Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Let me tell you a story about sweet potatoes.

I found this recipe online and was stoked to try it! Unfortunately, because of the Thanksgiving holiday and travel, I was forced to wait a couple weeks before I could. When I went to pick up the ingredients, I couldn't find sweet potatoes - hello, main ingredient here! White sweet potatoes and about a million yams were my only options. I opted to buy the white sweet potatoes because I couldn't feel good about changing the main ingredient.


A few days later I was curious, well I had been curious since leaving the store but the time was coming to actually make the gnocchi so my curiosity peaked. How could the grocery store not have sweet potatoes? Why did the yams look soooo much like the white sweet potatoes with the exception of being a pretty orange color (like a good little sweet potato should be...)? I googled sweet potatoes vs. yams to see what I could find out. Making my amateur chef status blindingly obvious, I learned that yams and sweet potatoes are indeed the same thing. Awesome. 

The more I thought about this newly acquired information, the more I decided I needed real sweet potatoes to make my gnocchi with. The white ones just wouldn't do. So, I went to the store and bought myself 4 pounds of normal sweet potatoes. I ended up using the white sweet potatoes too (because what else was I going to do with them??), which is why I have pretty multi-colored gnocchi.


Fun fact about Tiffany: I like to cook in bulk. It makes me feel good to know that I can turn to my freezer and have ready made meals. Almost anytime a recipe says it can be frozen, I make sure I have enough to freeze and eat at a later date. 

Knowing this fun little fact, I decided to double the recipe (the recipe below reflects double the recipe so we can all have some frozen goodness for later)- which means that when I originally bought the white sweet potatoes, I bought double what the recipe called for. When I went back for normal sweet potatoes, I couldn't have less normal than I did white so I also bought double the amount. All this means that I was essentially going to have to quadruple the recipe. We. Have. So. Much. Gnocchi. I spent so much time rolling and cutting and shaping I don't even want to make it again for a year. Good thing I won't have to!

Luckily, it turned out tasting wonderfully and is definitely something we will eat again. This time around I sauteed it in olive oil and rosemary to give it a nice crisp outer covering and served it with Parmesan cheese. Don't get me wrong, this tasted lovely, but next time I am definitely making a sauce to go with it. I'm not sure what, but maybe something creamy with pesto or some sort of meat sauce. It will be delightful I have no doubt. This alone was too much of the same texture for me, and those who know me know that I have texture issues. It's good to have a base recipe though, right?

Recipe:

4 large sweet potatoes (or about 4 lbs total)
3 to 4 cups flour (from my experience, it will be closer to 4)
2 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tsp salt

Cook the sweet potatoes. I cooked mine in the oven at 450 degrees for 40 minutes, but if you prefer the microwave that is perfectly acceptable as well. 

Let the potatoes cool until you can handle them. Scoop them from the skins into a bowl and mash them until smooth. Then add the eggs, Parmesan cheese, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Mix with a spoon and then kneed until a dough forms. Gradually add additional flour until the dough is not sticky (I added the whole extra cup plus a little more before mine hit that point). If it's too sticky to roll, add more flour. 

Divide the dough into 4 parts. Using your hands roll out each piece into a very long, skinny roll.


Cut off small parts of the dough to form the gnocchi. 


At this point, you can freeze or prepare immediately. To freeze, I put them on parchment paper and rolled it up to nicely fit in a bag. Once frozen, they can be boiled immediately. To prepare, boil the gnocchi until they float, about 5 minutes. 

To prepare the gnocchi as I did here, heat a couple tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet with some about 2 tsp of salt and rosemary. Add the gnocchi and cook until slightly browned. Top with grated Parmesan. 

Source: A Couple Cooks blog

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