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by on September 14th, 2013

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Browned Butter Sage Sauce

Another use for the sweet potato.

Todd, who is The Daring Kitchen’s AWESOME webmaster and an amazing cook, is our September Daring Cooks’ host! Todd challenged us to make light and fluffy potato Gnocchi and encouraged us to flavor the lil pillows of goodness and go wild with a sauce to top them with!

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I like to use my best Italian accent when I try (key word is try) to say Gnocchi. I may even look a little Italian when the word comes out of my mouth. What can I say, I’m a natural. Ha.

A couple of years ago I belonged to a group of cooks or “foodies” called The Darling Kitchen and each month the group is given a challenge of something to make and they make it and within the month the post their pictures for everyone to see. This is my first challenge since having the new “joints” put in.

Gnocchi are potato dumplings made with potatoes and boiled until light and fluffy and served with some type of sauce. Making gnocchi takes practice and patience and I hope some of you have tried my gnocchi recipe back in May. I use to be afraid to try and make different things and finally realized that what’s the worst that that could go wrong — throw it out and start over maybe. (I’m still afraid to try petti fours at least the ones I want to make and maybe I’ll get up nerve some day.)

I’ve made gnocchi several times and just back in May I posted my gnocchi with chicken and gorgonzola sauce. Looking around online I saw several recipes that looked interesting. I first decided on sweet Potato gnocchi then changed my mine again and again. I came across a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi that is fried and decided to try that along with the a more traditional style using sweet potatoes but I’m using the browned butter sage sauce on both. Either of these gnocchi would make a savory side dish with any pork dish and some grilled or fried fish would be a good bet too.

I think this gnocchi recipe would be perfect on one of your first cool fall nights with a glass of wine, a great salad, some crusty French bread and of course a glass of your favorite wine.

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Oil the potatoes and sprinkle with salt then bake in oven until soft.

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Scoop out the sweet potato and part of the russet potato (see amounts below).

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You need to rice your potatoes. I tried using a food meal and it was pretty messy. I’m buying a ricer next time I’m at the store.  You can also try mashing with fork but you really want no lumps.

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After mashing your potatoes you will add the honey and the egg.

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After mixing in the flour you will form a square and cut it into 16 pieces.

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Roll each square into long rope then cut into about 1/2″ pieces.

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Using your thumb, you will press the dough onto the board and it will just roll over your thumb and curl up to make these cute little bundles.

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Brown Butter Sauce but minus that chunk of parmesan in the picture. The cheese is grated on top of the gnocchi.

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To make the brown butter sauce, slowly cook the butter and the bay leaves until the butter starts to turn a caramel brown color. Remove the fried sage leaves and reserve for garnish.

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When the butter gets about this color, remove from heat and add in the balsamic vinegar.

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Add the gnocchi to salted boiling water. After a couple of minutes the gnocchi should float to the top and when it does continue cooking for about 4-5 minutes longer then remove and drain. (Cook in small batches)

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Add the cooked drained gnocchi to the brown butter sauce and stir until coated. You probably won’t use all the gnocchi.

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter-Balsamic Sauce

(adapted from www.aidamollenkamp.com) (I halved the amounts in her recipe)

3/4 lb. sweet potatoes,
1/4 lb. russet potatoes
1 Tsp. olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 c. finely grated Parmmesan
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 – 1 c. all purpose flour

Brown butter sage sauce

1 stick unsalted butter
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
4-6 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Freshly shaved parmesan cheese, for garnish
Fresh ground black pepper

Heat an oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, season with a few good pinches of salt and a few cranks of pepper, place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast until fork tender, about 30 minutes.

Set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop flesh out of skins then pass flesh through a potato ricer (or mash with back of a fork) and stir in cheese, egg, honey, and salt. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms. Taste and add additional salt, as needed. You’ve added enough flour when you touch the back of the dough and it is damp but not sticking to you hand.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and shape into a square. Divide into 16 equal pieces. Rolling between palms and floured work surface, form each piece into a rope (about 1/2 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. However, don’t add too much additional flour as too much will make for heavy gnocchi. Cut each rope into 1/2 -inch pieces. Use your thumb, roll each piece down over tines of a fork to indent or use gnocchi board. (You may want to go to youtube.com and check out forming gnocchi.)

Bring large pot of heavily salted water to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, simmer gnocchi until tender, about 5 minutes. It will sink to the bottom first and after a few minutes will rise to the top. Then continue cooking 3-5 minutes longer. You may want to test one to see if it is done. Using a slotted spoon or spider strainer and then put on a rimmed baking sheet.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it foams, add sage and cook until crisp and fragrant. Remove sage to a plate and return frying pan to stove. The milk solids will begin to brown and the butter becomes fragrant and nutty. Scrape along the bottom to prevent the solids from sticking and burning.

When the butter is brown, immediately remove from heat, and carefully stir in the vinegar. Stir in pasta and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, (I did not add any additional water) return to heat, and cook until just coated in the sauce. Add a lot of freshly ground black pepper, taste for seasoning and finish with additional pasta water, salt, black pepper, the crisp sage, and freshly shaved parmesan.

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