Let’s get one thing straight. I don’t like sweet potatoes. Or yams. Or any orangey colored squash. It has nothing to do with me not liking vegetables, I adore nearly ALL vegetables. It also has nothing to do with me not being willing to try them…I try them every few months. There’s just something in there that my taste buds reject.
So when I made plans to make sweet potato gnocchi, it had absolutely nothing to do with me and absolutely everything to do with Tapioca. A few weekends back, I’d invited Tapioca and Hair to come hang out on a Sunday while I experimented in the kitchen. I wanted to try my hand at making gnocchi and I knew it would take awhile. What better way to pass the time than chatting with my best girls while making delicious italian foods?
The problem is, Tapioca and her parents don’t eat white potatoes. They do the whole Maker’s Diet thing and with the rare “I’m around Jen, so I can cheat” exceptions, they try very hard to stand by it.
So when I ran across a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi while hunting for a standard gnocchi recipe, I knew we had to try it. Of course had I known at that sweet potato gnocchi was about to bust my “sweet potatoes are gross” philosophy, I’d have made them way sooner.
These things are crazy tasty. I liked them ok when we first made them, but after sauteeing a little sage in a pan with melted butter and then tossing it all together, it was downright delicious. Tasted like Thanksgiving. (In fact, I’m fairly certain I’ll be making them for Thanksgiving this year.)
All of that is to say that even if you don’t like sweet potatoes, give this one a try. It was much easier than the regular gnocchi and far less temperamental. They use ricotta, so it’s a lot harder to mess up the consistency.
Fair warning, these are a lot of work. (Saying something is easier than regular gnocchi is kind like saying running a 10K is “easier” than running a marathon.) My suggestion is to double the batch so you can freeze some.
This recipe made enough for the three of us to snack on them for dinner, to send a meal’s worth home with Tapioca for her and her parents, to keep a meal’s worth for our family and to send two meal’s worth home with a single friend. My guess is a doubled recipe would give a family of four about 4-5 meal’s worth.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Butter
(adapted from Epicurious)
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes
- 12 oz fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 c grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- 2 T packed brown sugar
- 2 T + 2T salt
- 1/2 t freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 3/4 c all purpose flour
- 1 c unsalted butter
- 6 T chopped fresh sage (or 2 t. dried sage)
Note: this job will be much easier if you have (or buy) a ricer. I picked up mine on Amazon for $24. A little steep for only making gnocchi, but if you’re like me and are constantly in the kitchen, a good ricer is a pretty worthwhile buy.
Wash sweet potatoes, then poke a few holes in them. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, until the potatoes feel tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. (In fact, I baked them the night before and then let them sit on the counter overnight.)
In the meantime, put a mesh strainer over a bowl and pour your ricotta cheese in. Allow to sit for at least 2 hours and up to four hours so liquid can drain from ricotta.
Once potatoes have cooled, peel the skin off and push them through the ricer. You should have about three cups of riced potatoes. Add the ricotta cheese and blend well (I use my KitchenAid mixer and a paddle attachment.) Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 2 t of salt and nutmeg until blended. Slowly add 1/2 cup of flower at a time and continue to mix until a soft dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide into twelve equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10″ long rope…it should be about the thickness of your thumb. (If the dough is sticky, sprinkle a little flour on it to make it easier to work with.) Cut each rope into pieces about one to one and a half inches long. Roll over the tines of a fork to give them ridges, kind of like this…
Once you’ve cut up a section or so, set a pot of water to boiling. Then you can start boiling them in batches for about 5 to 6 minutes. (They’ll start to float.)
The original directions call for letting them cool on a baking sheet after this, but we thought the texture was a bit sticky…so we moved them straight from the pot into a hot skillet with a bit of butter and pan fried them.
THEN they made it to the tray to cool off. (Apart from the ones Tapicoa kept plucking up and devouring…)
Of course if you’re going to serve them up immediately, simply add your sage to the butter as you fry them. If you’re going to freeze them, let them air dry first until they are cool to the touch, then pack them up into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
To cook the frozen ones, just pop them into boiling water for a few minutes until they float, or allow to thaw overnight in the fridge an then pan fry with butter and sage.
We tried them with alfredo sauce as well, AND with cinnamon sugar, but it was hard to beat the butter and sage flavor.
If you’ve got someone you’re really looking to impress…or if you have a vegetarian friend that loves gourmet food…this is a sure fire recipe. Absolutely delicious!