While I’m sure that many can agree that a good helping of garlicky mashed potatoes is perhaps one of the best comfort foods, I would also have to lump mashed sweet potatoes into this category. Growing up, baked sweet potatoes would almost always be a eaten with steak at dinner (a treat of a meal). I would anxiously unwrap the steaming little potato, scrape the flesh from the inside, and mash it along with some butter and black pepper. I am always looking for new ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into my diet- baked, stuffed, in soup, in a pancake, etc. This week, I used mashed sweet potatoes to make gnocchi. Although I generally prefer pasta over gnocchi (because gnocchi tends to be a bit heavy for my taste), I figured that it was worth the effort to make my own sweet potato gnocchi for the experience.
I started by baking two sweet potatoes for about an hour and then mashing the cooled flesh. I then added a cup of ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, 2 eggs, about 2 cups of flour and salt according to this recipe. This created a sticky ball of dough that I rolled out on the countertop.
I then divided the dough into quarters, rolled each into a rope, and cut the rope into bite-sized pieces, arranging them on a baking sheet so that they wouldn’t stick together.
Next, I boiled the gnocchi in salted water in batches, removing them from the water when they floated to the top. Unfortunately, I took this picture while my camera lens was a bit steamed up. This is what the gnocchi looked like in the colander immediately after cooking.
Since this process was rather involved, Brian was in charge of cooking some marinated chicken breasts to top our gnocchi. For the sauce, I sauteed butter, onions, red bell pepper, zucchini, and roasted garlic with some of the remaining pasta water, italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and parmesan cheese.
The final product ended up being extremely tasty, owing largely to the well marinated chicken and the buttery, garlic vegetable topping. The gnocchi did retain a good amount of sweetness from the sweet potato, but were I to make gnocchi again, I would definitely cut the dough into smaller pieces. These ended up as more of two-bite sized pieces, making the dish rather filling, therefore I must express my newly born appreciation of gnocchi with a light and fluffy quality. I’m extremely pleased with how smoothly the entire process went from start to finish, and know that this will probably not be the last time that a gnocchi recipe catches my eye.