Sweet Potato Gnocchi

My yoga master once said that we all go through energy blocks twice a year. Once around the beginning of the year and once around your birthday. You either feel sluggish, lacking energy, or downright fall sick. Surprisingly, I have noticed this to be true during more than one instance (or that my mind is playing tricks on me). Last year this time, I felt the same energy slump; 'Burn out’ as one of my blogger friends put it. I was uninspired for the better part of last month, and I am slowly reeling out of it. A clear day with plentiful sunshine and a shopping spree for new props was just the motivation I needed. I hope this vim continues for rest of the year.

To break free from the monotonous mood, I set to make ‘pillows of heaven’. No, not idly, its gnocchi this time. I have been wanting to try making it with sweet potato, rather than the usual potato. I had no recipe in mind, just mixing a little of this and that. And as the dough came together, so did the clouds. ‘Oh snap’, I thought, ‘there goes the photo shoot’. A little upset, I proceeded with the rest of the procedure. As I sat down by the French window making gnocchi, sheets of rain had started pouring down, tapping the glass door. That moment was so therapeutic that I forgot about the passing time. There is something mesmerizing about rainfall; bringing time to stand still.

But a meal had to be served, and I hastened to the kitchen. Once the dumplings are shaped, the rest is a breeze. Cook ‘em in pot of boiling water and serve with pesto or vinaigrette. The gnocchi was delicious. The texture was just right, neither too soft nor tough. I served mine with a pecan salad inspired from this recipe. I also managed to click few shots bent in awkward positions.

I made a double batch and froze the rest, but I could barely resist using them within a week. This time I pan fried the cooked gnocchi in a little butter and sage, and tossed them with a generous helping of roasted winter vegetables. Funny that my mind associated sweet potato gnocchi with rain even this time.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
(serves 4)

Ingredients

Sweet Potato – 4, small, yielding about 3 cups of pulp
Flour – about 2¼ cups, plus more for dusting
Egg – 1
Salt
Pepper

Method

Microwave or steam the sweet potatoes. Peel and mash the pulp in a bowl. Add egg, salt, pepper and 2 cups of flour and start mixing lightly with a fork. Add more flour if needed. When finished the dough will be slightly sticky, but workable. Avoid over-working the dough, else you will end up with tough dumplings.

Transfer the dough to a well-floured working surface. Divide the dough into 4, and roll them into long ropes, about ½ inch thick. Transfer to a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes. While the dough rests, clear the working area.

Take the dough ropes from the fridge, and cut 1 inch pieces with a floured knife. Gnocchi is good to go just like this. If you want ridges, coat a fork lightly with flour, and press against the little dough pieces, like the ones here. But if you want the classic rolled, ridged shape, take the fork and lightly coat with flour. Take one piece and press and stretch the dough against the fork using your fingers, like the letter ‘C’. Now, roll the backside of the flour slightly toward the end of the fork. With practice, the backside of gnocchi will lift as you press and stretch the front end. Gently lift the dough from the fork and transfer to a large plate or a baking sheet liberally sprinkled with flour. Make sure the gnocchi is well coated with flour, as they tend to stick together.

When ready to serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Gently shake excess flour off the dumplings and add to the pot of water. They are cooked when they float to the top. Drain, and serve immediately.

Serve tossed in your favourite cream sauce, pesto, vinaigrette or with roasted vegetables.

Pecan salad

Pecan – 1 cup, lightly roasted
Salad greens – about 4 cups (more if you like)

Vinaigrette

Lemon juice – ¼ cup
Garlic – 1 clove, minced
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Parsley or cilantro – ¼ cup, chopped
Olive oil – 2 to 4 tbsp
Salt
Red pepper flakes – a pinch

Method

Whisk all of the ingredients to make the vinaigrette. The hot gnocchi instantly absorbs the flavours of the dressing. Toss with pecans, salad greens, and gnocchi, and serve with a crack of black pepper.

Even if you are cooking for one or two, go ahead and make the whole deal. Gnocchi is time consuming and requires patience. And, if you are going to dirty a bunch of dishes, you might as well double the batch, right? Cook and clean once, but enjoy twice. Cook as much gnocchi as you want. Spread the uncooked gnocchi on a floured plate or sheet and slide into the freezer. Once they are completely frozen, transfer them to a freezer safe bag and store. When ready, directly transfer the gnocchi from the freezer to the pot of boiling water.

This goes to Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen, who is hosting Food In Color – Orange.

27 comments:

Happy cook said...

Hats off to you for making gnochi at home.
Looks yummy delicious.

Pavani said...

Gnocchi with Sweet potato sounds unique. Love the way you used gnocchi in the salad. Great pics.

Susan said...

Quite, quite lovely. Gnocchi is really not that difficult to create from scratch.

I hear you on the burn out. I'm nearly comatose these days with blogging activity of any kind.

Aparna said...

I like the unusual colour of these gnocchi. Here our sweet potatoes aren't this colour.
Much as I like gnocchi, my one attempt to make it home was such a disaster I've not dared to go there again! :)
Thanks for sending them in to FIC.

veggievixen said...

that's awesome! i've never made my own pasta. the sweet potato seems like it would be a great flavor in these.

Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

Those look perfect!

Susan said...

Duh. This is how dulled down I am these days - didn't even notice that you played w/ my pecan salad to beautiful effect. Thx. A fine dish ; } all around.

Superchef said...

they look quite delicious...the pictures are too good!

MeetaK said...

isn't homemade gnocchi the best? absolutely d'lish!

Hillary said...

What a wonderful bright recipe. I totally know what you mean about feeling sick around your birthday - last year I didn't get to do anything because I was in bed all weekend!

KALVA said...

lovely recipe. sounds delicious!

Olga said...

YUM! What a pretty dish!

I finally made my first ever gnocchi a month ago and this looks like a great next step up!

Maria said...

We've made regular gnocchi but not sweet potato, I can't wait to try it. Nice work!

Nags said...

it requires patience.. hmm.. maybe not now then :D

Raaga said...

I have sweet potatoes at home... I should try this. Haven't made anything interesting for my parents yet.

Arundathi said...

looks perfect!

Poornima Nair said...

thats beautiful...love the colour...never thought of making gnocchi at home...

Mythili said...

How lovely! And sweet potato is just such a delicious thing!

So is it your birthday this time around? (because its definitely not the beginning of the year...or is it?)

Hayley said...

Your gnocchi look perfect, especially served atop that salad. So pretty. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I have been a silent spectator all along but I just realized that I have spent hours just browsing thru your recipes just this morning alone.You rock girl!!!! Beautiful pics too. You make mundane food look so appealing. And you are very innovative too. Who would have thunk sweet potato gnocchi??? :)I am going to try you Mushroom biscuit/bun tonight..with potatoes. I will be back soon.

Sakshi...:)

A_and_N said...

I've been putting making gnocchi off :) and this post inspires me!

Soma said...

WOW. Now this makes me want to give this a try atleast once at home. I loved the salad too.

aquadaze said...

the gnocchi looks absolutely delicious! And BTW, I absolutely adore your blog.

Linda said...

That is one gorgeous shot with the sunshiney egg yolk in the middle of the sweet potato! I've made homemade noodles but never gnocchi. Salad looks fabulous :)

Sandeepa said...

Ahhh that rain sounds divine, I could imagine you sitting by the window absorbing the rain and rolling out gnocchi

Adrianne said...

I think making the gnocchi brought the rain in this instance- after refrigeration stage I went to yoga and just made it back before a major downpour. Very thankful to have such a nice dinner almost ready!

TheIronYou said...

I tried the recipe: delicious! Thank you for posting it. Have you ever tried the one with ricotta cheese instead of the egg?
Anyway, I’m a big fan of sweet potatoes, I recently write an article on their health benefits, check it out: http://www.theironyou.com/2011/04/sweet-potato-hollywoods-stars-favorite.html
Peace
Mike @TheIronYou

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