Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Garlic Cheese Sauce

While engaging in one of my favorite activities, stumbling food websites, I came across this recipe for sweet potato gnocchi on The Noshery, an excellent food blog. I had never made gnocchi before so I decided to try my hand at it. These are truly little bites of heaven. Using sweet potato instead of regular potatoes was a genius move, it makes the gnocchi even richer and gives it a slight sweetness which the garlicky cheese sauce offsets perfectly. Making gnocchi is a time consuming endeavor, I think it took me about two hours to make the dough, cut it up, and boil it. Not to mention the sauce. Definitely a weekend project for a meal that you want to make special, or if you are bored and want to tackle a new kitchen project (that would be me).

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Garlic Cheese Sauce (adapted from this recipe)

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
1 1/2 cups Mashed Sweet Potatoes (about 3 sweet potatoes)
6 oz Low Fat Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese shredded
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
2 1/2 cups (about) Flour
Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork and roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until soft. Mash up sweet potatoes and then let cool. Once they have cooled put them in a large mixing bowl and mix in the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, and nutmeg.

Sweet potatoes and ricotta cheese

Gradually add in the flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough is only slightly sticky and stays together enough to handle. Take dough out and knead on a floured surface, adding more flour as needed until dough is smooth. Divide dough into three sections.

Divided dough

Roll one section into a rope, one inch in diameter.

Rope of dough

Cut the rope into four equal parts and then slice the four parts into about one inch pieces.

The four pieced
Uncooked pieces of gnocchi

Repeat with other sections. Bring a large pot of water to boil with 1 tablespoon of salt. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water in about three batches (you don't want too many gnocchi in the water). Boil the gnocchi for 6 minutes - once gnocchi are starting to get done they will rise to the top of the pot. The Noshery suggested frying the cooked gnocchi to crisp them up a little and I tried that, it was an excellent idea. Just put a little butter in the frying pan, turn onto medium heat and throw in a few handfuls of gnocchi at a time cooking on each side for a minute or two until lightly browned. The exterior crunch makes the chewy gnocchi center even better.

Garlic Cheese Sauce
2 cups Milk
3 tablespoons Butter
3 tablespoons Flour
1 cup Gouda Cheese
1 tablespoon Garlic minced
1 Onion chopped fine
In a large frying pan on medium heat saute onion and garlic in one tablespoon of the butter until onions become translucent and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn burner down to low, then add in the rest of the butter and melt. Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, onions, and garlic and stir in. Slowly add in the milk, stirring constantly or the mixture will clump. If it starts to clump pull off heat and stir in more milk until mixture is smooth again. Once milk is incorporated continue to cook on low heat until boiling, continue boiling for about 2 minutes (should be slightly thick). Add in the gouda and stir until melted. Pour over the gnocchi and serve. Gnocchi and sauce serve about 3-4 depending on if you have sides and how hungry everyone is.

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