Kitchen Rematch: Mastering Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Browned Butter-Sage Sauce
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I tried making gnocchi once before with normal russet potatoes. My boyfriend at the time must've been trying to spare my feelings because it was atrocious. I can still feel them in my mouth. The gnocchi was composed of dense balls that were still mushy. Talk about time wasted.
I yearned for a rematch.
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Unfortunately, I don't possess a ricer (it's on my list), but this recipe appealed to me because the addition of ricotta makes it so that the gnocchi will come out light and not dense, no matter how you treat the potatoes. Also, sweet potato and brown sugar remind me of Thanksgiving, the bestest day of the year. While some people may choose to use a different sauce, like a cheesier one, I loved the way this came out. Sage adds an element of sophistication and elegance to browned butter, makes it taste restaurant-quality, and creates an aroma that soothes the soul. I chose to add brown sugar out of my preference, but it's completely optional. Also, make sure that you brown the gnocchi when you saute it; the contrast of the exterior crunch and the interior squish are what make them delightful to eat.
Today's side note: While I was making it, my mom asked if I was making guh-no-key, and I almost died. I told her the "g" was silent, so later, she called it notch-ee. In her defense, she's a terrible cook.
The process can take around 2 hours, depending on your gnocchi skill level (mine = 0). This recipe feeds 8-10 people.
Adapted from Epicurious
Two 1-pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), rinsed, patted dry, pierced all over with fork
One 10-ounce container fresh ricotta cheese, drained in sieve 2 hours
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups (about) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 tablespoons chopped fresh sage plus whole leaves for garnish
1/2 Tbsp brown sugar (optional)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
Extra Parmesan and olive oil for drizzling
Line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place sweet potatoes on plate; microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes per side, though smaller potatoes will be done sooner. Cut in half and cool. Peel sweet potato flesh off and mash the rest.
Add ricotta cheese; blend well. Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and nutmeg; mash to blend. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.
Turn dough out on to floured surface; divide into 12 smaller balls. Rolling between palms, form each piece into long ropes, with 3/4 inch in diameter, sprinkling with flour as needed to keep pieces from sticking together (also, it makes it easier to cut into nice shapes).
Cut into. Roll each piece over tines of fork to indent. Transfer to baking sheet.
Bring large pot of water to boil; add 2 tablespoons salt and return to boil. Working in batches (mine took 3), boil gnocchi until tender, 4-5 minutes. Gnocchi will sink first, then float when ready. Transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet. Cool completely. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until butter solids are brown and have toasty aroma, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 Tbsp of brown sugar (optional).
Add chopped sage (mixture will bubble up). Turn off heat. Season sage butter with salt and nutmeg (optional). Remove sage once flavor has been absorbed by butter.
Transfer half of sage butter to large skillet set over high heat. Add half of gnocchi. Sauté until gnocchi are heated through and slightly browned, about 6 minutes. Empty skillet on to rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining sage butter and gnocchi.
Divide gnocchi and sauce among shallow bowls. Garnish with sage leaves.