Warning #1: this is not a thirty minute dish.
Warning #2: you will regret not spending the time to try it.
When I have dear friends over and a little time on my hands, I love to make this dish for them. In Italy, cooking is a medium for conveying love and affection, and hand-crafted gnocchi are certainly a labor of love.
Thankfully, the sauce is incredibly quick and easy, balancing out the demanding task of making the gnocchi dough.
Prep time: 60-90 minutes (depending on dough making proficiency)
Adapted from Things we ate for dinner
- 2 large sweet potatoes (not yams)
- 2-3 cups all-purpose flour (I have made these with whole wheat flour before, and it is certainly doable, but creates a very different type of gnocchi that really require a different sauce. All-purpose flour creates fantastically light, pillow-fluffy gnocchi)
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sage leaves
- 1 egg
- ground nutmeg
- olive oil
NOTE: many sweet potato gnocchi call for ricotta, but I make these without so that if you have any guests with milk tolerance issues, you can serve them gnocchi with olive oil instead of the butter sauce.
- Pierce each potato several times with a knife and microwave for five minutes. (In the interests of time, I microwave the potatoes instead of boiling them. If you prefer, you can bring a pot of water to a boil and boil the potatoes for ~40-60 minutes until soft when poked with a fork.)
- Turn the potatoes over (i.e. other side touching the plate), and microwave for another five minutes.
- You should now find the potatoes soft to the touch and easily piercable with a fork. If this is not the case, microwave them for another two to five minutes.
- Slice each potato in half lengthwise and allow the potatoes to cool.
- Roughly chop the sage leaves.
- Scoop out the potato flesh and place it in a large mixing bowl.
- Set a large pot of water on the stove over high heat.
- Mash the potatoes until smooth.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and nutmeg and 1 egg to the potatoes and mix thoroughly.
- Add flour, one 1/2 cup at time until the dough is no longer sticky to the touch.
- Dust flour onto a smooth kitchen surface or cutting board.
- Break off a roughly 1 1/2 – 2 inch diameter ball of dough and roll into a long snake on the floured surface. The snake should only be about 1/2-3/4 on and inch in diameter.
- Repeat with 2 more balls of dough.
- Put the two sticks of butter in a large heavy botttomed saucepan and place over medium heat. Swirl pan occasionally.
- Using the blunter edge of a butter knife make quick cuts at 3/4 inch intervals in your dough snakes.
- Add the gnocchetti to the boiling water with a dash of salt and olive oil.
- When gnocchi float to the top of the water, remove them with a slotted spoon.
- Continue with remainder of dough, keeping an eye on the butter.
- When butter sends off a toasted aroma and has turned a brown color, remove from heat and add the sage. The mixture will bubble.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to the brown butter.
- As gnocchi finish cooking, add them to the brown butter and mix to coat.
- Once the final batch of gnocchi have finished cooking, give everything a final mix and serve immediately.