I often find myself twiddling my thumbs on Sunday afternoons, thinking of anything to procrastinate and put off the household chores I know I need to do before the inevitable end to a relaxing and sleep filled weekend. This is when I come up with and tackle most of my challenging and time consuming recipes. Lucky for me it also results a nice Sunday evening meal for us to enjoy, and usually leftovers for Monday lunch too, but it mostly makes me feel like even though, I haven’t gotten dressed at 4pm and the house is still a mess, I am accomplishing something. This Sunday I got re-acquainted with my best friend the sweet potato and together we made sweet sweet pasta, gnocchi to be exact. This is messy (like flour everywhere.. at least for me), hands on, and a bit labor intensive but the end result is well worth it.
What you need:
3 pounds of sweet potatoes
3 cups flour – give or take a half cup plus more for rolling out
large surface to work on
Cut the potatoes in half and lightly oil the cut surface, place face down on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 375 for about half an hour. Flip them right side up and bake another 15 minutes or so, until they are cooked through and mushy. Let them cool, scoop out the contents in to a bowl and mash them.
Next, dough time. Pile about 2 cups of the flour into a flat surface or pastry sheet, make a well and drop in the egg. This is the old school method of making dough and I don’t have a stand mixer (hint hint..) so this is how I roll.. get it? Roll.. dough.. Right? Moving on. Mix the flour and egg, adding a little bit of water just to make it come together but not wet. Once the egg is incorporated, add the mashed taters and kneed until it is almost pizza dough consistency. You can add more flour and water as needed. You just don’t want sticky dough. I then cut my dough ball into small chunks to make it easier to roll out.
Roll dough between your hands, like you did in elementary school when you were making play dough snakes. Make a long roll, about an inch in diameter. Cut the dough into about 3/4 – 1 inch chunks. Repeat for all the dough (you can freeze what you don’t cook). I am in no way a perfectionist in the kitchen and am actually rather impatient so all my gnocchi pieces are different sizes and some get smushed but I like it and have no intention of forming each one by hand to look just like the rest. Nope.
Drop the gnocchi into a pot of salted boiling water. I do in batches so not to overcrowd. When the pieces float to the top of the water, they are done! Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and add the others. Voila!
I served mine with mushroom and onion in brown butter sage sauce.. perhaps a recipe for another day.