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Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter

November 26, 2012

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.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter

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.)

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter

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?!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter

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.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter

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…

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter

(Although if you’re thinking, wait, aren’t those technically yams? Then yes, you are correct.)

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter

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.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter

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.)

Making Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter

Print this recipe. (PDF)


Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter
Adapted from the Potato Gnocchi recipe in “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison.

(Serves 4-6)

~ 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.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter
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.

Making Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary ButterMaking Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter
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.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter

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.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter

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)

Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Rosemary Butter

Related recipe posts:
> Purple Potato Gnocchi and Basil Pesto
> Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce
> Avocado Lemon Pesto (Vegan)

67 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2012 9:46 am

    That gnocchi looks absolutely divine – vibrant :D

    • November 27, 2012 9:27 am

      Thanks! I was happy about the bright orange color (despite how much flour I added, the color stayed vibrant!).

  2. November 26, 2012 10:37 am

    I have been wanting to make gnocchi for a while – love this recipe!
    Beautiful photos too!

  3. November 26, 2012 11:36 am

    Looks delicious! I have a few sweet potatoes left over from Thanksgiving that I need to use up and this recipe looks really interesting. I like the idea of browning the butter beforehand- I always struggle with overheating butter when I’m cooking in a pan.

    • November 27, 2012 9:32 am

      Yes, you should try this with your leftover sweet potatoes! It’s so worth it. I didn’t brown the butter this time because I made soooo many gnocchi and wanted to cook most of them– although I did freeze some of them– without worrying about burning the butter. But then when I was typing up the recipe though it occurred to me to mention that you could first create a brown butter sauce, then pour it over the gnocchi. That’d be much easier… I just like the colors and flavors of frying the gnocchi for an extra few minutes in straight up butter too!

  4. November 26, 2012 11:51 am

    Gorgeous looking gnocchi, Allison! And with Rosemary butter too –yum! :)

    • November 27, 2012 9:33 am

      Thanks, Anne! I am such a sucker for rosemary, especially with any kind of potatoes.

  5. November 26, 2012 12:32 pm

    I love this twist on traditional gnocchi :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  6. November 26, 2012 2:23 pm

    Looks great…homemade gnocchi rock! Great pics, too…

    • November 27, 2012 9:34 am

      Thank you! And yeah, homemade gnocchi are pretty awesome aren’t they– probably the only type of pasta dish that I can create myself and it tastes just as good if not better!

      • November 27, 2012 9:49 am

        Funny, we made a lot of our own pasta and felt that locally produced fresh pasta was often better that ours. But our gnocchi was always better if we made it at home…

      • November 27, 2012 9:53 am

        Aha… I thought that’d be the case! (For if/when I someday take on other types of pasta…) Thank you for confirming my pasta hypothesis!

  7. November 26, 2012 3:19 pm

    fantastique ! :)

  8. November 26, 2012 3:54 pm

    I’ve always wanted to make my own gnocchi, you make it look surprisingly easy!! I love the color of your sweet potato ones, and we have okinawan sweet potatoes in Hawaii (which are purple), so maybe I’ll try that out as well :) And oh, that butter rosemary sauce, perfection!!

    • November 27, 2012 9:41 am

      It is pretty easy– it just takes some time! :) I love purple Okinawan sweet potatoes– I tried them (and lots of cookies and sweets made from them) when I visited Okinawa in… 2005(?). And yes, I think people often pair sweet potato gnocchi with butter and sage, but I love potatoes with rosemary more than any other herb.

      • November 27, 2012 7:21 pm

        Wow, that must have been an amazing trip! We are hoping to go to Japan one day with our kids (when they are old enough to remember it)!

      • November 28, 2012 9:45 pm

        That’ll be wonderful! (I’m sure they’ll appreciate that you waited till they were old enough to remember it, too…) I was living in Okayama, Japan at the time, so I just went to Okinawa for a long weekend– and it rained the whole time!– but it was still a great trip.

  9. November 26, 2012 3:55 pm

    Wow. Yes! :)

  10. November 26, 2012 4:33 pm

    Oh God those look good! I love sweet potatoes and just made a shortbread with rosemary and have some leftover rosemary! Yummy! Beautiful Allison!

    • November 27, 2012 9:41 am

      Perfect! Then I think this is one of the best ways to use up that rosemary… :)

  11. November 26, 2012 5:51 pm

    Oh, these look divine Allison! Must try them out, yum!

    • November 27, 2012 9:42 am

      Thanks, Alicia! Yes, I hope you get to try them; I’d like to hear what you think of the recipe! :)

  12. November 26, 2012 5:57 pm

    My mouth started watering as I read the post — so true, gnocchi deserves elevated status! ~ Kat

    • November 27, 2012 9:44 am

      Glad we’re agreed on that. I’m usually powerless to order anything other than gnocchi once I spot it on a restaurant menu, so it’s nice to be able to make it for myself at home! (But I still consider it a big deal for fancy occasions… :)

  13. November 26, 2012 9:51 pm

    I’m in love with these. I can smell them now. Yum! I agree that sweet potatoes are the ultimate potato.

    • November 27, 2012 9:47 am

      Yes. Sweet potatoes are the ultimate. (Except then I made these with yams instead of sweet potatoes, which apparently are less nutritious despite still being so colorful…(?) I go with whatever my girlfriend brings home from our local farmstand.) You should totally try making these– it might be fun, in a play-dough-like way, with your kids.

  14. November 26, 2012 11:09 pm

    That is great alternative, sweet potatoes instead!

  15. November 27, 2012 12:48 am

    mmm this looks so good! I have never had sweet potato gnocci but will definitely try to make this!

    • November 27, 2012 9:48 am

      Thanks! You should definitely try making this– it’s so worth it. :) I hope you like it!

  16. November 27, 2012 8:29 am

    An incrdible & appetizing sweet potato dish! Yummy too! A real delight! xxx

  17. November 27, 2012 10:04 am

    I have never attempted to make gnocchi before but I feel so inspired to make it now. This looks absolutely delicous. As I see your trackback Purple Potato Gnocchi and Pesto sounds like a wonderful combination too. I’m getting gnocchi obsessed here and drooling at the same time.

    • November 27, 2012 10:12 am

      Join the club– I’m pretty gnocchi-obsessed myself! :) Hope you get a chance to make some soon!

  18. November 27, 2012 12:47 pm

    Oh my, this sounds amazing. After eating Chinese dishes for the past 10 days, I am so ready to eat some comforting food like this. Rosemary butter sounds amazing and your homemade sweet potato gnocchi looks wonderful!

    • November 28, 2012 9:46 pm

      Thanks! I hope you enjoy it if you get a chance to make some. :)

  19. November 27, 2012 12:48 pm

    Hi! First, these look INCREDIBLE. (I think my keyboard is covered in drool.) Thanks for making homemade gnocchi look so doable! Secondly, I’ve nominated your blog for the Sunshine award. Here’s to all of your awesome recipes! Check it out here.

    • November 28, 2012 9:47 pm

      Yay, thank you! Also: “I think my keyboard is covered in drool” has to be one of the best compliments my food photos have ever received. :)

      • November 30, 2012 5:15 am

        Haha, you’re welcome! :) I’ll do my best to install a drool-proof keyboard in order to keep reading.

  20. November 27, 2012 6:31 pm

    Thanks. Loved the receipe

  21. November 28, 2012 9:32 am

    Absolutely gorgeous looking gnocchis!! so inviting, look forward to having a go at them, thank you Alison!

  22. November 28, 2012 3:29 pm

    Mmm they look good. Had sweet potato this eve in fact, baked in the oven with olive oil and sweet paprika. You make it look wonderfully easy so will try making these little parcels of deliciousness next time.

    • November 28, 2012 9:49 pm

      Oo, that sounds good. I mentioned that a dash of nutmeg or cayenne is optional in the dough for these gnocchi, but I bet a hint of paprika would be nice as well!

  23. November 29, 2012 3:20 am

    Wow, I’ve never attempted gnocchi before, you’re so very adventurous and you clearly nailed it!

    • December 1, 2012 1:17 pm

      Thanks! So far gnocchi is about as pasta-adventurous as I get… but yeah, I was pretty happy with the results. :)

  24. November 30, 2012 9:14 am

    Hi Alison, I shared your gnocchi recipe at my FB page, they’re getting raving comments here is my page if you’d like to have a look ; )

  25. Pam Wood permalink
    November 30, 2012 10:10 am

    Hi, I got the recipe from Ozlem. She suggested I write and tell you how I tweaked it and how good they were. Baked the potatoes. Riced them, added an egg, went light on the flour. Cooked them in the morning and drizzled a bit of oil over them and refrigerated them til dinner. Heated them in the oil and then added the rosemary butter. So good and I loved how quickly it all came together. Thanks.

    • December 1, 2012 1:34 pm

      Hi Pam,
      Thanks so much for trying out the recipe and for letting me know your variations on it! That sounds great.

      I baked the potatoes for my last (purple potato) gnocchi, and it definitely worked out very nicely. I skipped the egg this time in an attempt to see how it’d turn out as an option to make for vegan friends– though then it’s not like I had vegan friends over this time, so I still went ahead and fried them in butter. :)

      Great idea to cook them in the morning and keep them in the fridge– I can imagine how quickly you could put them on the table for dinner that way! I’ll have to try that the next time.

  26. December 2, 2012 11:00 am

    The mixture of flavours here sounds so delicious, and I’ve never seen sweet potato gnocchi before! How original, really want to try this soon. The rosemary butter too..yum!

    • December 4, 2012 10:49 am

      Yes, it was a pretty fabulous dinner. :) Hope you get to make some soon!

  27. December 4, 2012 12:12 pm

    My goodness Allison- I am drooling over these!

  28. daisyandthefox permalink
    December 4, 2012 8:13 pm

    yum!! this gnocchi looks so good! :) i’ve been meaning to make it for a long time and this looks the perfect place to start! :)
    lovely blog :)

    • December 5, 2012 7:51 am

      Thank you! :)

      Yes, I think sweet potatoes are a nice place to start– although oddly enough, I still haven’t tried making gnocchi with standard white potatoes, only with sweet potatoes and purple ones!– they make the dough very sticky, so it’s a little tough to work with, but actually that makes these gnocchi much more forgiving if you accidentally add a little too much flour.

  29. December 5, 2012 10:28 pm

    Oh, wow. This looks so good. I will definitely be giving this a try!

    • December 11, 2012 10:28 am

      Thanks! Homemade gnocchi is definitely worth a try. I hope you enjoy it!


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