Pasta Week continues! Yesterday I showed you how I made whole wheat fettuccine with my KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Today I'm going to show you how to make sweet potato gnocchi. And for gnocchi, you don't need any special equipment--only a fork and a knife! This is a pasta I've made before and while it does take a little time, it's pretty doable.
Most sweet potato gnocchi calls for potatoes that are steamed, boiled, or microwaved. I bake my sweet potatoes instead. Why? Because baking the potato brings out its natural sweetness, so you can cut down on the sugar.
Your main goal with gnocchi should be to add as little flour as possible. To help you achieve this, you need to let both the ricotta cheese and the mashed sweet potato sit in a fine mesh sieve for a bit--about two hours is good. This will allow some of the moisture to drain off.
Combine the sweet potato and ricotta in a medium bowl.
Add parmesan cheese, brown sugar (just a pinch!), and salt. Stir that all together.
Now you stir in the flour. Add it 2 tablespoons at a time. Remember, the less flour you add, the better! You want a dough that can be worked with, but if it's a little bit sticky, that's okay.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. I roll it around in the flour a little bit so it's easier to work with--like I said, it's going to be a little sticky.
Now divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll them in a little more flour if they're sticky.
Shape each piece into a rope by rolling and stretching with the palms of your hands. When you finish, it should be about 20-inches long. Again, you can roll the dough in flour so it doesn't stick. I tend not to worry about the flour on the outside of the dough; my main goal is to not incorporate too much into the dough.
Now use a knife to cut your dough into 1-inch pieces. You can be done at this point, or you can add an extra step…
…by rolling each gnocchi on a fork. Put a little flour on your thumb and press gently into the center of the gnocchi, rocking it back and forth. Shaping the gnocchi like this is a pain, but it helps sauce stick.
Set aside your finished gnocchi on a floured surface.
Boil the gnocchi in a pot of salted water a handful or two at a time. When the gnocchi is finished, it will float to the top of the pot--this takes 3-5 minutes. Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon. Drain well.
When all the gnocchi is done boiling, saute it in a little butter or oil. I like adding fresh herbs too--rosemary or sage are both fantastic with sweet potato gnocchi. Cook until the gnocchi is nicely browned.
Want a printable version of this recipe? No problem! Here it is:
- 1 ½ c. mashed roasted sweet potato drained in fine mesh sieve for about 2 hours
- 6 oz. ricotta cheese drained in fine mesh sieve for about 2 hours
- ½ c. shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. salt
- brown sugar
- about 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour + more for rolling and shaping gnocchi
- Combine sweet potato and ricotta in a large bowl. Add parmesan cheese, salt, and brown sugar. Stir until well-combined. Fold in flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until a dough is formed. Try to incorporate as little flour as possible--the dough should be slightly sticky, but not so sticky that you can't work with it.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Divide into 3 pieces. Using your palms, roll and stretch each piece into a 20-inch rope. Add more flour as needed.
- Use a knife to cut each rope into 20 one-inch pieces. If you like, you can shape gnocchi using the tines of a fork; place gnocchi on fork and gently press the center with your thumb, rocking back and forth.
- Boil finished gnocchi one or two handfuls at a time in a large pot of salted water for 3-5 minutes, until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet to cool.
- Saute gnocchi in a tablespoon of butter or olive oil over medium-high heat until heated through and starting to brown, about 6 minutes. You can also add minced fresh herbs (like sage or rosemary), garlic or caramelized onions.
Heather Overholtzer says
Any idea how a squash would sub in for the sweet potato (butternut is what I had in mind)? Assuming I can manage to replicate the right moisture level, that is...
I haven't tried it myself; I'd look for a recipe that was developed for either butternut squash or pumpkin and use that instead just to be sure. 🙂
Could this be altered to gluten free? I'm new with GF cooking and am not sure what alternations would need to be made.
I'm not gluten-free, so I'm really not sure. I think your best bet would be to find a recipe that's already gluten-free instead of adapting a recipe made with wheat flour. 🙂
You can actually use almond flour, rice flour, or coconut flour as viable alternatives in this recipe. The only essential components are cooking the sweet potatoes and adding flour until the right consistency. You can skip the ricotta and all other additives (it adds flavor, but it also means more flour).
i've successfully just made this now with potato and tapioca flour. i have no idea what wheat flour gnocchi tastes like anymore as i've been a coeliac for so long, but it tasted delicious to me 😀
Made these last night and enjoying them today for lunch! SO delicious! Only problem is mine were extremely sticky. I even let the ricotta and potatoes sit out like instructed for 2 hours. Ended up having to add a lot of flour. :/ Will have to try again! Regardless, absolutely yummy! 🙂
It's such a crapshoot with the amount of flour you add--sometimes I add more, sometimes I add less. I've heard it has to do with the humidity in the air, although I think sometimes the amount of moisture in the potato and cheese can vary a little too!
Oh and as a last-ditch pasta meal before I start that live fit program, I made these last night!! Except...I used goat cheese instead of ricotta (DELICIOUS), didn't add brown sugar, used less parmesan (maybe half or less) and tried oat flour instead of wheat flour. There was one really strange batch that literally disappeared when I tried boiling the gnocchi (and turned the water into soup...which was actually kind of tasty) but when I added more oat flour (I'd only used a few tablespoons the first time), things worked much better. Also I added an egg to one batch which also helped them stick together.
I also tried making a traditional white potato gnocchi recipe at the same time and loved this one so much more!! But how could I not with all the cheese? YUM. Your great instructions in how to make gnocchi did not lead me astray 🙂 Ugh. Craving more of this.
People always ask me how to make these gluten-free, so I guess now I can tell them not to use oat flour? LOL! Or at least, use a lot of extra oat flour.
Beth Hynes says
Do you know if these freeze well? I'd love to make a big batch, freeze them, and then have them on hand.
Kiersten Frase says
Yes, they do! You can either freeze them before or after boiling, then boil them again to reheat them. It's best if you lay them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, freeze them, then once they're frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag - that way, they won't stick together.
Ericka Gossett says
I just made these (gluten and dairy free) with one and a quarter cup of regular GF flour mix and no cheeses. They were great! Instead of rolling the dough, I pinched it into shape and the texture was fine, no stickiness. Thanks for a new recipe!
Kiersten Frase says
Thanks for sharing - I'm glad it worked out!
I'm making these today to go in a pumpkin & sausage soup. I'm wondering if it would work to sauté the gnocchi first, then let them boil in the soup. What do you think? I've seen tons of recipes where the traditional boiling step is skipped altogether, but most of those involve packed gnocchi.