Posted by Megan | Dinner, Pasta

I really like gnocchi. Like, really really like gnocchi. I enjoy making our Easy Ricotta Gnocchi as well as gnocchi out of a bag from World Market. I like gnocchi at restaurants. I like gnocchi everywhere, quite honestly. But as much as I like gnocchi, I have to admit that it’s kind of a pain to make. Making the dough is fine, but the rolling of the dough–that’s where all my headaches ensue. I am really bad at rolling doughs whether or not it involves a rolling pin (although I truly treat the rolling pin as my arch-nemesis in the kitchen). So gnocchi takes some…patience, shall we say? However, the end result is usually worth the frustration I ensue in the process of making it. I also have a tendency to pick gnocchi for SND’s, which is usually a mistake and requires Will to swoop in to rescue me last minute. This time he had to swoop in for the sauce, which was better than last time where all the gnocchi slid off the baking sheets on their way to the freezer. Le sigh.

I strongly believe that gnocchi is better to cook after it’s been frozen. I recommend placing all your little gnocchis on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and popping them in the freezer for a couple hours before you cook them. That way they are slightly more solid and keep their shape better once you plop them in the water to boil. It’s also a great way to enjoy your gnocchi for a longer period of time 🙂

Cooking Notes:  We did the recipe in quarters, so it would make 2 servings per night, however we only  adjusted some of the sauce portions accordingly. I’m including the entire recipe, so just be aware that you’ll want to adjust the sauce to however many people you’re serving at a given meal (the amount listed will only cover about half the gnocchi). We also used fresh oregano instead of sage since that’s what we have in our garden! We added rosemary as well.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi (adapted from Aidan Mollenkamp; serves 6-8)
1 1/2 lbs. sweet potato, halved lengthwise
1/2 lb. Russet potato, halved lengthwise
1 tbsp olive oil
Fresh ground S&P for roasting
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp honey
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 – 2 cups all purpose white flour
4 tbsp unsalted butter
12-14 fresh oregano leaves
6-8 rosemary twigs
2 shallots, quartered and thinly sliced
3 tbsp(ish) balsamic vinegar
Freshy shaved Parmesan
Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 and arrange a rack in the middle. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, season with a few cranks of salt and pepper, place on a rimmed baking sheet cut-side down, and roast until tender, about 30 minutes. (Be careful not to let them slide off the baking sheet into the oven, like me!) When done, set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop flesh out of skins and mash with a potato masher, mixing in cheese, egg, honey, and salt. Mix in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms. You’ve got enough flour when you touch the dough and it’s damp, but not sticky.

Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and shape into a square. Divide into 16 equal pieces, then roll each piece into a rope about 1/2 inch in diameter, sprinkling with extra flour if necessary (probably will be necessary, so keep a bowl of flour around). Cut each rope into 1/2-inch pieces. Using a fork, made little indentions on the gnocchi pieces with the tines. Begin to bring a large post of salted water to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Gently drop gnocchi pieces in using a large spoon, then cook until they float to the top and are tender, about 5 minutes. This can be done all at once depending on how many you are making, or in batches. Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to a plate once they are cooked. Save 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it foams, add oregano and rosemary, cooking until crisp and fragrant. Remove herbs to a plate and return frying pan to stove. Add shallot and stir often, allowing browning from the butter, making sure to scrape along the bottom to prevent sticking. Once brown, immediately remove from heat and carefully stir in the vinegar (it will probably sting your eyes, so be careful!). Stir in pasta and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water, return to heat, and cook until just coated in the sauce. Add a lot of fresh ground black pepper, taste for seasoning, and finish with additional pasta water, salt, pepper, sage, and Parmesan.

Recipe: Aidan Mollenkamp: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic-Sage Brown Butter

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