Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Brown Butter and Sage
I am very lucky that my parents grew their own fruits and vegetables, and from a very early age they instilled in me the value of cultivating and eating fresh, organic produce. I remember seeing the Brussels sprouts on the stalks for the first time, picking the beautiful purple leek flower for a table arrangement or collecting raspberries, grapes, cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes and many more for our meals. My whole childhood was a step up from a farm to table movement and it was an amazing introduction for a child into a healthy and conscious lifestyle.
I remember the first time my mum made sweet potatoes. She cooked them just like she would with the white/yellow variety and served with standard side salads and some meat. They were good, but I told her I prefer the "normal" potatoes :-). Years after, I just love them; fries, wedges, purées, or whatever else can be made with them, I will eat it and probably praise about it! These sweet and delicate gnocchi with lots of aromatic sage browned butter will definitely make you want more sweet potatoes.
Ingredients (4-6 people):
- 2 - 3 sweet potatoes (about 0.7kg/1.5pounds)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (1/2 cup for the main batch and 1/2 cup for kneading)
- 1 stick / 113g unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- salt and black pepper to taste
- about 10 fresh sage leafs
- some parmesan for serving
Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. Pierce each sweet potato with a fork or a knife a few times, place them on a baking sheet covered with tin foil, and bake until tender, about 45 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Cool.
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them and mash with a potato masher or ricer. Add 1/2 cup of flour and mix gently until just combined.
Flour a work surface and scoop the dough out onto it. Divide into 4 pieces and while working on one, keep the rest covered. Dust the top and sides of the dough lightly with flour, and have your hands floured also. This dough will be very sticky and wet at the beginning, that's why we are using another 1/2 cup of flour for dusting and shaping. You might need more flour, but do not add all at once. Work with the dough and see if it holds shape, that means you have plenty of flour and no need for more.
Roll each piece on the counter so it forms a long rope. The lenght and the thickness doesn't matter, you can make them as big or small as you want. Cut the rope into small segments, and roll each segment over the tines of a fork to form the characteristic indentations. You can also use a gnocchi board if you have one. I made these a few times now, and always have trouble getting the right shape, so I make them more like medallions with some fork detailing on top.
While working on the gnocchi, keep putting them on a baking sheet sprinkled with some more flour. You can keep them on the baking sheet, covered, in the fridge for a day.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously; we haven't added any salt yet, so don't be afraid. Once boiling, drop several pieces in and once they float to the top, cook them for about 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the size. Check one after 2 minutes and decide if they need more time. They need to be aldente but cooked through.
Remove with a slotted spoon, transfer to a clean bowl and continue with the rest of the gnocchi.
Once all the gnocchi are cooked, melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, until it turns amber gold. Once the butter has browned, add the sage (you can chop it into smaller pieces) and turn off the heat. The smell of the sage will start filling your kitchen in about a minute, and then add the gnocchi. Put the saucepan back on the stove and cook for another couple of minutes, until gnocchi gets some of that sage flavour. Serve immediately!