Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Cream Sauce
Yessssssss, I finally did it!! And by "it," I mean I finally made gnocchi. It's been on my bucket list for forever. I know, quite the exciting bucket list I've got.
But I'm not just talking about regular gnocchi. I specifically wanted to make sweet potato gnocchi, doused in a rich, creamy tomato sauce that was flavored with lots of herbs and plenty of salt + pepper.
And if you're wondering how the gnocchi on my bucket list got to be so specific, it's because I was trying to replicate a specific sweet potato gnocchi that I always get whenever I go to a certain restaurant.
Now, I can't say that I replicated that restaurant gnocchi. Mine doesn't taste the same as theirs. But the idea is the same - soft, pillowy sweet potato gnocchi that's pan fried in butter to get them all toasty and crispy on the outside before being covered in a tomato cream sage sauce. That's the idea.
So, now that you have a general idea about this gnocchi dish, let's talk specifics.
There are three steps involved to making this sweet potato gnocchi, and imma break them down for you so that this dish doesn't seem t0o intimidating:
1 - prepare the five ingredient gnocchi dough by mixing together one large sweet potato with some ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese (YUMMM), salt, and flour. Then, divide that dough into four pieces, roll each piece into a rope, and slice the rope into your gnocchi pieces. Done.
2 - boil the gnocchi in a pot (you'll have to do this twice, cuz if you stick 'em all in the pot at once, they'll start sticking together). Once boiled for five or so minutes, you're gonna pan fry the gnocchi (again in batches) in a lil bit of butter until the outsides are golden brown and toasted and crispy and amazing. I prefer my gnocchi a little bit over-toasted, so I let them sit in the pan for a bit longer than they probably should.
3- last up, the sauce. It's super easy. Sauté some garlic in olive oil, pour in some tomato sauce and spices, cook a little, add in the heavy cream, heat through, and the sauce is ready.
Oh, and then toss the cooked, toasted gnocchi into the pan with the sauce. And then go to town.
To serve, I suggest spooning the creamy, saucy gnocchi into a serving bowl and then sprinkling some (okay, not some, LOTS of) freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the gnocchi.
And I can't say that maybe a little sprinkling of flaky salt, some coarsely ground black pepper, and fresh sage or basil or another herb of your choice sprinkled over the gnocchi would hurt either.
I actually added dried sage into this tomato cream sauce and then also sprinkled it over the gnocchi as a garnish. Mainly because I didn't have fresh sage on hand, but also because I tend to prefer dried herbs to fresh herbs, specifically inside of sauces and things. There's just more flavor in the dried stuff.
So, like I explained, there are three steps to making this creamy sweet potato gnocchi. But the steps are all pretty simple, and this whole dish will take you about an hour to make. Which I know isn't the fastestdinnerever, but if you've got a spare hour, it's really not too bad, and it's most definitely really, really worth it.
Also, you may want to consider doubling the gnocchi dough and then freezing half of the cooked gnocchi (this is right after you boil them but before you toast and sauce them) for another time. Just an idea.
Soft, pillowy, sweet + salty sweet potato gnocchi, toasted in butter until crispy and golden brown on the outside, stirred into a tasty, creamy, herby tomato cream sauce. Garnished with Parmesan cheese and some more herbs.
DOES DINNER GET BETTER? No.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Tomato Cream Sauce
Yield: one medium serving bowl (about 6 servings)
1 lb. sweet potato (about one large sweet potato)
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups flour
- 2 to 3 tablespoons butter, for toasting gnocchi
Tomato Cream Sauce:
4 teaspoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 oz. tomato sauce
3/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or 1/4 teaspoon each dried basil and oregano)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 cup heavy cream
Gnocchi: prick the sweet potato with a fork, wrap in a damp paper towel, and microwave on high until tender, about 6-9 minutes. (Alternatively, bake in the oven until soft.)
Scoop out flesh of sweet potato, discard peel, and add flesh to a large bowl. Mash well. Add in ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and salt and mix until smooth. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing gently until a soft dough forms.
Drop dough onto a well-floured surface and divide into 4 pieces. Roll first piece into a long, thinnish rope (about 1-inch in diameter). Slice rope into equal pieces of desired size. Repeat with other 3 pieces of dough.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer gnocchi to the baking sheet in a single layer to ensure that they don't stick together.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in half the gnocchi and boil about 5-6 minutes, or until they rise to the top of the water and are tender. Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon and transfer to baking sheet in single layer again. Repeat with other half of gnocchi.
(You can now make rest of recipe or refrigerate or freeze the cooked gnocchi for another time.)
Toasting Gnocchi: melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add in half the gnocchi and fry in single layer for a few minutes, until golden and toasted. Flip and toast other side of gnocchi (I like using tongs for flipping them). Repeat with other half of gnocchi, adding a bit more butter if necessary. Pour toasted gnocchi back onto baking sheet.
Sauce: Using same skillet used for toasting gnocchi, heat olive oil over a medium flame. Add in garlic and sauté one minute. Add in tomato sauce and spices and cook about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower flame and slowly pour in heavy cream. Cook another minute, till heated through.
Pour gnocchi into sauce and cook a few minutes until heated through. Serve immediately, garnishing with Parmesan cheese, salt + pepper, and fresh sage or other herbs if desired.