Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Sage and Brown Butter Sauce

    Ok, contrary to what you're thinking....I do not eat pasta every day!  It's just that, as I mentioned in an earlier post, this is National Pasta Month and today, specifically, is designated World Pasta Day!  I just had to make another pasta recipe for you! 
    Raise your hand if you've never had gnocchi.  Ok, let me explain what they are.  They are like little pasta dumplings.  Instead of just using  flour, eggs, water, and seasonings, etc. you add potatoes and, in this case, also some sweet potatoes (perfect for the fall season).  I think they're a little heavier than other pasta, but delicious in their own right.

    Making gnocchi is a labor of love.  It is a bit time consuming, but usually I have the kids help, especially with the forming of the dough.  That can really cut down on the time spent and it's fun (well, don't ask my 14 yr.old about it, but "little chef" Jordan is always very willing).  Today I was all by my lonesome....the kids were at school.  I got to do all the roasting, peeling, ricing, mixing, kneading, forming, cooking, and saucing all by myself (do you feel sorry for me??).  Sorry there won't be any detailed pics. of how to form these little guys....I really needed another pair of hands to hold the camera.  I will try and explain as clearly as I can.  You'll forgive me, right?

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Sage and Brown Butter Sauce
    (gnocchi recipe from Gianni's North Beach and sauce recipe from Lidia Bastianich)  serves 6 (?)

1 pound russet potatoes, scrubbed and pierced in several places with fork or knife
1 pound sweet potatoes, scrubbed and pierced in several places with fork or knife
1 egg
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for grating over top of gnocchi
1 1/2 - 2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
2 tblsp. chopped fresh sage
whole sage leaves,  for garnish

    Place the potatoes on a sheet pan and roast in the oven at 450 degrees until knife tender, about 45 minutes or so.  Peel them as soon as they are cool enough to handle. 

    Pass the russets and then the sweet potatoes through a ricer and gently spread them out in a thin layer on a baking sheet.  Let them cool completely so that they dry out.  (Sweet potatoes have more moisture than russets so they won't be totally dry....I think that's what makes these a little heavier than gnocchi made with only regular potatoes.)

    Beat together the egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

(You're seeing 2 eggs because I actually made a double batch......If you're going to the trouble, you might as well make extra to put in the freezer, right?)

    Lightly flour your work surface and pour the riced potatoes onto it.  Gather them together and form a well in the middle.

    Pour the egg mixture into it and gently knead it into the potatoes.

    Sprinkle the mixture with the parmigiano and 1 1/2 cups of flour and gently knead them into the potatoes.  Add more flour, if necessary, to get a sticky, cohesive dough.

    Cut the dough into several pieces.  Sprinkle more flour onto your surface and roll each piece into a rope about 1/2" dia.  Cut each rope into 3/4 - 1" pieces.  Roll them in the flour to keep them from sticking together.

    Turn a fork over so you're looking at the back of it.  Take a piece of dough and, with your thumb, lightly press over the fork tines and roll off the end.  You want to create ridges on one side and a little cavity on the other side (sorry, this is where the pics. would come in handy).  Gently roll the pieces around in the flour and place on a baking sheet, lined with a clean kitchen towel.  Don't let them touch.


    Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.  Meanwhile, you can make the sage and brown butter sauce.  Heat the butter over medium heat until melted and just golden, stirring often, 3-4 minutes.  Add the sage and stir for 1 minute.  (Note: this time I just used the whole leaves in the sauce instead of chopping them, but the chopped leaves are very pretty)  Set aside until gnocchi is ready.
    When the water has come up to a boil, add the gnocchi, a few at a time.  Stir gently so they don't stick together.  After they all float to the top, let them cook about 30 seconds or so.  Use a slotted spoon or strainer to gently remove them and add to the sauce in the pan.  Cook til heated through and coated in the butter.  Season with salt and pepper, as desired, and top with more grated cheese.  Garnish with whole sage leaves.  Serve immediately.

Note:    If you make extra, you can freeze the dough, unshaped, wrapped well, or you can place shaped gnocchi on a wax paper-lined sheet in a single layer (not touching) and put in the freezer until solid.  Then remove the sheet, remove the frozen gnocchi, and put in freezer bags.  Store in the freezer and take out the amount you need any time you want.  Cook them the same way as you would the fresh ones (they'll take a little longer).   




  1. Joann, we both posted gnocchi today! Looks delish!

  2. So we did....great Italian minds think alike! I'll have to try them using pumpkin next time and the sauce you made sounds yummy too!