Perhaps my Italian great grandmother wouldn’t exactly call me a domestic diva. Anyone who knows me or has been following my blog knows that I am not what one would call a “domestic neat freak.” My broom is actually gathering dust. My vacuum is five years old, but looks brand spanking new. It’s not good. But while I may not meet Martha standards with the clean house thing (although I am getting soooo much better, to my credit), if there’s one thing I can do, it’s cook.
Cook up a storm I did on Weds. night. I had it in my head that I just HAD to make gnocchi. Not sure why. It was like an ear worm on the same scale as that godawful “Who Let the Dogs Out” ditty. And not just any gnocchi- sweet potato whole wheat gnocchi. What did I want to pair this with, you ask? Well, I keep hearing about brown butter going well with this type of thing, but butter just isn’t my style. Besides, ever since the first frost hit us here in Boston (When was that, again? June?), I’ve had a hankering for my fuzziest socks and anything pumpkin. So, pumpkin sage sauce seemed like just the ticket. I’ve made pasta before, but this? This was a whole ‘nother nut to crack. And holy heck. It.was.amazing. If I do say so myself.
Here’s how it’s done:
Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Pumpkin Sage Sauce (This recipe can feed approx. 4)
2 Large Sweet Potatoes, baked(not boiled, not microwaved. No shortcuts, people! The potato needs to be a certain texture and consistency)
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour (I used Bob’s red mill)
1. Bake the sweet potatoes with the skins still on. I did mine for 45 minutes at 425, but they really needed to go for another 10 minutes or so- make sure they are cooked all the way through. When finished, allow to cool slightly and remove skins. They come off rather easily at this point.
2. Using a potato ricer or mill, put your sweet potatoes through into a big mixing bowl. You will need a large bowl to hand knead the dough in. While you can hand mash, these are generally the best ways to do it. It introduces the right amount of air into the mixture. You want as much air as possible in there for fluffy gnocchi. DO NOT put potatoes in a food processor. You will end up with dense lumps.
3. When potatoes have cooled off a bit more, add 1 cup of flour and the egg. Begin to mix and knead the dough. This is VERY VERY sticky dough and it helps to coat your hands with flour.
4. Mix and knead the dough until the flour and potato are completely mixed in. At this point, you can go ahead and add the rest of the flour. I’d do this a little bit at a time, depending on how sticky the dough is. You’ll have to get a feel of it, but you want the dough to be at the point where it’s just past sticky. You do not want it to be too dry or it will not stick and it will be too floury. The taste will be compromised, as well as the texture. So, proceed with the addition of flour very carefully. It’s also important to note that depending on the size of your potato, you could need a little more. just remain very aware of how the dough feels as you knead it. Once you’ve finished kneading the dough, form a ball, wrap with sarah wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. This step is optional, but I found that it was really helpful in working with the dough.
5. When I did my research, recipes for gnocchi generally called for rolling the dough into a log and cutting from the log. I disliked that method and went with the old standby- hand rolling each gnocchi and setting it out on a baking sheet. whichever method you choose, be sure to keep your hands well floured and your baking sheet, as well. You can also use the tines of a fork to get the ridges traditionally found on gnocchi, but at this point, we were starving and I didn’t bother! Set a pot of water on the stove to boil while you roll the gnocchi, so you can drop them in when you are finished. I made my gnocchi approximately 1 inch long and 1/2 an inch wide. These WILL expand when cooked, so keep that in mind.
6. Drop gnocchi in boiling water. When it floats to the top, allow it to boil for 1-2 more minutes and remove. Serve with pumpkin sage sauce.
Pumpkin Sage Sauce
4 large shallots, finely diced
1/4 cup Organic canned pumpkin
1/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup fat free plain yogurt
1 1/2 tsp. dried ground sage
salt, pepper to taste
2 oz feta cheese (optional)
1. Sautee shallots until soft and browned, add milk, sage, pumpkin, whisk, increase heat until mixture starts to bubble slightly, turn down heat.
2. Add yogurt and whisk vigorously. Add salt and pepper as desired. Stir sauce over low heat for additional five minutes, pour over gnocchi, top with feta and enjoy!
I wish I had more pictures between the dough and the final product, but my hands were so messy from mixing that it was hard to even pick up the camera. Hopefully, you get the idea! I know my readers are an intelligent bunch.
The best part was when I had leftovers for lunch. Unfortunately there weren’t that many left, but I had a nice dollop of sauce, so I turned it into a salad with some lovely dried cranberries, avocado, olives, black beans, red peppers and carrot. I mixed in a little olive oil to meld with the sauce and it coated the lettuce beautifully. It was the perfect lunch!
Some days I just really feel like I know what i’m doing. Feels good, doesn’t it?
I am determined that today will be a good day. Happy Friday everyone!