I love gnocchi of every shape and description so I often try out new combinations to see what I can come up with. I decided that since basic potato gnocchi were so easy, why not try a sweet potato version? I baked the sweet potatoes as I do regular potatoes but found the cooked pulp was still a bit wet. The dryer the potato is, the less flour you will need which results in a lighter gnocchi so I put the sweet potato pulp in a sieve to drain for 30 minutes before I assembled my gnocchi. I also use a fine mesh potato ricer which creates a more delicate textured gnocchi. Since these gnocchi would be sweeter than the regular potato gnocchi, I decided to use a savory caramelized onion sauce with brown butter and sage. The dish turned out delicious, and I will certainly be making it again!
The trick to gnocchi is to not over knead the dough, and to use only as much flour as is needed to create a soft, workable dough. Knead your gnocchi dough only as long as it takes for the ingredients to come together into a smooth dough. The longer you knead, the more flour you will use, resulting in a heavier gnocchi. It is a good idea if you are new to gnocchi making to test your gnocchi before you prepare the whole batch. Drop a couple of gnocchi into boiling water and remove as soon as they come to the surface. If they fall apart, knead in a little more flour. If they hold up well, continue cutting the rest of your gnocchi.
To cook gnocchi, always use a large pot of boiling, salted water, and remove them as soon as they float to the surface. If you overcook gnocchi they will turn to mush. Gnocchi don’t keep well at room temperature; so if you are not cooking them right away, place them on a lightly floured baking sheet in the refrigerator. I would not keep any type in the refrigerator longer than a few hours. You can precook gnocchi made with potatoes and reheat by dropping back into boiling water. Generally gnocchi don’t freeze well unless they have a good deal of flour added. Since you can prepare them so quickly, it is easier to make them fresh each time. These gnocchi are best when made just before you are ready to cook them as they begin to break down and soften if left in the refrigerator for hours.
The Potato Pulp After Being Riced
Deborah Mele 2011
- 1 Pound Sweet Potatoes (About 2 to 3 Medium Potatoes)
- 1 1/2 Cups Of Flour (Plus 1/2 Cup For Shaping)
- 1 Egg
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 4 Medium Shallots
- 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
- Black Pepper
- 6 Fresh Sage Leaves Finely Chopped
- Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Bake your potatoes in their skins until fork tender, about 40 minutes, and place on a plate until they are cool enough to handle.
- Cut the potatoes in half, and scoop out the potato and press through a potato ricer into a bowl.
- Place the sweet potatoes in a sieve and let drain over the sink to remove any excess liquid.
- Add the egg, Parmesan cheese and slowly start adding the flour a little at a time, mixing well with your hands and continue until you have created a soft workable dough.
- Knead gently, only briefly until you have achieved a smooth, pliable if slightly sticky dough.
- To shape the gnocchi, first break the dough into fist sized pieces, and roll each piece into a log about the thickness of your thumb on a lightly floured surface.
- Cut into 1 inch pieces. If desired, take a fork and place it against your work board.
- With it's back towards you, press each piece of dough with your index finger firmly up the length of the fork tines.
- Let the gnocchi fall back onto the board and continue with the remaining pieces in this manner.
- Place the prepared gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
- To cook, drop carefully into salted boiling water and remove immediately as they have all floated to the surface.
- To prepare the sauce, peel and finely slice the shallots, and cook in the butter until soft and golden brown.
- The butter should just begin to brown at the same time.
- Stir in the chopped sage and allow the flavors to meld.
- Season with cracked black pepper and keep warm while the gnocchi cooks.
- Drain and top with the shallot, butter sauce.
- Offer grated parmesan cheese at the table.