Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Gnocchi is one of the things I’ve most missed since we changed our way of eating. To me, those fluffy potato pillows are like traditional pasta…but better! For almost two years now, I’ve kept an eye out for recipes that would help me replicate this favorite dish using sweet potatoes - but everything I found called four wheat flour. Or tapioca starch. And what I was looking for was something simpler, where every ingredient was something I’d eat on its own.
I had a breakthrough when I came across a recipe that used chickpea flour - but I ended up having to use so much to get the gnocchi dough shapeable that the end result was incredibly dry. Not even an extra ladle of sauce was enough to make it appetizing! So I put the whole idea on my mental back burner and there it sat.
Then one night, while Eric and I were watching the Great British Baking Show, I had an idea - a way to form the gnocchi without rolling so I could use less flour and create a much lighter (and more edible!) pasta.
So here it is - with a drumroll and much fanfare - my recipe for sweet potato gnocchi.
All you’ll need to make enough sweet potato gnocchi to feed 4-6 is as follows :
A kitchen scale - this recipe is most easily replicated if you use weights!
1 1gal plastic bag
1.75lb (or about 800 g) sweet potatoes
235g chickpea flour (also called garbanzo bean flour)
1 egg (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Begin by cooking the sweet potatoes. Prick the potatoes multiple times with a knife and roast whole on a sheet pan in the oven for 45 minutes at 425 degrees F. You’ll know the potatoes are done when you can easily pierce them all the way through with a knife. You want them really soft - so if there’s any doubt about their done-ness, just bake for another 5 minutes and check again.
Let the potatoes cool until you can handle them with your hands (no one likes a potato burn!!). Halve the potatoes and use a spoon to scoop out the middles. Run the sweet potato flesh through a potato ricer or puree with a food processor to get it smooth. If you use the ricer, know that there will likely be some waste - that is, chunks or extra fibrous bits that won’t pass through. Don’t include these in your gnocchi dough! Simply set aside and use only the smooth sweet potato
Now it’s time to break out your scale! Weigh 650g of your smoothed sweet potato into a large bowl. If you have any extra sweet potato left over, save it to add to a smoothie or eat as a snack!
Also add 235g of chickpea flour to the bowl. Season with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.
The egg in this recipe is optional - I feel that it makes cooking the gnocchi easier and they seem to turn out “prettier”. But if you don’t want to include it, just skip this step! If you want to include it, crack a egg into a glass or a small bowl and scramble with a fork. Then add to your sweet potato mix.
Use your hands to thoroughly mix the dough until all ingredients are combined. It will be sticky. It will get everywhere. It will be worth it (I promise!). When you’re done, scrape as much dough off of your hands as you can and then wash off the rest. You’ll want clean hands for this next bit.
Now here’s the part of this recipe that makes it all possible. AKA the magic bit.
Take a gallon plastic bag and use scissors to cut off a corner (my cut measured about 1 inch across) (alternatively, if you’re fancy, just use a pastry bag!!). Then, use a spoon to fill the bag with half of your gnocchi dough. Squeeze the dough down towards the cut corner and then give the top of the bag a few twists to keep it from squeezing back up. Pipe long rows of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with wax/parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet. Refill the bag when you start to run low on dough. When you have piped all your sweet potato mixture, place the cookie sheet into the freezer for 20 minutes.
While you wait, put a large pot of water on your stove and bring to a boil.
After 20 minutes, when the gnocchi dough has chilled enough to no longer be sticky to the touch, remove the cookie sheet from the freezer and cut the gnocchi into 1 inch pieces. I use a bench knife for this, but a regular knife (butter or otherwise!) will do just fine.
Now it’s time to cook your gnocchi! Using a spatula, scoop up about 1/5 of the cut gnocchi and drop them into the pot of boiling water. Return the cookie sheet to the freezer while you wait for this first batch to cook - that way the uncooked gnocchi won’t get too sticky!
It’s ok if the gnocchi pieces are a little stuck together going into the pot - as long as you cut them all the way through they should separate. The gnocchi will swirl around in the water as they cook, but you’ll know they’re done when they float to the top and stay there (this takes about 2-3 minutes for me). You’ll want to watch closely and pull the gnocchi out as soon as they float to the top so they don’t get soggy.
Use a slotted spoon to fish the cooked gnocchi out of the pot and set them aside on an additional cookie sheet or plate, in a single layer, to dry out a bit while you cook they remaining four batches.
Once you have cooked all of your gnocchi, all that’s left to do is top with your favorite sauce and get eating! We love them with a good red sauce…or with pesto…or browned butter and sage…
You get the idea. These puppies are good with everything.
Happy cooking, friends!