I really like gnocchi. I usually cheat when I eat it, and use a package from Trader Joe’s. I made ricotta gnocchi once, and while it was good, it was too rich for me to want to eat regularly.
This gnocchi recipe, however, is awesome. I want to make it all the time. It’s labor intensive, but totally worth it because it is truly delicious. I’ll try to go through it step by step.
There’s a lot of different sweet potato gnocchi recipes out there. I chose the one on Martha Stewart’s site because it makes a ton and just looked right to me. I loosely adapted a sauce from Food and Wine using some good apple cider from the farmers’ market.
I bought my sweet potatoes at the farmers market and they weren’t orange, so my finished product wasn’t a pretty orange shade, but still very yummy.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
From marthastewart.com and “Pasta Sfoglia,” by Colleen and Ron Suhanosk
Makes 2 1/2 pounds
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (optional – I skipped it because I was making such a sweet sauce. I reduced the flour by a 1/4 cup or so just to make sure they wouldn’t be too dry)
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Extra flour for dusting (The recipe calls for rice flour. I used all purpose without a problem.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. The recipe says to wrap the sweet potatoes in parchment paper-lined aluminum foil. I skipped the parchment paper because I didn’t see the point, and I didn’t have a problem. Bake until easily pierced in the center with a fork, about 1 hour. Let cool.
Place russet potatoes in a large pot; add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until easily pierced in the center with a fork. Drain and cool.
Peel all of the potatoes. Pass potatoes through a ricer or food mill fitted with a medium-hole dish.
Spread all-purpose flour on a clean, dry work surface. Place potatoes on top of flour. Add egg, maple syrup if you are using, and salt.
Using your hands, mix together ingredients on work surface until well combined to form a dough. Gently knead dough into a 10-by-8-inch rectangle. Let rest for 2 minutes.
Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with flour. Cut the rectangle into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 1-inch-thick rope. Cut each rope into 1/2 inch gnocchi. If you are super ambitous, lightly press a fork into each one to create ridges. The ridges will help the sauce stick a little better, but they definitely are not necessary.
Store gnocchi on a rice flour-covered baking sheet until ready to use and dust with more flour.
To cook the gnocci, gently place into a boiling pot of salted water. When they float to the top, cook for approximately one more minute, then drain. Some will float to the top much faster than others, so I usually start my minute countdown when it looks like more than half of them are floating.
Gnocchi can also be frozen up to 2 weeks. To freeze, place them, dusted with rice flour, in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, place them one on top of the other in an airtight container. To thaw for cooking, place gnocchi in a single layer on a baking sheet in the refrigerator for not more than 1 hour before cooking.
Apple Cider Sauce
Loosely adapted from Food and Wine
The original recipe can be found here. I liked the idea, but I thought it looked too sweet, so I doctored it up a little. While really good, I do think it was still a bit sweet, so next time I’ll reduce the cider by a 1/2 cup and replace with chicken or vegetable stock instead.
2 cups apple cider (or a mix of cider and broth)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of coarsely chopped sage leaves
Salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese to taste
In a heavy pot over medium heat, bring the cider (and broth) to a boil. Reduce it to about a 1/2 cup of liquid, approximately 20 minutes.
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil and butter. Add the shallots and saute until slightly golden, approximately 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and saute for another minute or two.
Add about a pound of gnocchi, or one half of the recipe printed above. Add the reduced cider and stir to coat. Serve with parmesan cheese.
I served the gnocchi with a side of broccoli rabe that I tossed in garlic, olive oil, and red pepper. And because I had labored all day over this dish, I decided that it deserved to be served with something good. I opted for a bottle of pinot from one of my favorite Sonoma wineries, Stephen & Walker. Their Sonoma Coast pinot noir is much fruiter than your typical pinot and went perfectly with this meal.
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