After making the gnocchi recipe multiple times at Taste Buds, I’ve been itching to make my version at home. Cooking with kids is incredibly satisfying, but it can be pretty frustrating, as well. Homemade Gnocchi requires a gentle touch and a whole lotta patience; two things most kids don’t have. Letting the kids take control of the recipe didn’t come naturally, at first. I was constantly fighting the urge to knead the dough for them, or scoop the cupcake batter myself to prevent the inevitable mess. But seeing their faces light up when they taste their creations, it becomes worth it. Kids don’t care if their gnocchi is tough or their cupcakes are dense. They made it with their own two hands and are proud of what they have accomplished.
But regardless of how fulfilling it is to teach, I still end up with that “if I don’t make this myself and make it right soon, I might explode” feeling. So to detox from the rock hard gnocchi balls made by 4 year olds, I decided to make some at home. Holy cow are these amazing. They are like little clouds of heaven. In restaurants, gnocchi is often served with a thick, heavy cream sauce; which makes it delectable, but also rich and filling. This browned butter sauce keeps the gnocchi light, with just a touch of fresh nutty flavor. A must try! (although a cream sauce isn’t such a bad idea, either…)
The key to perfect gnocchi is minimal flour. The less flour you use, the more pillow-y they will be. Once the gnocchi’s have their general shape, the amount of flour on the outside of each piece is not as important. Don’t be afraid to add more to the outside to prevent the pieces from sticking to the table, board/fork and each other. This flour will come off when the gnocchi’s are boiled.
- For the Gnocchi
- 1 lb sweet potato (about 2 large)
- ½ cup ricotta
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup flour, divided (plus more as needed)
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 1 Shallot, finely chipped
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 T fresh sage
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wrap each sweet potato lightly in plastic wrap, and microwave individually for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of your potato. Check after about 7 minutes, and continue microwaving if necessary. (plastic wrap is optional)
- Remove the plastic wrap and cut the potato in half immediately to allow the steam to escape. Let the potato cool completely before continuing.
- Meanwhile, mix together the ricotta, olive oil and salt in a separate bowl.
- Scoop the cooked sweet potato from the skin, excluding any hard or over cooked parts. Pass through a potato ricer, food mill or sifter.
- Create a well in the center of your gnocchi for the ricotta mixture. Lightly sift about ¼ cup of flour on top.
- Using a bench scraper, gently fold and cut the mixture until almost incorporated. Add about ¼ cup more flour and fold until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Use your hands to press the dough into a ball.
- Scrape off any remaining dough from your counter or work surface and lightly dust with sifted flour.
- Cut the dough into 5 equal parts.
- Roll the dough into a thick snake and lightly dust with flour.
- Using your bench scraper or knife, cut the dough into 2 inch pieces.
- Roll each piece lightly in flour, and then place on your fork or gnocchi board. Gently press down in the center with you thumb and pull down in one sweeping motion.
- Bring about 5 cups of water to a gentle boil. Drop 2 - 3 dumplings in the water at a time. When the dumplings float, wait an additional 30 seconds and then remove with a slotted spoon.
- Place on a plate or tray lightly covered in olive oil.
- Sweat the shallots in the oil over medium heat, about 30 seconds
- Add the butter and stir constantly until completely melted. As the butter begins to foam, pay close attention to the color. When the butter is lightly golden brown, turn off the heat and remove the pan. Add the lemon juice and sage immediately. The lemon juice will slow down the browning process.
- Gently add the gnocchi to the pan and toss until lightly glazed in sauce. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve!
Watch my first “how to” video for more step by step instructions for rolling and shaping gnocchi:
Apologies for the not so fabulous step-by-step photos. I didn’t want to just post the recipe without showing the process, but I only have one tiny corner in my apartment where I get adequate lighting (and my “prep table” aka coffee table is not one of them…)