If you haven’t made pasta at home before, it’s time for you to begin, starting with this sweet potato gnocchi recipe.
Don’t be intimidated, though. We will give you step-by-step instructions on how to make it. It might seem like a long process but it’s really simple. All you gotta do is keep calm and follow the recipe.
What Is Gnocchi?
Gnocchi is a type of Italian pasta that is customarily made from wheat or semolina flour, potato, egg, and possibly cheese. You can be experimental and replace and/or add other ingredients to give your gnocchi more personality as well. For example, adding different kinds of herbs to the gnocchi will give the dish a lot more flavor.
Like any other pasta, gnocchi can take many different shapes and sizes. In order to shape the gnocchi, the dough is rolled out into a long rope and cut into small pieces, thus resulting in the gnocchi taking the shape of tiny pillows. You can opt to either cook the pillow-shaped gnocchi at this stage, or shape them even further by pressing the gnocchi gently with a fork to form ridges on the outside. This will help them hold sauce more effectively.
There are many ways to serve gnocchi: it can either be a main course like your favorite pasta, or take the role of a side dish to accompany any type of protein like beef or pork and/or vegetables. Generally, after being cooked in salted boiling water, gnocchi is cooked in melted butter with sage until they are crispy on the outside. Alternatively, gnocchi can be dressed with various types of sauce like pesto, alfredo, bolognese, etc.
What Does Good Gnocchi Taste Like?
If you have never tasted gnocchi before, this will be hard to describe.
As mentioned, gnocchi are small delicate pieces of dough that have a very interesting texture; it lies somewhere between soft, pillowy, and slightly chewy. It’s also tender, and kind of fluffy at the same time. No one can describe it as good as the experience of it, so it’s better for you to have a taste to actually feel what it’s like.
If your gnocchi turns out tough and doughy rather than light and fluffy, we would have to guess that you may have added too much flour or kneaded the dough too much. No worries, though. Practice makes perfect!
Can You Overcook Gnocchi?
Yes, you can. Any food can be overcooked if you’re not paying attention.
Like cooking pasta, it’s always best to set up an assembly line when you cook gnocchi: a pot of boiling water, a pan of your favorite sauce or butter right next to the pot, a strainer or a slotted spoon, and last but not least, shaped gnocchi dough. So when the gnocchi are cooked and float to the surface, you can fish them out immediately and transfer them to the sauce pan right away.
It’s best to boil the gnocchi in batches so that you don’t risk overcrowding the pot and having your gnocchi cook unevenly. Once you’ve boiled all of your pasta, you can cook them all at once in the sauce later.
Remember that if you leave the gnocchi in the pot for too long, they will be overcooked and turn into mush as they soak in more water (something we would like to avoid.)
Can You Freeze Sweet Potato Gnocchi?
Yes, you can.
In order to freeze your sweet potato gnocchi, place them in a single layer on a baking tray. If you have too many gnocchi but only one baking tray, lay a large piece of cling film over the first layer and arrange the second layer on top. Once finished, put the tray in the freezer and let it sit for about 3 hours or until your gnocchi are completely frozen. Once solid, take them out and put them in a ziplock bag. If you keep them in the freezer they will stay good for a month or two.
How To Cook Frozen Gnocchi?
When you need them, just bring a big pot of water to a boil and dump the frozen gnocchi into the boiling water. Here’s a few things to remember when you cook frozen gnocchi:
- Don’t thaw the gnocchi before you cook them. Thawing them will release moisture, making the gnocchi mushy and sticky.
- Use a big pot with lots of water. You need to give your gnocchi some space or they won’t cook evenly.
- Give them a stir once they hit the water. If you skip this step, your gnocchi will likely stick to each other and to the bottom of the pot, and we want to avoid that.
- Don’t overcrowd the pot; cook them in batches instead. If you crowd the pot, the temperature of the water will drop very quickly and it will take some time for it to come back to a boil. By the time your water comes up to temperature, your gnocchi will most likely be mushy.
So, that’s basically everything you need to keep in mind before you start making your very first gnocchi.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi Recipe
- 10.5 oz sweet potato peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp garlic minced
- 3 tbsps grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or bay leaf, if preferred
- Freshly cracked black pepper optional, to taste
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley optional, for garnishing
- Add sweet potato into a large pot and cover with water. Place on the stove, turn on high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle boil for 15 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
- Drain well and transfer the sweet potato to a large mixing bowl. Mash until smooth with a potato masher. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Optional: If you have a drum sieve, you can press the mashed sweet potato through the sieve to remove any fibers and get an even smoother texture.
- Add flour, egg yolk, and salt to the mashed sweet potato and mix well with a wooden spoon to combine. Once the mixture begins to come together, transfer to a clean, lightly floured work surface. Knead with your hands for about 5 minutes to form a smooth ball of dough.
- Note: You can add more flour if the dough is too wet and sticky. Remember to add a little bit at a time, and knead the flour into the dough before adding more flour, so as to not overdo it.
- Using a knife or a pastry cutter, divide the dough into 4 portions and roll each portion into thick ropes. Then cut each rope into 1-inch pieces.
- Optional: To make ridges on the gnocchi, dust flour on a fork, place gnocchi on the fork tines and press down gently while rolling it across the fork with your thumb. Lightly flour the gnocchi and put them on a floured plate.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil on high heat. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium, and drop the gnocchi into the water, a third at a time. Give them a stir to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot, and wait for them to float to the top for about 2 minutes. Transfer gnocchi to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
- In a large frying pan, heat unsalted butter, olive oil, and fresh thyme over medium heat until the butter starts to brown. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add boiled gnocchi and cook for 2 minutes. Add half of the parmesan cheese and cook for another minute until lightly browned.
- Transfer gnocchi to a plate. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.