Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sweet potato gnocchi

I was out of town for the weekend at a Sacred Harp singing. I stayed with a friend's parents, and we made this for dinner on Friday night. I didn't take any pictures this weekend, so I'm including a couple that I took a few months ago. Just in case you aren't Italian, gnocchi are little Italian potato or flour dumplings.

This is good company food. It's pretty impressive (homemade gnocchi!) but doesn't take that long to make if you start with cooked sweet potatoes or cook them in the microwave. I usually pop the sweet potatoes in the oven a couple days before I'm planning on making this so they'll be ready when I want to use them. I got the recipe from allrecipes.com, but I don't use their weird sweet potato cooking technique. I just bake the things like I would if I were eating them plain. The spice combination of garlic and nutmeg is really nice. I'd like to try this with butternut squash sometime, too. I think that would be good. I like to dress these with just a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and parmesan cheese, but butter is good too. You can use a standard tomato sauce, but it will overpower the delicate sweet potato flavor.
Rolling a snake of gnocchi dough
Sweet potato gnocchi

2 8-oz sweet potatoes
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour

Bake the sweet potatoes until they're soft, either in the oven at 425 F for 40-60 minutes or in the microwave for 6-9 minutes. Scoop the flesh into a medium mixing bowl and mash. It's OK if it's a little lumpy, but you will be able to feel the lumps in the finished product. Add the garlic, salt, nutmeg, and egg and mix thoroughly. Add the flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. You might not use all the flour. You want to use just enough to make a soft dough. After adding about 1 cup, you'll probably have to start kneading it instead of mixing it with a spoon. When you have a soft dough, roll it between your hands into snakes about 1 inch in diameter and cut the snakes into small pieces (see above pictures for rolling and cutting). You might need to incorporate a little more flour during this process if the dough is still sticky.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the gnocchi into the water several at a time. (They don't all have to be cooked before you add more, so you can stagger the additions.) When a gnocco (yep, that's the singular) rises to the top, scoop it out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl or colander. When all the gnocchi are cooked, eat them quickly. They are best fresh out of the pot.

1 comment:

Karine said...

This is the first time I hear about gnocchi made with sweet potatoes. Interesting! I tried once to make gnocchi. It is not so hard, but it requires practice :)