Sunday, December 13, 2009
Sweet Potato Gnocchi - Method
Back in my pre-vegan days I used to make a sweet potato and ricotta gnocchi. My original recipe tasted great but had far too much fat and calories to be considered healthy. Last night I wanted sweet potato gnocchi but also wanted to make a healthy version of the recipe. My husband and I talked about whether I was going to try to substitute tofu for the ricotta or change the recipe completely. We decided to change completely.
I knew that sweet potatoes alone might not work well in gnocchi do to the softness and moisture content. I imagined I would need to add so much flour that the end result would be touch little orange hockey pucks. In the end I used equal parts sweet potato and white potato and it worked well. The sweet potato gnocchi came out light and soft.
Most recipes for potato gnocchi call for boiling the potatoes and then drying them out. Years ago I tried baking the potatoes and since I worked I started microwaving the potatoes instead and that worked but was much faster. I have been microwaving my potatoes since then. When I make gnocchi I don’t measure I add things by feel. I am going to outline the method not specific amounts of the ingredients. Here is the method.
Microwave your sweet potatoes until soft.
Microwave a similar quantity of white potatoes.
Peel the potatoes (or just cut them in half) and rice them. The majority of the skin will stay in the ricer.
Using a fork mix the potato mixture together so the sweet and white potato is evenly distributed.
Add a little salt and pepper to the potatoes to taste.
Now begin adding flour (a few tablespoons at a time) to the potato mixture and mix thoroughly. You continue to add flour until the potatoes and flour form dough. If you add too much flour you will make tough gnocchi. Only add as much flour as is necessary for the dough to form. At the beginning I add flour a ¼ cup at a time a time and them add in smaller increments, probably 2 tablespoons at a time. I used whole-wheat flour but have also used sprouted whole-wheat flour in the past.
Once the dough has formed you need to get a shallow pan of water heating. I use a 14-inch skillet to heat the water. You want the water to be simmering so the gnocchi don’t fall about.
While the water is heating it is time to form the gnocchi. The easiest way to make gnocchi is to form what I call pillows. You make a snake with the gnocchi and then cut the snake that is approximately ½ thick and then cut into ½ inch pieces. Continue to form the snakes and make pillows and place them on a half sheet pan until all the pillows are formed.
Add gnocchi to the water, allowing room for them to move around. When you first put the gnocchi in the water they will sink to the bottom of the pan. After they begin to float I cook them another minute and then remove them from the water with a wire spider. You want to drain all the water from the gnocchi.
You can place the drained gnocchi in a pan of sauce or a lightly greased pan in a 200-degree oven to hold until you have all the gnocchi cooked.
Serve with the sauce of your choice. I made a simple white sauce with soymilk that I put on the bottom of the plate, topped with gnocchi and a few dried cranberries.
Gnocchi are a very quick side dish when you microwave the potatoes.