Aah gnocchi… yet another of those simple, elegant Italian dishes I’m always raving about. Personally, though, I find them surprisingly tricky to make. You’ve got to get the ratio of ingredients just right; you’ve got to ensure you don’t overhandle the dough; and you’ve got to neither undercook or overcook them, presuming they even hold together in the water!
This is my second go at gnocchi. My first attempt, with potato gnocchi, two years back was rustic to say the least. That said, they were still delicious. I had better luck with these sweet potato (or kumara gnocchi, as we refer to them in New Zealand) gnocchi, though I’m not too proud to say that my first batch had to be consigned to the rubbish bin due to overcooking. The remaining batches worked pretty well and I ended up with little pillows of sweet potato, flavoured delicately with garlic and doused in burnt butter and sage sauce.
Thanks to New Zealand’s Food magazine (August/September 2015, Issue 84) for the recipe. I’ll definitely make these again one day and next time I might try adding a little ricotta into the gnocchi mix. It’s not because they were too dense or anything, but I reckon it might just lighten the texture a tad and add a little more flavour and creaminess.
By the way, don’t you think sage is just the most beautiful looking herb?
SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI WITH BURNT BUTTER & SAGE SAUCE
- 850g sweet potato (kumara)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 crushed garlic clove)
- 2 cups rice flour, plus extra if needed
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 16-20 fresh sage leaves
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
- Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). Prick the sweet potato with a fork and bake in the preheated oven until soft (about 45 minutes). Remove the sweet potato flesh from the skins and mash the flesh into a puree.
- Put 2 cups of the puree into a bowl or a mixer. Add the salt, egg and garlic powder (or crushed garlic) and mix. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition, until the dough is soft but not too sticky and forms a ball (it will be a semi-wet mixture).
- Tip the dough onto a well-floured surface and form it into 6 balls. Roll each ball out into a log, then, using a sharp knife, cut each log into 3cm x 3cm pillows of gnocchi. If desired, carefully roll a fork over each piece to make grooves.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water and stir gently. Cook until the gnocchi starts to float, 3-5 minutes. Drain well.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frypan over a medium heat. Let it start bubbling and browning, being careful not to burn it. It should brown slowly and turn a caramel colour quite quickly.
- Add the gnocchi to the frypan and turn in the butter until they are brown and crispy on all sides. Add the sage leaves in at the last minute and toss through.
- Transfer onto a serving plate and drizzle the extra butter from the pan over the top. Sprinkle the parmesan over, grind a little black pepper and sea salt over top, and serve immediately.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Continuous Fluorescent Lighting Softbox