchi but have recently seen quite a few recipes using either sweet potatoes or butternut squash or other winter veggies.
Gnocchi always make me a bit anxious, hoping that the little morsels will remain intact once they hit the water. We grew up helping our mother roll gnocchi on Saturday mornings, standing alongside each other at the kitchen counter, me on a kitchen chair. With all that experience, you would think these would be a breeze for me. However, my very patient family has seen a few ‘experiments’ when the gnocchi turned into one giant clump at the bottom of the pot. But you gotta try – and wine always helps! Given I had plenty of wine on hand, I was willing to give these little guys a go!
I actually found using sweet potatoes a bit easier. They seemed sturdier and the dough came together easily.
I totally love making gnocchi – the rhythm of rolling out the little rope of dough with my palms, making the little indentation with my thumb as my mom taught me – so very peaceful. And it always surprises me how quick the process goes – before I knew it I had a few trays of little gnocchi ready for company.
I decided to serve these with a simple brown butter herb sauce. The sweetness of the sweet potato was wonderful with the nutty aroma of the brown butter. And for a real treat – take the time to brown the gnocchi in a bit of butter before tossing them into the sauce. I adore the crispiness of the crust against the softness of the sweet gnocchi. A real treat!
Here is hoping we see spring soon! Less than 20 days and counting….enjoy your weekend and buon appetito!!
Delicious sweet potato gnocchi to chase away the winter blues!
For the gnocchi:
- 2 (1 pound) sweet potatoes; washed, dried
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
For the brown butter wine herb sauce:
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- ½ cup dry white wine
- About 4 tablespoons fresh herbs of choice (thyme leaves, chopped fresh rosemary, chopped fresh sage)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Additional fresh herbs for garnish
Make the gnocchi: You can either microwave or bake the potatoes. Pierce them all over with a fork. To microwave, place the sweet potatoes on a dish and microwave until tender. To bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the sweet potatoes on a foil lined sheet pan and bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Once cooked, cut the potatoes in half and allow to cool. Scrape the flesh into a large bowl and finely mash. Add in the ricotta cheese and mix well. Add in the Parmesan, nutmeg and salt. Mix well. Add in 2 cups of flour and mix well. If the dough is too sticky, continuing adding flour, ¼ cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and dust with flour. Generously flour a work surface. Turn the dough out on the surface and form into a disk. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Work with one piece of dough at a time, keeping the remaining pieces covered with a damp towel or paper towel. Roll the piece into a rope approximately 1 inch thick. Cut each rope into small bite sized pieces, about 1 inch in length. You can leave the gnocchi as little pillows if you’d like or roll each piece over the end of a fork to create ridges or as we did growing up, use you thumb and roll the piece with your thumb to create an indentation. Transfer the gnocchi to the prepared sheet.
Once finished, you can use them right away or keep them in the refrigerator until ready to use later in the day. To freeze them, place the trays in the freezer until the gnocchi are frozen. Transfer to plastic bags to store and place in the freezer.
Make the sauce: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, occasionally swirling the pan, until the butter begins to turn brown and has a nutty aroma, about 5 minutes. Add in the wine and chopped herbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for 3-5 minutes over low heat. Keep sauce warm.
Put it all together: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches so as to not crowd, boil the gnocchi until they float to the top and are tender, about 5 minutes. Gently remove the gnocchi using a spider or slotted spoon and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi. (You can make the gnocchi a few hours in advance and allow to stand at room temperature until ready to serve.)
Heat a couple of tablespoons of butter in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Again working in batches, add the gnocchi in a single layer and cook until golden brown on the bottom. Flip and cook until brown on the other side. As finished, transfer to the sauce. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
Divide the gnocchi among bowls. Garnish with additional herbs and serve!