Gnocchi source their name from the Italian nocchio, meaning 'knot in wood'. While Gnocchi have been a staple in Italy since Ancient Roman times, they have evolved somewhat from their original iteration into the distinctive pillowy potato morsels we know and love today. With this spirit of change in mind, we present a comforting twist on the classic gnocchi, substituting sweet potatoes for their regular counterpart. Referred to as both the patata dolce, or patata Americaca (sweet or American potato), this globally adored ingredient appeared on Italian soil in the 16th century, among many other culinary exports of the ‘new world’. Lending an enticing orange hue and - as name would suggest - sweet flavour to the gnocchi, the sweet potato is a perfect ingredient to amp up this classic dish.
Paired with a delicious burro di salvia (sage butter), this earthy and comforting meal proves a sumptuous take on the Italian staple, perfect for a simple yet impressive midweek dinner. Be sure to finish with a hefty sprinkling of Parmigiano Reggiano - as ever, the nutty cheese compliments this dish perfectly.
Our sweet potato gnocchi recipe
Prep time: 60-90 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Calories per serving: 434kcal
For the sweet potato gnocchi
- 1kg sweet potatoes
- 300g “00” Flour
- 1 egg
For the sage butter
- 150g butter
- Handful of fresh sage leaves
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Chef’s tip: While we usually boil our potatoes when making gnocchi, we find a more effective means of softening sweet potatoes is to roast them. This means you do not risk too much water permeating your potato in the boiling process, and will result in better gnocchi. As this will add to your prep time, why not prepare your sage butter while you wait?
For the gnocchi
- Pierce the skin of your potatoes with a fork a few times. Place on a baking tray, and cook in an oven preheated to 190℃, for around 50 minutes.
- Allow to cool slightly, then halve your sweet potatoes.
- Sprinkle the flour onto your work surface, and form into a ‘well’ shape.
- Directly over your flour, pass the sweet potato through a ricer. This will both remove the skin, and mash the potatoes to a smooth consistency.
- Create a further well in the potato/flour mixture.
- Crack your egg into the centre of the well, and sprinkle a touch more flour over the top.
- Using a fork, slowly combine the ingredients to form a rough paste. Use your hands to fully incorporate the ingredients, until you’re left with a rugged dough.
- Lightly knead your dough, as you would with regular pasta. Typically, 10 minutes of kneading is enough to render a smooth and supple dough. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour and knead again. That being said, be conservative with your additional flour, as too much will make your dough dense and tough.
- Divide your dough into workable pieces - splitting into quarters is a good amount for this recipe.
- Flour your surface lightly, and shape a piece of the dough into a long rope shape.
- Take a butter knife, and cut the rope into lengths of 3/4”, creating little squares.
- Roll each piece of dough in your hand. You may find it useful to sprinkle flour over the dough squares first. Begin creating little cylindrical shapes with your hands. Each gnoccho should be the size of your thumb.
- Using a gnocchi board or the back of a fork, shape your cylinders. Being careful not to squash your gnocchi, roll each cylinder down the gnocchi board, to form its characteristic ridges.
- Place each gnocchi on a floured oven tray/wooden board to avoid cluttering your workspace. Repeat for the remaining dough.
For the Sage Butter
- Remove the butter from the fridge, allowing it to come to room temperature on the counter before use.
- Roughly chop the sage leaves and add to butter. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Add your butter to a saucepan and heat gently, until the sage becomes crisp, and the mixture turns deep gold in hue.
- In the meantime, bring a pot of generously salted water to the boil, before adding your gnocchi. Allow to cook until your gnocchi rise to the surface of the water. This should take a matter of minutes. Once risen, drain your gnocchi, and toss in your sauce.
- Once cooked, transfer your gnocchi to the brown butter. Toss gently to coat. Serve with a generous helping of Parmigiano Reggiano and enjoy!
Are there any other potato gnocchi alternatives?
Feel free to unleash your culinary creativity when preparing fresh gnocchi at home. Pumpkin gnocchi and butternut squash gnocchi are both delicious alternatives to the classic potato-based recipe, and can be easily substituted into this recipe. They too work perfectly when smothered with an earthy sage butter sauce and a healthy dose of cheese!
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