Sweet Potato Gnocchi
A few months ago a bunch of friends and I took a cooking class together. It was a really fun, laid-back night that involved various work stations where we helped prepare everything from gnocchi to roasted pork to caramelized apple tart. After 90% of the meal was done being prepared, we all sat back with a cocktail, let the professionals finish up the cooking, and ate family style. Best of all we left with all of the recipes and instructions for what we made, including sweet potato gnocchi.
While I had made gnocchi before, I had never made sweet potato gnocchi. I fell in love with the taste and texture and I knew I would be making these babies at home.
Really, there’s nothing difficult about making gnocchi, it can just be a slightly tedious process. One step I’ve taken to quicken up the process of making gnocchi is to forgo rolling gnocchi on either a gnocchi board or fork (this is the step that gives gnocchi ridges). The rationality behind giving gnocchi ridges is that it helps sauce stick. While I can’t argue with that logic, it’s honestly a step I don’t find to be entirely necessary. Sauce tends to stick well enough and who minds sopping up leftover sauce with a crusty piece of warm bread (that’s my favorite part)?
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Adapted from Blue Ribbon Cooking Classes
- 2 pounds of sweet potatoes (or yams), rinsed, patted dry, pierced all over with a fork
- 1 12-ounce container fresh ricotta cheese (that has been drained in a sieve for 2 hours [to ensure excess moisture has been expelled])
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons lightly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting surface)
Bake sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until potatoes are cooked through and tender.
Once potatoes are done, let cool slightly, cut in half, and scoop flesh into a medium bowl. In class I was told that you could just mash sweet potato. Something about the gluten in russet potatoes is different and it’s recommended you not mash those, but mashing sweet potatoes is fine… alternatively you could process them in a food mill or rice them using a potato ricer. You should have 3 cups.
Add strained ricotta, parmesan, brown sugar, salt, and nutmeg and mix until incorporated. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.
Turn dough onto a floured surface, divide into 6 equal pieces. Rolloing between palms and floured work surface, form each of the 6 pieces into a 20-inch long rope (approximately 1 inch thick), sprinkling with additional flour as needed if dough becomes to sticky. Cut each rope into 20 pieces (I used a bench scraper but a knife works just as well).
Do ahead: At this point you can flash freeze the gnocchi on a baking sheet before placing in a ziplock bag and freezing for several months (no need to defrost when you’re ready to cook). It’s important to note that these should be cooked as soon as possible or frozen immediately. I didn’t find that they held at room temperature or in the refrigerator very well.
To cook gnocchi, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. In batches, cook gnocchi for a few minutes until they float and rise to the top (about 5 minutes). If cooking frozen gnocchi, they will take closer to 6 or 7 minutes to cook.
These are quite delicious served with a simple sauce of brown butter and sage but I mainly made these to serve with ragu. The sweetness and pillow-like consistency was a great juxtaposition with the rich, meaty, hearty profile of a ragu.