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Sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter & chestnuts

The only things standing between my masters degree and me are….a twenty page paper, a day with Jacques Pepin, a field trip to Vermont with my cheese class, a case study, another ten page paper, another twenty page paper, a ten page paper, a presentation, readings, a journal, a five page paper, and two cakes. This sort of to-do list overwhelms me. It makes me feel like a five year old that just got a happy meal toy taken away from her. It makes me want to come back to life as a puppy so everyone can hold me or pet me or something. In short, I need to be comforted.

And what’s the best way to be comforted? For me, it’s with sweet potato gnocchi. Gnocchi, my favorite food..made with sweet potato, my favorite…..vegetable? These gnocchi are easy to make and they are delicate but rich and sweet. After they’re cooked, they’re sauteed with a bit of brown butter, aka the nectar of the Universe, which makes them develop a paper thin crust. The crust shatters delicately when you bite into them, and then they just melt in your mouth. Dreamy.

See you in eleven days….hopefully sooner. In the meantime, eat & make these.

Sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter & chestnuts

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Notes: Yes, this is time consuming. Totally. Think of it as a weekend project or good form of procrastination, and like always, entirely worth it. Good things come to those who wait is a mantra I like to live by…sometimes.

After the gnocchi are shaped and rolled, make sure not to let them touch each other, or you’ll end up with a homogeneous mass of gnocchi dough. Which is okay, I guess, if you want to eat one giant gnocchi…but that would be a little weird.

2 1-pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), rinsed, patted dry, pierced all over with fork
1 12-ounce container fresh ricotta cheese, drained in sieve 2 hours
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 3/4 cups (about) all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 (8 ounce) can of chestnuts, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons chopped fresh sage plus whole leaves for garnish (or 3 tablespoons dried sage)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Begin by cooking your sweet potatoes. This can either be done by wrapped them in foil, and baking them in a 400 degree oven until baked through, about 90 minutes. They’re done when a sharp knife inserted into them pierces right through with no resistance.
Or, do it in the microwave: Place sweet potatoes on plate; microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes per side. Cut in half and cool.
Scrape sweet potato flesh into medium bowl and mash; transfer 3 cups to large bowl. (This can be done by hand, too. Get into it!) Add ricotta cheese; blend well. Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and nutmeg; mash to blend. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.
Turn dough out onto floured surface; divide into 6 equal pieces. Rolling between palms and floured work surface, form each piece into 20-inch-long rope (about 1 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. Cut each rope into 20 pieces. Roll each piece over tines of fork to indent. Transfer to baking sheet.
Bring large pot of water to boil; add 2 tablespoons salt and return to boil. Working in batches, boil gnocchi until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they float to the top of the water. As they finish cooking, transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet and let them cool a little.

Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until butter solids are brown and have toasty aroma, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes.
Add chopped sage (mixture will bubble up) and chestnuts. Turn off heat. Season sage butter generously with salt and pepper.
Transfer half of sage butter to large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add half of gnocchi. Sauté until gnocchi are heated through, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with remaining sage butter and gnocchi.
Divide gnocchi and sauce among shallow bowls. Garnish with sage leaves.
  1. Dominique

    May 7th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    This looks amazing! I loooove gnocchi and have never had a sweet potato version.

  2. thegrizzlykitchen

    May 7th, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Dom!! They’re soo good. Make it & let me know how they turn out!

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