Though my Italian ancestors are choking on Prosecco at the thought, let me tell you that this combo of pillowy pasta and sweet roots is downright amazing. I was wary of messing with a traditional gnocchi recipe, but I wanted to finish the sweet potato recipe roundup with a bang. Thankfully the experiment turned out delicious, and even pretty nutritious.
In case you missed the previous posts, sweet potato is rich in Vitamin A carotenoids (note the rich orange flesh), Vitamin C, and manganese. Along with these benefits, the roots also have a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes (with which you traditionally make gnocchi). Russet potatoes taste great, but why not experiment with these nutrient-dense, toothsome beauties?
Despite cooking with this blasphemous ingredient, I researched and tried to keep the dish as accurate as possible. I found out this crucial fact: gnocchi needs to be pillowy. Soft. Light. The opposite of its signature ingredient, potato. So to successfully transform dense roots into great pasta, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
First, use the least amount of flour as possible. The flour’s gluten holds the pasta together, but too much will make your pasta dense and chewy. Another way to avoid overdeveloping the gluten is to minimally mix the ingredients together. Kneading and mixing for too long won’t lead you down the golden road to light dough.
Another trick to this dish is using a piping bag. Traditionally gnocchi is rolled into long ropes of dough, which you then slice into little dumplings. The sticky, cooked sweet potato prevents you from creating awesome lines of pasta, but no worries! An easy cheat is to put the dough in a Ziplock bag with one corner snipped off. This impromptu “piping bag” will create equally good nuggets of gnocchi.
This particular variation of gnocchi is a nice balance of flavors, too. The sage and garlic spice up the earthy roots, and the honeyed, baked potato keeps the dish from being too savory. (I love meddling with savory dishes by adding a touch of sweetness, and this dish is a great example.) Pair it with some fresh, crisp greens, and please invite me over for dinner.