White Sweet Potato Gnocchi in a Brown Butter Sage Sauce

I know, I owe you two shredded pork recipes, but in all honesty I spent three days eating nothing but banh mi, which was certainly delicious, but I did overload myself on pork so I put the rest of the meat in the freezer. I will be posting sometime over the next two weeks the promised recipes. In the meantime let’s talk about sweet potatoes. Yams and sweet potatoes rock the nutritional charts and subbing them in for potatoes in almost any recipe will up your vitamin and mineral intake. Luckily they are delicious as well. It turns out there is still a debate raging on as to what the difference is between the sweet potato and the yam. And the answer seems to lie in the point of origin and some language confusion. Basically, a true yam is African, and is related to grasses and lilies.  While sweet potatoes are related to morning glories. The word yam comes via Portuguese from a West African word nyami meaning, “to eat.”(Harold McGee)

I got this recipe from east village kitchen. I was pretty excited to finally be able to make something from her site. She is an amazing baker and I’ll be honest, I am not. I used the white sweet potato sometimes called a Japanese Yam or a Hannah Yam because of all the options out there they are my favorite. They are milder in flavor, creamy and they develop a wonderful caramel toasted flavor when baked that I adore.

White Sweet Potato/Hannah Yam/Japanese Yam Gnocchi

Makes 85-100 gnocchi, no I’m not kidding. They freeze well!

2 large white yams equaling around 2 lbs

12 oz drained fresh ricotta

1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese. I recommend getting a really nice one. You need about 5 ounces for the recipe, garnish and leftovers.

1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 ½ to 3 cups flour

1 cup salted butter I used Kerrygold

8 tablespoon chopped sage

fresh ground pepper

Bake the yams at  350 F for 40-50 minutes, until a fork goes in nice and easy. Let them cool. Remove the skin and put the cooled white sweet potato into a large bowl and mash them until they are as smooth as you can get them. Add the ricotta cheese and blend. Add the parmesan, dark brown sugar, salt, nutmeg and blend. Mix in the flour ½ cup at a time until the soft down forms. You don’t want to over mix it, or the gnocchi will come out rubbery. Once the dough has formed turn put it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. This will make the dough easier to roll and cut.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil again. Cover three baking sheets in parchment paper, one you will use for the uncooked gnocchi the others you will use for the cooked gnocchi.

Dust your work surface with flour. Unwrap the dough and divide into six even parts. Using your hands roll each part into 1 inch thick ropes and cut every 1 ½ inch. Working in batches that are ½ of the baking sheet size, boil the gnocchi for 6 minutes. They will float to the top of the water giving you a good indication when they are done. Take them out of the water and put them in a single layer on your other baking sheet. The gnocchi will feel slightly slimy (terrible word I know, but true!) to the touch when they first come out. This consistency will go away when they cool down to room temperature.

Once all the gnocchi is cooked and cooled, melt the cup of butter on a fairly high heat and cook for 5 minutes, or until the butter begins to brown. Add the chopped sage and turn off heat so you don’t burn the butter. Season the sage butter with fresh ground pepper. Pour 1/3 of the sage butter into a separate pan and heat again over a medium heat and add as much gnocchi as the pan can handle in a single layer. Sauté the gnocchi until they are reheated about 5 minutes. Take the gnocchi out of the pan, leaving the butter behind in the pan.  Working in batches, add fresh sage butter and more gnocchi and repeat until all the gnocchi are cooked.

Place gnocchi on plate, drizzle with the left over sage butter, and shave parmesan over the top. I froze the gnocchi in portions in the butter sauce and used just a little chicken stock to reheat them, and they were delicious.

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