Monday, September 27, 2010

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I am a huge fan of sweet potatoes in nearly everything. I love them just baked and eating them right out of the skin (maybe with a heap of brown sugar). Lately though, I really enjoy them in savory applications like in these sweet potato and black bean burritos I made. Turns out too, that they are supposed to be very healthy for you providing you with necessary Vitamin A and C as well as potassium and calcium apparently. O! and the folate! Of course that is simply me justifying my new love. I think it's better than the time I tried to justify my love of twizzlers though so bear with me.

So where has my love of sweet potatoes taken me? To the wonderful realm of pasta. Especially that type of pasta that requires no special equipment, not even a rolling pin. I'm talking about gnocchi. The little "clouds" of the pasta world. The dumplings that are often described as light and airy when they are good or heavy and mushy when they are bad. It's not difficult to spot a bad piece of gnocchi as it will stick to the roof of the mouth as you try to chew it. I had one piece in my batch like this but I think it was because I got a little bit impatient towards the end and may not have waited for my second round to cook all the way through. O well. The rest were awesome. I should add a disclaimer to this recipe though because it requires a lot of intuition with the ingredients. A cook here will have to be in tune with their potatoes!

The process starts with baking and then mashing the sweet potatoes. Make sure to mash them really well because lumpy pasta doesn't sound fun at all. Not to me at least.
 Be ready to clean the counter then pour out the sweet potatoes and make a well like you would with mashed potatoes on thanksgiving to prepare them for gravy. This time though add eggs. 
Ok so this next picture represents a very large gap in the process because it's ridiculously messy. Sweet potato is much more sticky substance than I even could have imagined. Adding flour is not really a science either. I would be willing to wager that more sweet potato ended up stuck to my counter than in my gnocchi.
I like this picture because it almost looks like a legit gnocchi picture. I feel very proud of this moment because I get sentimental over food apparently.
 So I used a lot of butter which combined with the very filling pasta makes for a decadent meal probably best  for rare occasions. Like your first time making gnocchi.
 Tomatoes, arugula and butter? Yes please. Of course this is optional, just my idea to use up old produce make a quick sauce.
For the most part I just made this recipe up based on some other gnocchi recipes I've seen. As I've said before though, you kind of just have to go with your gut based on how much mashed potatoes you end up with.

Ingredients for Pasta
1 1/4 or 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 medium ones)
1 egg
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup plus additional flour as needed

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork all over then place in the oven and leave in until fully cooked and tender. About 30 to 40 minutes. When they are finished let them rest until they are cool enough to touch.

2. Heat up about 6 cups of salted water in a large pan. Meanwhile peel the skin off of the sweet potatoes then mash in a small bowl. Transfer potatoes onto a clean surface and make into a small well (see image). In another small bowl beat together the egg, a pinch of salt and pepper, and nutmeg. Pour the egg into the well in the sweet potatoes. Here is where it gets messy. Mix in the egg then add a cup of flour to start and begin kneading. Continue adding flour and kneading until basically the dough sticks more to itself then your hands. Roll dough into a ball. Cut ball in half and roll each half out into a long, skinny line. Cut into about one inch pieces of dough.

3. When water is boiling, add the uncooked pasta. I did one roll at a time. The pasta will sink to the bottom of the pot and will rise to the top when they are fully cooked. Use a slotted spoon to fish them out when they rise and transfer to a bowl.

Ingredients for Sauce
4 Tbsp butter
2 roma tomatoes seeded and diced
2 cups arugula

1. Melt butter over medium heat in a frying pan. Allow the butter to boil until it turns brown then add the tomato and arugula. Cook until the arugula is melted, about a minute. Pour over delicious pasta.

GO find this on It's a Blog Party Delicious Dishes
and on one of my new favorites, Vegetarian Foodie Fridays


  1. Trina, this sounds wonderful!! What a great post -- I love the idea of gnocci, though I don't know if I've ever tried it - with sweet potatoes and the addition of arugula it sounds mouthwatering.

  2. Oh boy this looks fantastic! I've never made gnocchi but you've intrigued me into thinking I might be able to actually pull it off! Thanks for linking to Vegetarian Foodie Fridays Trine.

  3. It's a good way to make pasta without actually buying crazy pasta equipment so in that sense it's easy to pull off =)


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