After taking a road trip through Italy, feasting on hand made pappardelle, lasagne, spaghetti… you name it! I am going through a bit of a …. well… withdrawal. But, you know how when you’re on vacation - having pasta for lunch and dinner (with gelato of course) doesn’t seem like that big of a deal??! Well now that we’re back at home, and back to working out, I can’t seem to justify the two-a-day pastas.
So, I tried to find a somewhat-healthy (but really not-so-healthy, hello butter sage sauce!) meal that would bring us back to the days of Italy. The reason I say “somewhat-healthy” is the switch from regular potatoes to sweet potatoes. But believe me, it is every bit delicious, light and pillowy as traditional gnocchi.
I even had a special someone “help” me with rolling & cutting the gnocchi! (she got bored pretty quickly).
SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI IN A BROWN BUTTER SAGE SAUCE
If you have a potato ricer, I highly recommend using it. No matter how much I “mashed” the sweet potatoes with a potato masher, I couldn’t seem to get it 100% smooth.
In the recipe you’ll see that I write measurements in both American & European measurements. Thats because I personally use my American tools (cups, teaspoons, etc), but I have to buy things like ricotta cheese in ‘gram’ form. So I always have google open so I can quickly convert!
The flour measurement is just an estimate, you can add more or less depending on consistency
You have 3 options with the gnocchi: 1. it can be boiled right away. 2. it can be kept covered in the fridge for up to 1 day and boiled when ready. 3. it can be frozen and boiled whenever! (if you are going to freeze it, I recommend placing them spaced out on the baking sheet in the freezer for about an hour, and then placing them in a ziplock baggie, that way they will not stick to each other).
Be gentle once the gnocchi is cooked, these little delicious pillows are fragile!
It is best to use fresh sage for the sauce, I unfortunately had to use dried sage because I could not find fresh sage in 3 different grocery stores in Germany!
SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI:
1 pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (about 2 potatoes)
1 12 oz or about 340 grams container fresh ricotta
1/4 cup or about 32 grams grated parmesan cheese (plus additional for topping)
2 cups or 256 grams (or more) of flour
BROWN BUTTER WALNUT SAGE SAUCE:
1 stick or 113 grams of butter
5 fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup or about 100 grams of chopped walnuts
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (204 C).
Wash sweet potatoes then poke some holes with a fork and bake for about 45 minutes or until soft and tender. When they’re cooked allow them to slightly cool (but should still be warm) and slice them in half, scoop out the insides and finely mash or puree them.
In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, ricotta and parmesan cheese. Then add the flour, about 1/2 cup at a time while mixing in between. Stopping when the dough can be formed in a ball (it will still be slightly sticky)
Generously flour a clean counter and place the rounded dough on it. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Working with one piece of the dough at a time, roll the dough into a rope about 1 inch thick and cut into 1 inch pieces. Place the gnocchi pieces onto a flour dusted baking sheet. Do this with the remaining 5 pieces of dough.
To make the sauce: Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook until the butter begins to brown (about 3-5 minutes). Stir in the walnuts & sage and continue to cook until the walnuts become slightly toasted (about 3 minutes). Then keep warm over low heat.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the gnocchi in batches so they are not over-crowded until they float to the top (about 4 minutes). Remove the gnocchi using a slotted spoon and add them to the sauce.
Divide the gnocchi among the bowls & top with freshly grated parmesan! Enjoy!