Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter
Last week I browsed through about seventeen different internet collections of Thanksgiving side dish recipes.
Would you believe that one of them included gnocchi? To me, gnocchi is no side dish.
Not in terms of how filling it is. Not in terms of the amount of time it takes to prepare. And most importantly, not in terms of its elevated position among my mental list of Things That Are Delicious. (…its very very elevated position.)
I suppose gnocchi could be a side dish of sorts, if you only ate like five of the scrumptious little dumplings. But even then, it would have to be instead of potatoes. And even then, who wants to take the time to prepare that much gnocchi, when you still have to prepare a main course? And even then, who could eat just five?!
These sweet potato dumplings are fried up in sizzling butter, fragrant with woodsy rosemary. Serve on a softly wilted buttery bed of fresh spinach, garnish with a twist of black pepper and the sharp smack of melting grated Parmesan, and you have yourself a vegetarian main course.
I’d been wanting to make sweet potato gnocchi for ages now. I mean, let’s go with logic here: sweet potatoes are greater than (or equal to) potatoes, therefore…
(Although if you’re thinking, wait, aren’t those technically yams? Then yes, you are correct.)
But for my first homemade pasta, I got side-tracked and made purple potato gnocchi. A resounding success that guaranteed an even longer delay before I ever try out any other kind of pasta. Sorry ravioli, more gnocchi comes first.
p.s. The pasta itself is vegan, if you forgo the butter sauce. (Not unlike the purple potato gnocchi, where I created a vegan main dish, then topped it with cheese. Though I think I made up for it with this vegan avocado lemon pesto recipe.)
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Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter
Adapted from the Potato Gnocchi recipe in “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison.
~ 3-4 sweet potatoes or yams (about 3 pounds)
~ between 1½ – 3¼ cups flour, depending on stickiness of dough (more flour needed for yams)
~ 1½ tsp. salt
~ 4-6 Tbsp. butter
~ several sprigs fresh rosemary
~ freshly ground pepper, to garnish
~ freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to garnish
~ handful of fresh spinach to line the serving dish
~ pinch of cayenne and/or nutmeg in the dough
How to make it:
1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then add the whole sweet potatoes and cook until easily pierced with a fork, about 25-30 minutes.
2. Let cool 30 minutes, then peel the potatoes (and remove any stringy parts, especially if using yams). Gently mash them using either a potato ricer, or a fork against the side of a bowl, trying to keep them as airy and fluffy as possible.
3. Let cool for another 10-15 minutes, then sprinkle in some of the flour and the salt. Add the flour gradually, as needed. It will be VERY sticky before adding much flour, and it should still be pretty sticky when you’re shaping it– don’t add too much; just enough to make the dough workable. Optionally add a pinch of cayenne or nutmeg. Gently mix the flour into the mashed potatoes with your hands or a rubber spatula, but be careful not to knead or overwork it.
4. On a well-floured cutting board, roll a small clump of dough out into a long cylindrical rope, about ½ inch thick. Then use a sharp knife to cut this rope into ¾-inch gnocchi dumplings, and transfer them to a baking sheet that’s lined with parchment paper and lightly dusted with flour. Optionally dent one side of each dumpling with a fork. Once all the gnocchi has been rolled and cut, you can cover the baking sheets with kitchen towels and (freeze! or) store in the fridge for up to a few hours before cooking.
5. Cook the gnocchi: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, slowly heat 2-3 Tbsp. of the butter in a large shallow pan, and add the rosemary to the butter. Boil the gnocchi in batches of only 10-15 at a time until the dumplings float to the top of the pot. Then lift the boiled gnocchi out of the water with a wide slotted spoon and transfer them directly to the butter. Fry the dumplings in the butter for 2-5 minutes, or as desired, stirring gently yet frequently. Serve warm—it’s nice on a bed of greens like fresh spinach—with fresh ground black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Note: With this method, it’s best to keep the heat on the butter relatively low, and to continue adding more butter gradually as needed, to keep it from burning– especially if preparing a large amount of gnocchi. However, another option is to first brown the butter (add all of the butter at once, then heat for about 5 minutes, whisking continuously– it will first foam up, then turn brown). You can then toss the gnocchi in the brown butter sauce, or pour it over the dumplings.
Print this recipe! (PDF)