Gnocchi have to be one of my all time favorite Italian dishes and I do not think I have ever tasted a gnocchi I didn’t like, although I must admit that the prune stuffed gnocchi popular in Milan are not a gnocchi I’d want to eat every day. If you follow my blog at all you probably know that I go through stages where I seem to fall in love with a certain ingredient and then want to try every recipe I can find that includes said ingredient. For some reason my most recent infatuation is with sweet potatoes although they are not an ingredient readily found in Italy. What better combination could I think of though than sweet potato gnocchi? I have made this type of gnocchi before, once using just sweet potatoes, and once combining sweet potatoes with regular baking potatoes. Both of these versions turned out just fine, but when I recently came across a recipe that combined sweet potatoes with ricotta, I knew I had to try it. Luckily I did, because I think this has to be hands down my favorite way to make sweet potato gnocchi.
On their own, sweet potatoes are wetter than regular potatoes so tend to require more flour to create the gnocchi which can make them a little heavier. Mixing the sweet potato with regular potatoes is one way to fix that problem but the addition of regular potatoes seemed to dilute natural sweetness. By combining the sweet potatoes with ricotta, you retain the flavor and end up with pillowy soft gnocchi, just what a gnocchi should be! Since this gnocchi has a delicate sweet flavor, I didn’t want to mask that with a cream, cheese or tomato sauce so settled for a light browned butter sauce sage sauce. If you want to get fancy, you can roll the newly cut gnocchi over the tines of a fork to give it ridges, but I honestly don’t see the need to bother with this step.
Deborah Mele 2011
Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi
By combining the sweet potatoes with ricotta, you retain the flavor and end up with pillowy soft gnocchi, just what a gnocchi should be!
- 2 Pounds Sweet Potatoes
- 2/3 Cup Ricotta Cheese (Full Fat Is Best)
- 1 Large Egg Yolk
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Finely Ground Black Pepper
- 1 1/4 Cups All-purpose Flour (Approximate)
Browned Butter Sage Sauce:
- 1 1/2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
- 20 Fresh Sage Leaves
- Salt & Pepper
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Or Pecorino Cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prick the potatoes with a sharp knife and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake until very tender, about 55 minutes to an hour.
- Cool slightly, cut in half and scoop out the pulp with a spoon.
- Use a potato ricer to mash the potatoes into a bowl. (You should end up with approximately 2 cups of sweet potato pulp.)
- Add the ricotta, egg yolk, and salt and pepper and mix well.
- Lightly flour a baking sheet and set close to your work area.
- Adding about 1/2 cup of flour at a time, add just enough to create a workable dough.
- Take a fist size bowl of the dough and roll it into a 1-inch roll on a lightly floured counter.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the roll into 1-inch pieces and set aside on the floured baking sheet.
- Continue to work the rest of the dough in this same manner.
- Refrigerate the gnocchi on the baking sheet until ready to cook.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In the meantime, place the butter in a small saucepan and allow it to foam.
- Add the sage leaves and season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until the butter is lightly browned, and keep warm.
- Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water just until they rise to the surface.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove them to a heated platter.
- Pour the sauce over the gnocchi and gently toss to coat.
- Serve immediately offering grated cheese at the table.