This may sound odd, but I arrived home from work last night with the intense urge to make something new for dinner. Dinners chez moi generally involve some permutation of roasted or sauteed vegetables with an accompanying grain or protein. Last night, I made gnocchi for the first time. I based my gnocchi preparation in Tasting Table’s recipe and made up the rest as I went along. Gnocchi preparation is not a short process–I began boiling my potatoes at 6pm and did not eat until nearly 9pm–but it’s satisfying, peaceful, and mildly fun (playdoh, anyone?!).
I’m including below my recipe, as well as a list of tips that I picked up along the way. As always, there’s no need to follow my recipe exactly. I used what I had–half a tube of goat cheese and the frozen remnants of a tomato-roasting evening last October. I’m sure the gnocchi could be equally delicious bathed in a spicy olive-oil sauce or swimming in a buttery sage sauce.
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into large cubes
1 large egg
2 teaspoons rosemary
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-2 cups flour (as needed to form a dough)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped thinly
1/2 tube (roughly 1/4 cup) goat cheese (gorgonzola would be lovely, too)
3-4 oven-roasted tomatoes, chopped roughly (or sun-dried)
(Makes roughly 90 gnocchi)
Boil the sweet potato in a pot of well-salted water for 25 minutes, or until extremely tender. Drain, mash in the same pot, and scoop onto a well-floured surface (like a large wooden cutting board). Once cool enough to handle, crack the egg into the middle of the mashed sweet potato and work in with your hands (or a fork, if you never enjoyed playdoh as a kid). Add flour gradually, working in until the mixture becomes a dough and is no longer incredibly sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for a half hour to an hour.
Roll the chilled dough (I found it easiest to use sections at a time, rather than the whole dough at once) on a well-floured surface into long cylinders roughly 1/2 inch wide, using flour as needed to combat stickyness. Cut the cylinders into 1-inch long segments. Roll the segments down the back of a fork to make the ridges, and set aside (in the fridge, preferably).
Heat the oil over medium-low heat in a sauce pan. Sauté the onions in the pan until they begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes. While the onions are cooking, heat a pot of salted water over high heat. Once the water boils, drop in the gnocchi (I only used half) and cook until they rise to the top. Drain the gnocchi and put them back in their pot. Once the onions have begun to caramelize, add the tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the onion mixture and the goat cheese to the pot with the gnocchi, and stir until well-combined. Enjoy!
–Add flour with caution: you can always add more during the rolling-out stage, but you can’t take it out
–The dough is easiest to work with when it’s cold, so roll out one section at a time and leave the rest of the dough in the fridge to chill
–If you don’t want to cook all of the gnocchi at once (like me), place the extras on a baking sheet (leaving space between each gnocchi) and freeze. Once frozen, store in a ziplock bag in the freezer for future use
–If in doubt, aim for smaller rather than larger gnocchi. I found that they puffed up considerably once boiled, and the largest ones were a bit too big.