(recipe serves 4-6)
-Boil your gnocchi* in a large pot of extra salty water (*gnocchi recipe follows)
-Remove the casing from 4 lean Italian sausage links and brown in a bit of extra virgin olive oil.
-Season with a bit of salt and about a tsp each of freshly ground fennel seeds and ground sage.
-When fully cooked and browned, add 1 TB of unsalted butter and a few handfuls of frozen peas. Toss.
-Once the butter has melted and the peas have thawed, add your cooked gnocchi to the pan and drizzle with some good maple syrup. (*note-some of the gnocchi water is helpful in making everything come together, so don’t fully drain the gnocchi before adding it to the pan.)
-Toss well to combine.
-Check your seasoning and add more salt if needed, but keep in mind that the cheese you will be adding is salty.
-Plate your dish and sprinkle with a good amount of grated Asiago cheese and a handful of fresh chopped sage leaves.
-Grate some fresh nutmeg over the plate and enjoy.
I made these sweet potato gnocchi as part of my Thanksgiving dinner last year. I served them with a brown butter-sage sauce and they were delicious. They were also very ugly. I made the mistake of not using a big enough pot to boil them in and was in such a frazzled hurry to finish dinner that I poured my entire large batch into a not-so-large pot of boiling water. They just clumped together and became one big, mushy mess. I come from the school of making do with whatever mistake you make in the kitchen, so I just removed my big, gnocchi clump from the water and placed it in the sauce and served it anyway. It tasted really good as long as you closed your eyes.
I had intended on serving these again for my family this year, but we’ve decided to spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s parents in South Carolina so I won’t be doing as much cooking. I couldn’t live without making them again, (I was also determined to not mess them up this time), so I thought today would be a great day to do it.
I received some good help from my son making these gnocchi. He loves making anything with me that involves stirring, mixing, kneading, measuring, shaping…OK, it’s safe to say he loves making everything with me. He is an excellent dough handler and was a big help in shaping these beautiful, delicious pillows of goodness.
*Recipe for the Sweet Potato Gnocchi
(makes 4-6 servings)
(to substitute white potatoes, you will most likely need less flour but otherwise, follow the same recipe)
-2-3 large baked, peeled sweet potatoes (equal to 2 1/2-3 cups)
-2 egg yolks
-1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (maybe more depending on the size of your potatoes)
-1/2 cup AP flour + more for kneading
-1/3 cup grated asiago cheese
–Run your cooked, peeled sweet potatoes through a food mill or ricer into a large bowl.
(*note-please don’t use a food processor for this, you will end up with cement. If you don’t have a ricer or food mill, try mashing them as best you can with a fork, but know that they will have a few small lumps in the finished product.)
–Add your egg yolks and lightly mix until the yolks have broken up and moistened the potatoes.
–Add in your cheese.
–Gradually add in your flour, and gently stir with a spatula until the mixture begins to resemble a dough.
(*It’s important to not over mix this dough, or it could become dense and gummy rather than light and pillowy)
–When you get to the point where the dough isn’t very sticky anymore, turn it onto a floured surface and knead it with as much flour as needed to make it not stick to your fingers.
–Separate the dough into 4 sections.
–With the help of some more flour, shape each section into long, skinny rolls, twice the thickness of your finger.
–With a floured, sharp knife, slice the rolls into 1-1 1/2 inch chunks.
–Place the gnocchi back into the original mixing bowl with some flour to lightly coat the gnocchi. Each time you add another batch of gnocchi to the bowl, add a bit more flour and lightly toss the bowl to coat all the pieces so they don’t stick to each other.
–When you cook these, make sure you either boil them in batches in a smaller pot or use a really big pot so you don’t end up with a messy clump. I actually dropped them in my big pot one at a time tonight because I was so paranoid! You know when gnocchi are finished cooking when they begin to rise to the top of the pot.
(*note- these freeze beautifully for up to 3 months if you want to make a big batch. Just place them on a cookie sheet so they’re not touching and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze until hardened and then place in a large freezer-safe zip bag. To thaw, they should be taken out the night before to thaw on a flat surface in the fridge so they won’t stick together.)
Feel free to serve these gnocchi however you’d like, they’re delicious simply sauced with a bit of melted butter, nutmeg and orange zest or you can do what we did tonight. However you have them, just make sure you have them.
(*by using these TIPS, the total meal cost tonight was $5 and it will serve 4-6 people)