Sheila asked me if I had ever used sweet potatoes to make gnocchi yesterday. I had always thought of sweet potatoes as being too wet for making gnocchi but, then I thought if you bake them or cook them in the microwave it could work. I found a few other recipes on the web and most used ricotta with the sweet potato or they were a paleo version using flours other than wheat. I wanted to try to make them just replacing the potato and here is my result. I am quite happy with how they came out. I prepared them with a bit of lemon zest, cooked in some buttery mild olive oil (you could use butter if you like) and a bit of parsley but I think fried sage leaves would work well too.
Thanks Sheila for asking me the question…YES you can use sweet potatoes.
You will need:
- 350gr. or 2 small sweet potatoes – once cooked = 1 cup of mashed
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup finely grates Parmesano Reggiano
- 10-15 scrapes of whole nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp fresh grated pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour (a bit more for dusting)
- a few tbsp of great Extra Virgin Olive Oil – I used Temecula Estate a mild and buttery Californian
- some fresh sage leaves or parsley leaves
- more grated Parmesano
Step 1: wash and poke a couple of small sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave for 2 minutes. Flip over and cook 2 more and if still not completely soft cook another 1 minute and check until done. I suggest you place the sweet potatoes on a plate so that you get catch any leaks.
Step 2: slice open and scrape out hot flesh with a spoon into a bowl.
Step 3: you can mash with a potato masher or run them through a ricer. I always use a ricer for the regular russet potatoes but, this method worked fine because the sweet potato is not as dry as the potato.
Step 4: you should have a nice mash that is not too wet. Add a bit of fresh nutmeg.
Step 5: add an egg, freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano, salt and pepper. At this stage your mix will be rather wet. Add 1/2 cup of flour and gently fold in for a few seconds then turn out onto a counter or board. I basically use a scraper to fold over and incorporated the flour. Gnocchi can be tough if you work the dough too much.
I add the last 1/4 cup of flour by gently kneading the dough. You want it to hold together when you boil them but, you don’t want to overwork the gluten and make them hard.
Step 6: I divide the dough into 4 pieces and form into logs. I cut with a floured knife into pieces around 1 inch in size. I have a cute little gnocchi board to create some ridges but, you can form them on the back of a fork or just cook as is. Some people just press the tops to form a little dent. Place them on a floured sheet. You can cook them right away or freeze them.
Step 7: place some in a pot of boiling, salted water. Place them in the water and gently stir once so they don’t stick to the bottom. Wait until they float and cook 1 more minute. This will probably take 2 – 3 minutes in total. I remove them with a spyder and place them directly from the water to a heated pan.
Step 8: with a bit of great extra virgin olive oil or a bit of butter. Saute the gnocchi for a minute on each side to get a touch of browning. I grated a bit of lemon zest and tossed in some chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
Serve hot with a few scrapes of Parmesano Reggiano.