Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage

I COULD NOT WAIT to share this post with you!! Mostly because I feel like I totally NAILED IT with this photo. I am a complete photography amateur but I'm trying and though on most days I feel like my camera's brains are about twice the size as mine, occasionally I will have a fluke shot that I really, really like. Like this one. The stars aligned and the lighting just worked.
I made this dish last night for our little family Valentine's celebration. My husband asked me how I first discovered gnocchi and I honestly cannot remember. But holy smokes am I glad I did. Especially the sweet potato variety. All other gnocchi pales in comparison! Once you try these, there is seriously no turning back. They are addictive and versatile and everyone always loves them. I've had gnocchi in restaurants that were toted as being light and airy. And they were. But who in their right mind enjoys eating air? I mean, really. I have always left feeling sorely disappointed. And hungry. My version here is dense yet soft and perfectly sweet with just a hint of nutmeg all encapsulated in a perfectly crispy crust.
Since we are Gnocchi People, I had an army of willing miniature helpers who were there to lend a hand in mixing and rolling out the gnocchi dough on Friday. I know you can make gnocchi all fancy by rolling it over the spines of a fork but we only pretend to be fancy over here so prefer a "rustic" style (i.e. the kids helped!!!) They usually end up being sort of the same size-ish but it works. Don't fret over their appearance.
This dish is a bit of a labor of love, making it the perfect meal for Valentine's Day. I recommend preparing the gnocchi ahead of time and freezing them to make the dinner hour smoother. Whenever I make it, I double the recipe and freeze half so we can enjoy them at a later date for half the work. I mean, if you're gonna do it, really DO IT.
As a brief disclaimer, when you get down to the amount of butter called for in the sauce, go ahead and squint a little. It might look like a 12 but don't worry about it just for today. I give you permission every once in a while. Close your eyes and melt it and then after you take your first bite, you'll thank me.   
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage
3 cups sweet potato puree (about 2 ½ - 3 pounds baked and then mashed)
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more to serve
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
12 Tablespoons butter
20 sage leaves
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Kosher Salt

In a large bowl, combine sweet-potato purée, ricotta, brown sugar, parmesan, salt, and nutmeg. Gently stir in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.

Working on a floured surface, divide dough into 8 portions. Roll each portion with your hands into a rope, about ¾ of an inch in diameter. Cut rope into 1-inch pieces using a knife or the side of the fork, sprinkling dough with flour if it gets sticky. Transfer gnocchi to a rimmed tray lined with plastic wrap and lightly dusted with flour. (At this point, the gnocchi can be frozen if you are making them ahead. To do so, place the baking tray of gnocchi in the freezer and, once they are frozen, transfer them to a gallon zip lock bag. When you are ready to eat them, proceed with the recipe as outline below, using gnocchi directly from the freezer.)

Bring a large pot water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Working in batches, drop about one quarter of the gnocchi into the water, stirring to prevent sticking, and cook until they are firm and float to top of water, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to a strainer and then to a lightly oiled rimmed pan to cool.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the first batch of boiled gnocchi to pan and cook, stirring often, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Continue adding batched of uncooked gnocchi to boiling water and then sautéed them in olive oil until all gnocchi are cooked. Transfer to a large serving dish.

Melt butter in the skillet over medium heat and allow to brown (about 4 minutes). Add sage leaves for 20 seconds and then remove from heat. Squeeze in lemon juice and season with salt and pour over gnocchi. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

Serves 8

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posted by kelsie