Lately, I can be found using Instagram as another outlet to post quick and easy recipes and meal ideas, while still adding to this blog to post recipes that are longer or have more of a backstory to them. On Instagram I can record Insta-Stories , a feature that I love! I can show my viewers how to make whatever my weekly recipe is, step by step! It’s one thing to post a picture but it’s quite another to show what dough is supposed to look like at different stages, how I crimp the edge of my pie dough etc… along with some added audio commentary and text. All done in little segments of 15 seconds each, posted the same day the meal was made! It feels current and fresh! I just recorded a step by step video of this recipe in fact. You can see me kneading the dough, rolling it, making the sauce etc.. It can be found in my Highlights reel – Step by Step. My Instagram name is Vanilla Bean Montreal and I hope to see you there!
So now, on to the topic at hand – Gnocchi!
I had a fear of making Gnocchi, just like I fear pie crust. In my mind recipes like this are so much work and are so easy to mess up! They seem mysterious; things only wise old women have mastered. What actually went through my mind: What if, rather than fluffy and soft, my gnocchi come out dense and heavy? What if they’re too soft and just fall apart, disintegrating in the boiling water? What if I just never get it right and discover that bottom line – I CAN’T make gnocchi? This is silly of course because just like with pie crust, fresh pasta or any other challenging recipe, practice makes perfect. Practice until it becomes second nature.
My anxiety over this recipe was futile; it came together so easily for me!
I got this delicious-in-every-way recipe from Chrissy Teigan’s cookbook Cravings and while leafing through I stumbled upon a chapter full of recipes that people are commonly afraid of making but that are actually easy. I giggled and discovered that I wasn’t alone after all! This chapter included these gnocchi, mushroom risotto and others. So I went ahead and made the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage 😉 Chrissy was right, It was easy. You’ve got to get her book! The recipes are easy, delicious and she is a very entertaining writer, witty, genuine and very passionate about food.
Serves 2 as a main/4 as an appetizer
1lb sweet potato (aprox. 1 large)
1/3 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
3/4 cup all purpose flour + more if needed and for dusting the counter
1 stick (4oz/1.2 cup) of unsalted butter
1/4 cup sage leaves, left whole.
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish.
Pierce the sweet potato all over with a fork. Wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave on high until it is very soft 10-12 minutes. (Check after 10 mins and add time if needed)
When the sweet potato is cool enough to handle, peel it and mash the flesh in a medium bowl until smooth. The best way to do this is with a potato ricer but you can use a fork or potato masher. Stir in the ricotta, salt and scatter the flour about 1/4 cup at a time. Mix with a fork until you reach a doughy consistency. It’ll be ‘ready’ when it looks a little loose and shaggy and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl anymore. If necessary, you can add more flour a tablespoon at a time.
In a large pasta pot, bring a gallon of water to a boil over high heat and salt until it tastes good. (Almost like the ocean 😉
Flour your work surface and dump the dough onto it. Flour your hands and gently knead the dough 10 times by folding it over onto itself in half, pressing gently with the heel of your hand and turning it 90 degrees each time until no longer super sticky (super sticky means when the dough is sticking to your hands and counter). Add sprinkles of flour when necessary. The less flour you use, the lighter and more tender your gnocchi will be.
Form the dough into a ball or loaf shape and divide into 3 equal pieces. Brush off excess flour from your counter and roll each section into a ball and then into a (aprox) 12″ long, 1″ wide ‘rope’. Use a sharp knife to cut your your gnocchi into 1/2 inch pieces and set aside tossing them gently with flour so that they don’t stick. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Drop gnocchi into very vigorously boiling water and stir regularly for about a minute so that they don’t stick. (I used a steel spider to add my gnocchi to the boiling water to prevent ‘gnocchi splash’. Yeah, it’s a thing). You’ll know they’re done when the majority of them have risen to the top of the water, wait a few seconds and drain. The whole process takes about 4-5 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. While the gnocchi are boiling. Melt butter over medium heat in a medium skillet (about 10″). When the foam subsides, add the sage leaves and cook until the sage is crispy and the butter has browned, about 3 minutes.
Drain gnocchi (never rinse), add them to your serving dish. Pluck out the larger sage leaves and set aside. Pour butter sauce onto gnocchi and toss to coat. While still hot, add the Parmesan and toss to melt it in which will give the sauce some creaminess. Add salt if necessary (I had to). Top with more Parmesan and tuck in the crispy sage leaves among the gnocchi. Enjoy!!
Microwaving your sweet potato – Check it after 10 minutes and if not soft enough, add another 2 minutes of cooking time.
Adding flour – We made two batches. The first potato needed less flour than the second. Each sweet potato has a different moisture content. Just make sure not to add flour blindly. Just stop when your dough is no longer very sticky and you can form a ball without it sticking to the counter and hands.
I hope you guys make this and enjoy it as much as we did!
Thanks for reading!