Tuesday, September 29, 2009

sweet potato gnocchi with fried sage

I've been wanting to make gnocchi for a long time. Each time I think about doing it, though, I find some reason not to, knowing that it's labor intense and fearing I won't do it right. But on Sunday, as I was flipping through the latest issue of Gourmet for inspiration and saw the sweet potato gnocchi recipe, I knew I needed to overcome my fears and give making gnocchi a go.

It turns out, making gnocchi is neither as labor-intensive or as difficult as I had imagined it would be. Granted, this would never be a weeknight dinner for me (at least not from scratch, as it is definitely time intensive), but making gnocchi was a fun way to spend my Sunday afternoon. Bonus: this recipe makes more than twice the amount that JR and I can eat for a meal, and the uncooked gnocchi can be frozen (first in 1 layer on baking sheet, then transferred to a sealable bag; do not thaw before cooking) for up to 1 month. So maybe weeknight gnocchi is a possibility, after all...

I followed the recipe nearly exactly - my only modifications were the omission of chestnuts (I'm not a big fan and also didn't feel like going to the grocery to hunt some down) and I also skipped a step where you were supposed to roll the gnocchi into a ball and press it down the backside of a fork - I wanted my gnocchi to look like little pillows, like what I've had in restaurants. It turned out just like I was hoping it would.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Fried Sage
Serves 6

1 1/4 lb. russet potatoes (~2 large)
3/4 lb. sweet potato (~1 medium)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/3 c. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
1 1/2 - 2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 c. sage leaves
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pierce russet and sweet potatoes with a fork several times. Bake in a 4-sided sheet pan until just tender, about an hour.

Cool potatoes slightly, then peel and force through a potato ricer into the sheet pan, spreading into an even layer. Allow to cool completely. Lightly flour two sheet pans. Set aside.

Beat together egg, nutmeg, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a small bowl. Gather potatoes into a mound in sheet pan and form a well in the center. Pour egg mixture into well, then knead into potatoes. Knead in cheese and 1 1/2 c. flour, then knead, adding more flour as necessary (I didn't end up adding any more), until mixture forms a smooth but slightly sticky dough.

Cut dough into 6 pieces. Form 1 piece of dough into a 1/2-inch thick rope on a lightly floured surface. Cut rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer gnocchi to baking sheets. Repeat with remaining 5 pieces of dough.

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Fry sage leaves, stirring, until they turn just a shade lighter and crisp (they will continue to crisp as they cool). Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season lightly with salt.

Add butter to oil in skillet with 1/2 tsp. salt and cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add half of gnocchi to a pasta pot of well-salted boiling water and stir. Cook until they float to the surface, about 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to skillet with butter sauce. Cook remaining gnocchi in same manner, transferring to skillet as cooked. Heat gnocchi in skillet over medium heat, stirring to coat.

Serve sprinkled with fried sage and grated cheese.

This would be the perfect dish for entertaining, since you can make the gnocchi ahead of time and the dish comes together very quickly from the boiling-the-gnocchi point. The result is buttery, sagey, nutmegy delicious.


  1. I love gnocchi but my one attempt to make them did not go well at all. This makes me want to try again, although I had never even heard of a potato ricer. (If anyone else doesn't know, it looks like a giant garlic press.) This is tempting stuff!

  2. Update: I had totally forgotten that I froze half of the gnocchi, but stumbled upon them in the freezer earlier this week. Rather than butter and sage, this time I prepared the gnocchi with sauteed baby kale, garlic, and marinara sauce. It was delish!


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