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Sweet Potato Gnocchi

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Do you know gnocchi?

(OK, I’ll admit I really wanted to write do you gnow gnocchi…but that would prove I spend much too much time around my husband.)

Gnocchi hold a special place in our hearts. We first ate them together on our honeymoon in Rome, and they were one of the first things we learned to cook together. (We also finally learned how to pronounce the word correctly: nyo-key – the “gn” is like the lasagna – I have to think of that every time I say it.)

Whatever the case, gnocchi are incredibly delicious Italian dumplings. They’re generally made of white potatoes, but can also be made with flour or ricotta.

You can buy them packaged, and they’re quite delicious. However, if you have a bit of time to spare (perhaps on a weekend), it’s worth the effort to make them yourself!  This is a perfect “project” to try with a special someone, or with kids in the kitchen. And, we’ve tried to simplify the process so that the “project” shouldn’t end up taking more than an hour or two – though to do so you may have to (gasp!) use your microwave in the process.

I’ve also substituted one of my one of my favorite ingredients – sweet potatoes – for the standard baking potato. Sweet potatoes are incredibly good for you (one of the best foods you can eat!), and add just a twinge of sweetness to the recipe, along with tons of health benefits. Since we generally prefer savory preparations, we’ve simply prepared them here sauteed in olive oil, with a bit of sage and topped with lots of parmesan.

If you have the chance, give them a try – they’re a wonderful treat for a special meal!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Serves about 4

What You Need

For the gnocchi
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1 pound each, but can be less)
1 1/2 to 2 cups whole wheat flour
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon kosher salt

To serve
Fresh sage (or dried as a substitute)
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Parmesan cheese

What To Do

1  Cook the sweet potatoes: The microwave actually works great for the potatoes in this recipe!  Prick them with a fork and then microwave until tender and cooked all the way through. For us, it took about 20 minutes total, around 10 minutes per side. However, the time will depend on your microwave and how big your potatoes are. Insert a knife into the potato to test for its doneness. (If you are against microwaves or don’t have one, you can also bake for about 40 minutes at 450°F.)

2  Mix the dough: Let the potatoes cool until you can handle them. Then scoop them from the skins into a bowl (or remove the skins if they peel easily). Mash them with a potato masher until smooth. Then add 1 egg, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and about 1 1/2 cups wheat flour. Mix with a spoon and then kneed until a dough forms. Then gradually add additional flour until the dough is not sticky – we added up to 1/2 cup for ours, so you may have to add a fair amount of extra flour to get it to a workable state. If it’s too sticky to roll out – add more flour!

3  Make the gnocchi: Divide the dough in four parts, Using your hands, roll out each piece into a very long, skinny roll. Then cut off small parts of the dough to form the gnocchi (we re-rolled them here so they looked uniform). If desired, use a fork to add an impression on the top of each gnocchi. Place the gnocchi on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. From here you can freeze them, or immediately boil and prepare them as described below. (If you freeze them, you can boil them right out of the freezer.)

4  Boil the gnocchi: When ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Then boil the gnocchi (in batches if necessary) until they float, about 5 minutes.

5  Prepare the gnocchi: There are many sauces that go well with gnocchi, including tomato sauce, or a cream or cheese-based sauce. However, we found the following simple preparation to be delicious: Chiffonade some fresh sage (or substitute a teaspoon or two dried). In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Add the gnocchi, sage, and a bit of kosher salt and heat for several minutes, until slightly browned. Serve immediately, topped with fresh grated parmesan and a bit of fresh ground pepper.

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Comments 45

  1. Rebecca

    These look wonderful! I’ve been searching for a sweet potato gnocchi recipe and this one looks perfect! I’m making it for dinner!

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  2. Genevieve

    Your gnocchi are gorgeous! I like that you came up with a lighter sauce (since I wouldn’t really want to eat a bowl of browned butter for dinner like a lot of other recipes call for). And I’m glad you included a pronunciation guide – I always have to try not to laugh to myself when I hear people pronounce the hard ‘g’ or the ‘h’!

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      Sonja

      Oh, thank you!! I’m totally with you on the browned butter sauces (hence the lighter sauce). It turned out to be just the right lightness and amount of effort (after spending all the time to make them!).

  3. Meghan

    At the risk of being SUPER cheesy, I definitely want to second how much fun gnocchi actually is to make with a significant other! I love to cook, bake, etc; the boyfriend does not. He mostly just likes to eat. BUT, we had so much fun making gnocchi that he always brings it up and is really enthusiastic about making it again. It is really funny actually. I don’t have any kids, (knock on wood) but I would imagine same goes!

    I’ve never tried to make it with sweet potato, but it’s on the agenda!

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      Sonja

      That’s not cheesy at all – that’s great!! I’m glad to hear that others are just as sentimental about the gnocchi making process :) Let us know how they turn out!

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      Sonja

      I agree! We don’t use our microwave a lot, but it’s perfect for sweet potatoes (I’ve been using it to do single servings and it works great for one small potato – only about 5 minutes!).

  4. Valeria

    love them, love them, love them! here we make them with normal potato and we season them with Castelmagno cheese, too, yuuum! but also with classic butter and sage, also yummi. I will have to try the sweet potato version, although I am not sure if we have the right variety here, they might not turn out..oh well, I guess I have to try. Also, I never tried them with olive oil, I am very curious about the result!

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      Sonja

      Oh, it is wonderful to hear from a real Italian! :) If you can find sweet potatoes, give them a try and let us know what you think!

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  5. Amanda

    We made these sunday afternoon and they were delicious!! We didn’t have a potato masher (who doesn’t have one of those?! I better head to Bed, Bath, and Beyond right away!) so I popped the potato into the food processor for a few seconds….worked great! I can’t wait to make them again!

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      Sonja

      Wonderful – I’m so glad they turned out! And so funny that you have a food processor but not a potato masher – I know lots of jealous souls out there! :)

  6. Marki

    These were amazing! Thank you so much for the recipe. My boyfriend and I made them and they hit the spot. Perfect for fall.

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  7. Emily

    These are wonderful! Super easy to make too! I think I made mine a little small, as they only took about three minutes to boil. Ill be freezing most of the gnocchi so I will have a quick side dish for dinners this week.

    This blog is wonderful! So glad to have tumbled upon it. I just recently decided to cut meat out of my diet, so I am excited to try all of your recipes. :)

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      Sonja

      Oh, thank you! I’m glad you found them easy as well (while they take a bit of time to make, the concept is quite simple!)

      Let us know if you try anything else out – it’s always great to hear feedback on the recipes! :)

  8. Kate

    Hi! These look wonderful. I’d plan to make them this weekend with lamb shanks and wild mushrooms. I’m guessing you used the orange sweet potatoes (aka yams), vs. the white sweet potatoes, given the golden color of the gnocchi. Would you mind verifying that for me?

    Thanks so much!

  9. misty

    crazy, crazy, crazy time consuming. I went into my kitchen at 5:15, left it at 9:15 in a huge mess to be dealt with tomorrow. my back hurts.

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      Sonja

      Yes, sorry they didn’t work out! If you’d like, send us an email and we can help figure out how to make the process easier! While they take longer than the normal recipe, I’d think we could find some time savings for you. Let us know!!

  10. Kara

    These were great!! I used the lighter sweet potatoes and they were delicious. I baked them in the oven in the morning and resumed the process in the late afternoon. It took me about 1.5 hours, including all of the interruptions from the kids, and now I have extra to freeze for later meals. I love it!! So worth the time. Thank you for such a great website. My family has loved everything we have tried.

  11. Claire

    Tasted great, but I ended up using 5 cups of flour to make it less sticky, and the dough was still a bit sticky in the end. I don’t why it was so sticky, but they tasted good so it was okay. Any suggestions for next time? Thanks for the recipe!

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      Sonja

      Yes, that is a lot of extra flour! The amount does vary each time, but usually not so much as this. Did you perhaps use more than 2 lbs total of sweet potatoes? Or an extra large egg? The amount of wets to dries is the key here. We’ve made it a few times with success, so I’m not sure exactly what might have been the issue for you! Maybe try it again and note all your measurements and weights as you do it? Let me know if it works out!

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