Sweet Potato Gnocchi: The Good, the Not-Too-Bad, and the Sorta Ugly

tray  of gnocchi

I thought I’d better get this one out of the way right off the bat, at the start of the year. This recipe was languishing on my kitchen counter, resisting publication until I could resist no more. (And if you saw my kitchen counter, you’d know a piece of paper takes up about 25% of it, so I’m especially eager to get it out of the way.) I wasn’t sure if it was up to snuff since I can’t claim exactly 100% success, although the end result was pretty darned good.

But Carol warned me I’d better write it up, and I’m a bit scared of her after what she did to that pig’s head. Although truth be told, she can blame any failures on Tom or Grant. Here, it’s just me, myself, and moi.

Plus I needed the counter space.

'taters

1. The Good

I’ve been meaning to mix up a batch of gnocchi for a while, since I don’t think there’s any better way to fight off the chill of winter than a big bowl of carbohydrates swimming in melted butter.


I always say I’m going to make gnocchi. I think about it, work through in my mind a process, but I never seem to do it. But after reading a couple of accounts of gnocchi-making, at delicious:days and Divina Cucina, I decided to finally give the little ‘tatery pillows a go, using sweet potatoes.

French people don’t have much of appreciation for sweet potatoes. So I try to sneak them into places where they might not expect them, and everyone is always surprised at how good they are. If you avoid marshmallows and stuff like that, you can easily hook ‘em in and I’m certain I’ve converted more Gallic guests to les patates douces than anyone other étranger.

gnocchi dough

I remember twenty-five years ago when I was visiting Germany and my dinner hosts were absolutely horrified that I was eating the skins of my baked potato. Those folks, if they’re still avoiding potato skins, will be happy to know that for gnocchi-making, you don’t use the (delicious) potato skins. Can you imagine their freak-out if they stopped in at TGIFridays and saw a roomful of people, en masse, eating just the potato skins? But you should look for potatoes that have little moisture, as too much is apparently the enemy of feather-light gnocchi.

fork

I asked my potato guy at the market—and you do have a potato guy, don’t you?—for a dry potato to mix with the sweet potatoes. Since we’re still on the good part, I have to tell you that I love my potato guy. French women are known for the special relationship that they form with their butcher. It must be the blood coursing through everyone’s veins, or the raging hormones in les boucheries, but I go ga-ga for my potato guy.

He’s everything you want in a potato guy: he’s really friendly, he has the best shallots, he wears a tank-top all year round, even in the dead of winter, and has a huge selection of amazing potatoes. No matter how cold it is, how many people are in line, or even if there’s a woman behind me taking a few shallots off one of the many little bowls that he’s set out, and moving them onto the one she’s about to buy, nothing seems to upset him.

(I, of course, gave her a very dirty look, which I think in French is called an œil noisette, or “browned-butter” eye, but perhaps one of my French readers can clarify that one since it certainly isn’t in my dictionnaire français. An œil buerre noir is a black eye, which is what she probably felt like giving me.)

Baking the potatoes means less moisture and better gnocchi, or so I was told. So I roasted mine in the oven. And when my potatoes came out, they were golden-crispy, and unbelievably good. If you don’t have a potato guy, I suggest you get one—tout de suite!

drying gnocchi

And just thinking about him got me in such a tizzy that I forgot to remove hang up the shirt next to my drying rack. Yikes!

2. The Not-Too-Bad

And then I made them. Quelle désastre!

Speaking of roots, did you know that the word désastre comes from the French des asters, or “from the stars”, as people believed that many disasters came from the sky or the heavens? Just trying to avoid continuing with my recollection of the gnocchi….

Anyhow, my first batch turned out gummy and icky. I cribbed a few recipes together to get to where I’m at, and being a persistent little fella, on the third try, I thought I got it right, but ending up spitting the test one out that was barely edible (I know, thanks for sharing, David….) and thought about running to the Italian épicerie to get some for my unsuspecting dinner guests.

Backing up, let me tell you, I tried using the minimum amount of flour, as most folks say to keep it under 20% of the weight of the potatoes. Gnocchi are somewhat paradoxical: too much flour and they’re heavy, too little and you can’t shape them. And being extra-careful, mine were a gloopy mess, rolling them would be like rolling out and cutting a log of warm grape jelly. So I added more flour, but trying to add only just enough to keep them from becoming leaden. Yet I persevered and as I boiled up a few, each little doughy pellet was gluey on the inside.

I wonder if my tears were making the dough too wet, at this point. Finally I gave up, rolled out what I could, and let them dry spread across my bedroom, certain they’d all be destined for the trash.

gnocchi

3. The (Sorta) Ugly

Thank goodness browned butter is a salve that can heal many-a-culinary wound, and after a good boil, a toss in the nutty-tasting butter with a very generous handful of fresh sage added, no one was the wiser. And actually, my final sweet potato gnocchi were a success.

Who knew?

gnocchi

So what’s the secret of gnocchi? I don’t know. Amy suggested freezing the dough, which seemed like a good idea, since chilling it would certainly help make it turgid. (My word, not hers.) I bet you never read a story about making pasta that had the word “turgid” in it. Well, now you can’t say that anymore.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Makes six to eight servings



As mentioned, this is a recipe in transition. If you’re looking for a more fleshed-out recipe, click on one of the links above. And if you have any advice, feel free to leave them for me in the comments. I will, one day, be the master of sweet potato gnocchi!

Roast 12 ounces (350g) of baking potatoes and 2 1/2-pounds (1kg) of sweet potatoes, halved, on a oiled and lightly-salted baking sheet for 45 minutes to an hour, in a 400F (200C) oven.

Once roasted and cool enough to handle, scrape out the pulp from the potato jackets. You should have 1 1/4-pounds (650g).

Pass the pulp through a potato ricer or food mill, or mash thoroughly. Don’t use a food processor, which will make them gummy. (If you’re wondering what you can do with the potato skins, you can send them to me.)

Ok, now here’s the catch: one has to decide how much flour to add. Too much, and they’ll be gummy, too little and they’re hard to roll. The trick is to add just the right amount of flour so the dough is still sticky, but will hold together.

I mixed in 1 1/2 cups (210g) flour, 1 large egg, a grating of nutmeg, 1/2 ounce (15g) grated Parmesan cheese, and a little salt.

Since this is a non-traditional recipe, I’m gonna tell you to start with a smaller amount of flour, and add more as you go. The dough is just right when you can roll it on a floured countertop (I used semolina) and it’s just firm enough to form a pillowy-soft cylinder.

Cut the cylinders into pieces about half as long as your thumb, then roll each piece over the back of a floured fork, to make indentations in them.

Set the gnocchi on a flour-dusted baking sheet, preferably lined with parchment paper, until ready to cook. (They can be frozen at this point, then wrapped in a freezer bag, too.) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the gnocchi. They’ll take about 5 minutes to cook. Take one out, rinse it under cool water, then taste it. If it’s cooked in the middle, it’s done.

Toss gnocchi in a pan of still-warm browned butter, add freshly-chopped sage, a few grinds of black pepper, and coarsely-grated Parmesan or Pecorino, and serve with pride.

54 comments

  • Glad they turned out afterall! and glad your post is both visible and commentable! :)

  • They look scrumptious. Always liked that word. I reserve it only for the stuff that looks extra good. Lucky your guests and kudos to you for persevering.

  • Thanks, it must be a trend (or forecast) for 2009. For some reason, comments got toggled off, then when that was pointed out to me, I noticed half the post and the recipe was gone. Poof!

    I was able to salvage it, like the gnocchi, though.
    So maybe 2009 won’t be so bad after all : )

  • I wonder if the difficulties were due to the moisture of the sweet potatoes (even after using part white potatoes)? I am reminded of the Acadian recipe for poutine râpée (not poutine “québécoise” which is fries with curds and gravy), where part of the potatoes are boiled and mashed, but part are grated raw, squeezed in a cloth to remove moisture, then mixed with the pureed/mashed potatoes, to make the dumpling dough that envelopes the meat filliing. I don’t know for sure the origins of this method, but I’m guessing that in colonial times, wheat flour was more precious to the Acadians than potatoes, so grating and squeezing the potatoes obviated the need for flour in the batter? I wonder if this technique would work, or is worth the effort, with sweet potatoes. Recipes for poutine râpée are easy to find via google.

  • Love this David – what a stunning colour to brighten up a grey London day. I have just ventured into making Gnocchi from scratch as it is then gluten free….can’t wait to try this one out!

  • Oh my goodness!! I love sweet potatoes and up until now, sweet potato ravioli in brown butter and sage was pretty much the epitome of my sweet tater love. But I would die for this dish. Not so much that I will actually make it since you obviously have far more persistence than I. Still, I am thinking you are a genius! Gnocchi….sweet potatoes….sigh…..

  • First, still cracking up over *Tom*.

    Second, this just proves that something doesn’t have to be perfect to be absolutely scrumptious… gnocchi, men… you know….

  • I never really made sweet potato gnocchi, but it does sounds good David. LOL, glad your remember to take out your laundry before you took the photos….
    Cheers,
    Elra

  • Are we living in some kind of parallel universe? You make gougeres as I make gougeres, you made gnocchis – I had my first gnocchi attempt a few days ago. ‘Cept I used normal potatoes cos unlike you I can’t get a Frenchman to try savoury food with the word ‘sweet’ in the title. I used a recipe on “The Cooks Book” and they turned out without any problems or dough freezing. The book said ‘use a light’ hand so I really tried to do that even though I wondered how to be light with 10 minutes of kneading time. The knead of an angel methinks. I must have been lucky although I could probably do with some more practice on the shaping part. I still have half of them in the freezer. I’m interested in seeing if they’ll taste as good – it says use them within a week. I used Mariquita’s Russets. We have 10lbs we bought from the guerrilla delivery of them to use, so I have new potato recipes coming out of my ears right now.

  • Ahh, the kitchen disaster my old friend. Brown butter and cheese are both wonderful fixers. The end result actually looks quite yummy.Great recount.

  • PS – even if I don’t say ‘sweet’ they always know. Did you really get these past him?

  • I suggest resting the dough a little after you’ve added the initial amount of flour, the amount you’re hoping will be enough. I learned that trick in a bread-making class; to keep from adding too much flour as we started kneading the dough, they’d suggest we rest it for five minutes (covered on the counter with an upended bowl so it doesn’t dry out). It’s like magic. In the five minutes the glutens get to work, your dough becomes less sticky (so you’re not tempted to add more flour) and more elastic. This works great for gnocchi too.

  • I have two cans of pureed sweet potatoes-can these be used instead of the roasted and riced sweet potatoes? Russets would be prepared as per your recipe. What type of flour did you use in the dough?

  • sam: Actually, I am certain Romain is Italian, since he’ll eat anything.

    Victor: I tend to think that’s right, and maybe I should try these with butternut squash, since the sweet potatoes do have quite a bit of moisture (although as you can see, they weren’t all that wet.) It seems most of my comrades use pumpkin, although most of the pumpkins here are quite moist.

    Martina: I’m not all that familiar with canned sweet potatoes, having not seen them for quite some time, so I’m not sure. I think if you drained them very well, perhaps they’d work. (You could also dry the chunks in the oven to help.) I used Type 65 organic white flour, which is similar to the all-purpose white flour in the US, although a bit softer.

    deb: Hmm, on theory, it doesn’t sound plausable, since bread is mostly wheat and water, whereas gnocchi have very little flour (or gluten), so resting shouldn’t make all that much of a difference. Still, if you say it does, then I’m all ears. Will give that a try on the next round, too.

  • Thanks. Given me the inspiration to have another attempt at gnocci. First attempt a disaster, like little lumps of wet suet. Must have put too much flour in.
    Is it possible to make them without flour for coeliacs?

  • …but David, sweet potatoes are so much yummier than squash (and I do like squash an awful lot). Clearly the solution is to perfect both squash gnocchi and sweet potato gnocchi. So for the latter, what about using part finely ground cornmeal instead of flour to take up some of the moisture without adding any glueyness? (Perhaps a good use for your “beloved” Parisian instant polenta?)

    I would also roast some garlic alongside the sw-pots, for the eventual garnish alongside the butter, cheese, and sage.

  • The universe as I know threatened to end when I saw no comments for this stimulating post. All is well now since your explanation for that mercifully short-lived wall of silence has been given.

    Pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini for his sweet potato dumplings (for an entrement, but his culinary astuce should still apply to savoury ones) wraps the sweet potatoes in parchment-lined aluminum foil and places them over a bed of salt on a baking sheet, baking until soft, 1 to 1.5 hrs: Sweet Potato Dumpling Recipe

    One could, not saying necessarily that you would commit such a culinary blasphemy, but if additional flour is added for manageability than one could add a pinch or so of baking powder to compensate for the heaviness. I add baking powder to various fritters, like fish/bean cakes depending on how much flour I need to add in order to make them receptive to shaping.

  • David,
    My Siciliano Nona always added dry breadcrumbs if the potaotes proved too wet, allowing her to go easy on the excess flour.

  • As a lifelong gnocchi maker and consumer, I don’t really agree with keeping the flour to a scant minimum. If you don’t put enough flour in, you’re dealing with a dough that’s too soft and sticky, and while the resulting gnocchi might be “feather-light”, they fall apart too easily, lack a dumpling-like consistency, and taste like mashed potato more than anything. My approach is to add enough flour until the dough is just barely workable.

    Can I also suggest my family’s alternative to rolling the gnocchi over the back of a fork? We roll the dough into tubes, cut the tubes into pieces, and then indent each piece with a fingertip. The result is a square dumpling with a round indentation in it that catches the sauce quite nicely, and it saves a lot of time and frustration.

  • I agree with the freezing technique.. but personally I am an eggless gnocchi girl!

    I find that the potato and flour is fine without the eggs and light as a feather!

    Always love the way you tell tales!
    love the drying rack!

  • ack! I’m so afraid of making gnocchi! I’m sure to screw it up. these look delicious, though…

  • Wondering where in Paris did you find fresh sage in the middle of winter.

    I have been looking all over because I wanted to make a farinata with carmelized onions, olives and fresh sage but I have never been able to find it in the middle of winter (I ended up using dried ).

    Won’t you give up your source for a dedicated fan? Thanks David!

  • I’ve never made gnocchi, but I do make Lefse. Lefse is predominately russet potatoes with butter, cream (sometimes), seasoning and enough flour to form a soft dough that can be rolled out thinner than a regular flour tortilla. The key is getting the moisture out of the potatoes, that once boiled, are tossed in the hot pan until they dry out further and start flaking apart on their own. Then you add the butter, seasonings (and cream) to melt. The potatoes are then chilled overnight at that point. When ready to bake, the potatoes are divided into small batches of dough for about 4 lefsa each, and flour is then added, but just enough to make a soft, light, non sticky dough that ‘just’ pliable. They are immediately rolled out so that the glutten doesn’t develop enough to make them tough, and then are baked. The batches are repeated until all the lefsa are baked. This dough technique might be useful for your gnocchi but I’m not sure the pulp fluffing would work as well with a sweet potato since they are so moist. I’ve had dry fluffy sweet potatoes before though but they are not bright orange (like yams in the states) but sort of golden pulped sweet potatoes with light skins. Do they have that type there? They might be better for gnocchi. Hope this helps!

  • Thank you, David!

    You make me a better chef!

  • That last note was a sincere thank your on-going inspiration– not a sarcastic comment (oops!)

  • That last note was a sincere thank you for your on-going inspiration– not a sarcastic comment (oops!)

  • tell me about misshapen gnocchi. mine are squash.

    http://fineeats.blogspot.com/2008/10/winter-squash.html

  • Hey, at least you have a potato man there. All I have for solace is Whole Foods. Oh when will summer return to Colorado so that we can have our wonderful farmers markets?

    I have to say, crisis averted. The final product looked wonderful. My father has a saying (we come from a construction background), “a good carpenter is not one who never makes a mistake, it is one who makes it look like there never was one”. Quite so for your culinary save.

  • Must.
    Get.
    Potato Guy.

    Love the idea of sweet potato gnocchi. It would definitely bring a few back into my post-diabetes life… maybe. Do you think I could lower the carb load further by adding some [very dry] bean puree in lieu of dry white potatoes?

  • Well that seals the deal for me. I am never going to make gnocchi. They have always scared me (to make, not to eat if someone else makes). If David Lebovitz needs 3 tries to get it right, I can only imagine how bad it will be in my kitchen. I almost always order them when they’re on a menu in a place where I think they’ll be freshly-made because there is no way in heck I’m going to try to master the little buggers at home. Thanks, David, you’ve spared me the mess and heartache.

  • Hi David,
    I just discovered you a couple of days ago and don’t know how I didn’t find you sooner! I believe it was via Chocolate and Zucchini. A dedicated foodie, I keep trying to figure out how to find time to read all these unbelievable gastronomic blogs I keep finding!!!
    Anyway, I happen to have some gnocchi experience under my belt, albeit a bit dated. I used to make them for a restaurant I worked for, Italian, of course. I was taught by the Italian grandmother, with whom I am still friends with. We always baked the potatoes to keep the moisture at bay. Then I would grate them into a bowl (once the halves were cool enough to handle). We added salt, an egg (a small amount – it was restaurant sized batches), nutmeg, fresh grated parmesan and enough flour to hold it together. The flour thing just takes making them a few times to get “the feel” of how the dough should be. After a little practice you’ll find it only takes another tablespoon or two of flour to get it right. How to tell? Roll, cut, shape (a few sample ones) and boil. Taste. Then you’ll know if it’s right or if you have to make another adjustment. If you make them all the time it’s easier to remember that “feel”. She had this neat tiny little ridged wooden paddle from Italy we used to shape them with. I have since found one similar to it here in the US, can’t remember where.
    We mostly made them with regular old ordinary russets at the restaurant, but at home I experimented with lots of other things. (Never had a potato guy either, but would like to! Some of the potatoes I used I grew in my garden.) So, sweet potatoes, purple potatoes (they come out a nice lavendar color – those french people would like that eh?), ricotta, plus once a customer brought me recipe for a baked gnocchi that she had in Italy. Of course I had to research that one. Hard to find, but it was rolled into a log around a filling. First poached, then sliced and then baked. I’ve not tried this yet, but it’s a page “on my counter” to try some day.
    Good luck on your next gnocchi try. Feel free to write if you have any questions.
    Have really enjoyed your posts so far. Some day I hope to have my own food blog!
    zcc

  • Wow! Quite frankly, I love gnocchi but making them from scratch is terrifying!

    We roast sweet potatoes when we make sweet potato pie…it’s so much better that way!

  • As an Italian American foodie, living in France for the last 8 months and hopefully for the rest of my life, I agree that there is nothing better than gnocchi, but so few places have them so I too decided it was something I must learn. Last winter, I must have made about 30 batches of gnocchi. They are like little pillows of happiness and my kids’ faces would light up when they saw me ricing the potatoes in the afternoon. Gnocchi are not easy to make, but I used every resource available to learn the tricks of the trade. I took a class at a French cooking academy in America, read at least 20 recipes and made a few batches a week until I could do it with my eyes closed. I too was fearful to add too much flour, but I realized that not enough wasted the whole batch because they were inedible….so when in doubt I added another tablespoon or two of flour and that seemed to work. I love zencowgirlchef’s recommendation of boiling a couple to test before making an entire batch. I wish I had thought of that!

    I am off to the marche soon and will have my potato guy select a kilo of dry potatoes for me today. Sadly, he does not wear a tank top in winter though I am pretty sure he did in the summer :)

    Reading your blog is the way I start out so many days and your posts inspire me and amuse me! I am a hige fan and am always on the lookout for you when I am in the Marais. I will try to control myself if I see you but no promises :)

  • I’ve never been brave enough to make my own gnocchi. It seems like a lot of effort, but perhaps I’ll give it my best shot, now.

    I’ve never heard oeil noisette… un regard noir or un sale regard, or regarder quelqu’un d’un sale oeil for ‘a dirty look’, or des yeux noisette for ‘hazel eyes’, but not in any figurative sense. Still I am not a native speaker so I too hope that someone who is will respond on this issue!

  • That is so funny about the French and sweet potatoes. My husband is French and does not care for them at all and this is a dislike shared by his whole family! Living in Texas-it is hard to escape them (and I love them!)

  • M@: I saw that technique over at Simply Recipe’s Potato Gnocchi Recipe, where Elise put a thumb impression and each one. Will likely follow her lead and try that next time.

    ellen: I don’t think they’re that hard; you just need to make them a few times to get them right. I was adding sweet potatoes to the mix, which I think made them harder to figure out. Don’t be afraid—even I did it, and because of Carol, I shared my failure. (Although to be honest, they tasted really good nonetheless!)

    Claire: I just had some French friends over for lunch and no one had heard of Oeil noisette either, so I think I must’ve gotten my wires crossed somewhere.

    Maureen: Um…it was a bit of a challenge finding a nice bunch of fresh sage. I got mine from my potato guy, who also had pretty good herbs, although in the winter, most of the sage is pretty limpid that you come across.

    marmitelover: I’d try potato starch or cornstarch, or take a tip from the reader who suggested bread crumbs and use gluten-free bread crumbs.

    Amanda: Am not sure about substituting bean powder but I think gnocchi are pretty forgiving and I’d certainly give it a try.

  • Love Sweet Potato Gnocchi, it’s one of my favorite dishes. Have to go with Diva though, I’m an eggless gnocchi person and like others have sad, I bake my potatoes in the oven on a bed of salt. But I’ve only made regular potato gnocchis so take my advice with a grain of salt. :)

  • Not sure if this will help but I once read a recipe for gnocchi where they roasted the potatoes in salt to draw out the moisture. The recipe was either in Fine Cooking or Food and Wine magazine. I have not tried to make it but it might your recipe next time.

  • I love sweet potatoes, but have only made gnocchi with russets. I’ll have to give these a try!

  • I’m wary but willing to give them a try.

    However, one confusion: the recipe says to roast potatoes that have been “halved and peeled”, but then says after roasting to “scrape the pulp from the potato jackets”.

    Which is it? Peel before roasting, or after?

    Hi Maggie: You roast the potatoes in their skins (or jackets) like shown in the photo. Because the post was accidentially half-deleted, I had to reconstruct it, and the recipe, quickly. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. -dl

  • Potato Skins? Yes, pigs do eat them in Bavaria/ Germany ;-) We prefer the inside of the potato turned into potato salad or mashed potatoes and served with the roast pig. Perfect circle, don’t you think?
    Oh, I am only having fun. I suppose our aversity agains potato skins derives from the fact, that most of the formerly cultivated potatoes in (the South of) Germany have very thick and tough skins. Otherwise we would have eaten it as we are a very economical people. I can still hear my grandma: “Nothing gets thrown away! We can have that another time or turn it into … !”.
    But apart from that, thanks for the gnocchi recipe. I got re-acquainted with sweet potatoes by an Nigeran friend and fell deeply in love with them. Our first meeting took place when I spent a year in London about ten years ago. Well, let’s say until now they were part of my personal box of Pandora along with potato skins, parsnips and baked beans :-)

  • Mmm….brown butter sage sauce. Nothing says comfort food quite like it. I make a similar gnocchi made with sugar pumpkins to have with the same sauce. Try it!

  • this too bad about those little orange things, they look appealing at least in the pictures (now that I know they just have the texture of wallpaper glue, it’s just ” no – thanks ” :D )

    Alors, l’oeil au beurre noir :)

    You’re actually mixing two french sayings with different meanings.

  • faire un regard noir, regarder quelqu’un d’un oeil noir (take a black look at someone, to look at someone with a black eye), means that you look at someone with a frown face and that your anger, bad feelings can be seen in your pointing eyes. That’s exactly what the woman deserved, indeed :), and I think that’s what you meant here .
  • Faire un oeil au beurre noir (making (to someone) a black butter eye), means that you hit someone on the eye, usually with your closed hand, and then the eye of this person tuns dark blue/maroon/yellow. It’s a metaphoric sentence to evoque the color of the eye. It’s another way for french people to say ” i have given to her a good punch right in the face “.
  • I bet that sarcastictly one would say that she deserved that, too ! :D

  • oh, reading again the part of your post about l’oeil au beurre noir, I saw that I misunderstood your last sentence.

    So yes, you’re right, this is what she probably felt like giving you :) . The only confusion was made between brown buttered eye and le regard noir, (the anger/black look), which isn’t related to butter in french language.

  • I rice the potatoes immediately after cooking, and then let them sit for at least two hours. They always come out beautifully. Lydia Bastianich also recommends this method.

  • In the summer 0f 2008, I made what Giadi di Laurentiis assured me was the easiest gnocchi in the world. And it was easy. Sort of. Maybe. I forget. And the results were tasty. And oh so ugly. And each one (made the same, exact way according to specification) was misshapen in a different, horrific way. Once covered with sage, butter and cheese – who knew? But I needed to cover them. Sweet potato gnocchi? With promises of some ugly noodles? Who can resist?

  • There is a really nice mash-up (in the musical sense rather than the potato one) between this recipe and the gougeres from your last post. Forget the messy sweet potato paste and just pipe small gnocchi sized portions of the gougere batter straight into simmering water. Panfry cubes of the precooked sweet potato with sage leaves and butter, introduce your goucchi and there you have it. Delish! (the inspiration for this came from the Thomas Keller book Bouchon which I just got for my birthday and am still a little feverish with delight about)

    Happy New Year

  • PJ: That’s a terrific idea, piping them. I’d read that somewhere (maybe it was Keller?) but it completely escaped my mind.

    In The Zuni Café Cookbook (one of my all-time favorite cookbooks), Judy Rodgers makes little quenelles with a spoon, and tips them into a plate of flour to lightly-dust them, and the gnocchi at Zuni are amazingly-light, and delicious.

  • Never before today has it occurred to me to use my clothes drying rack as a speed rack. Yet another reason to be eternally grateful to you, David.

  • ……I don’t think we have “Potato Guys” in California? :)

  • David,
    You are my ice cream guru, but after looking at the rest of your website, I am hoping for a polish pieroghi recipe

  • So this comment is far after the fact – but I consistently get light fluffy gnocchi with simply baked sweet potatoes (I bake them in their skins) and flour, by salting the riced sweet potatoes and putting them back in the ricer to drain. I let them sit half an hour to an hour.

  • While I enjoyed reading your post about your attempt at sweet potato gnocchi, I found myself reacting a bit the way I do in horror movies – talking to the screen is just as successful as talking to my computer monitor. Anyway, here is a recipe I found online (by Sasha Perl-Raver) and made for Christmas dinner to really excellent reviews – in my humble opinion, it is really wonderful – now if I can stop from gorging myself on carbs, I may be able to get back into my work clothes after the holidays. Enjoy! :)

    Ingredients
    Gnocchi:
    • 4 orange-flesh sweet potatoes
    • 1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese (I used homemade ricotta – yum.)
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
    • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling and garnish
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/2 tablespoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • About 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    Chimichurri Broth:
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 portobello mushroom caps, finely diced
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 cups vegetable broth
    • 2 cups finely julienned baby spinach leaves
    • 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
    • 2 tablespoons chopped oregano leaves
    • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Directions
    Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    Prick well cleaned sweet potatoes all over with a fork and put them on a sheet pan. Roast until tender, about 1 hour. Remove the potatoes from the oven and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove the skins and puree the flesh in a blender until smooth.
    In a large bowl, combine the potato puree, ricotta, maple syrup, Parmesan, nutmeg, salt, pepper and flour, half a cup at a time, until a soft dough forms. Divide the dough into 8 to 10 portions. Sprinkle a little flour on a work surface and gently roll a portion of dough into a long rope, about 1-inch thick. Cut into 1-inch pieces and continue the process with the remaining dough. Transfer the finished gnocchi to a floured baking sheet while working. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Cooking in small batches, drop about a dozen gnocchi into the water and cook until they are firm and floating, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and put them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Continue making the gnocchi with the remaining dough.
    Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi to the pan and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove them from the pan to a serving bowl and sprinkle with some Parmesan.
    In a second pot, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and saute the mushrooms and garlic until tender. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the spinach, parsley, cilantro, oregano, thyme, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Remove the pot from the heat and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the broth over the gnocchi and serve, garnished with additional parsley and Parmesan.

  • I know I’m several years behind on this post, but I made this recipe last night and it worked great. I don’t know why everyone is complaining about all these problems… I’ve only made gnocchi once before (ricotta) and that went fine too.

    I had a gigantic sweet potato from the market that I oven roasted in cubes. I smashed it all up and mixed half with chipotles in adobo for a quesadilla filling. I had a half of a leftover gigantic russet that I simply wrapped in saran wrap and microwaved until soft (easy last-minute potato rescue). I mashed the remaining sweet potato mash together with the new russet, added my egg, cheese, nutmeg, salt, and mixed in flour just to the point that I could roll the dough. Very easy. I didn’t mess with giving them ridges, I just cut them into pillows, boiled, and tossed with a browned butter sauce and garlicky chard. Topped with grated hard cheese.

    No big deal! Took about 20min start to finish.