Italian Domestic Diva Strikes Again

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 egg

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.

IMG_0977

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.

IMG_0978IMG_0979

IMG_0981

This is why you must make sure the potatoes are cooked all the way through- you could end up doing this to your potato ricer! Now, I did this on purpose just to show you what NOT to do, obviously...

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.

IMG_09824. 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.

IMG_0984

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!

IMG_0986

Ok, there was really no way to make this look attractive, but honestly, it was completely delicious!!!!

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!

IMG_0988

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!


Advertisements

About annenglish

I often think my the right side of my brain dominates- I live to create things. Color is one of the things that brings me great joy and in everything that I do, it is a theme that takes on great aesthetic importance. I am a jewelry designer, metal artist and writer (wanna-be.) During the day I work in an office, and while I like it, I spend my days dreaming about the next thing I want to make. As a result, I am the post-it queen- design ideas are always strewn about my desk, waiting for me to gather them up and take them home at the end of the day. Oh, yeah. I'm also a tremendous slob, which is unfortunate because I love to cook and washing dirty dishes is my least favorite chore to tackle. I'm a healthy food enthusiast and amateur chef. Cooking is a tremendous creative outlet for me- experimentation is my hallmark...whether it's surprising color combinations or flavor combinations.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Italian Domestic Diva Strikes Again

  1. That looks fantastic! And thank you so much for sharing the recipe, especially the sauce, I’m trying that one soon.

    P.S. I always bake my potatoes. Can’t stand microwave cooking! đŸ˜€

  2. Kat says:

    I’m SO making this soon! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Alicia Ghio says:

    Wow! Sounds delicious! I must give it a try.

  4. Danielle says:

    Sounds like a wonderful and warming autumn dinner. I think your grandmother would be proud!

  5. Looks delicious! Nice new spin on a classic.

  6. cheah says:

    Great post, very innovative

  7. Delish! I made pumpkin gnocchi a few weeks ago and it is soo good. Bet this was to die for!

  8. Perfect time of year for the Pumpkin Sage Sauce!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s