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Friday, October 23, 2009

sweet potato gnocchi with apple cider sauce-- super good, and super easy!

late last summer rob and i were having dinner at a fantastic little joint in portland called justa pasta. the leaves were beginning to change, the days were getting shorter, and i was excitedly describing a new recipe i'd found using fall ingredients that were soon to be available. i'd been trolling blogs for recipes and found a sweet potato gnocchi with apple cider sauce that sounded divinely autumnal-- i couldn't wait to try it out. for some reason, however, i never did. so when the leaves started changing this year, i added apple cider and sweet potatoes to my shopping list and brought them home the first day they were both available at the farmers market.

in truth, i don't know if i bought sweet potatoes or yams. the sign said sweet potatoes, but these look kinda yammy to me. but whatevs-- they totally did the job. also, after a year had passed i had no idea where i'd seen the sweet potato gnocchi with apple cider sauce, so i made a gnocchi from and served it with reduced apple cider and apples.

sweet potato gnocchi with apple cider sauce
from sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter and sage, bon appetit

  • 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
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 tart apple, sliced

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. 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. 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. Transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet. Cool completely. Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
(this is where i strayed from the recipe, though in retrospect my changes were completely unnecessary.)

pan fry the cooked gnocchi in small batches in butter until golden.

in a small separate pan, add 2 cups apple cider and one tart apple, sliced. simmer over medium heat until the cider reduces by about half and the apples break down. stir in a small pat of butter.

serve gnocchi hot with a drizzle of the sauce.

rob commented that it tasted like candy, and it really was quite a sweet treat. this could easily be repurposed into some kind of semi-savory dessert with vanilla bean ice cream or something. i had a few leftovers the next day for lunch with just a little melted butter and it was still amazing. next time i will probably save the cider for drinking since it's so spectacularly tasty.

a few tips:

the recipe says to drain the ricotta for 2 hours, but i didn't build two hours into my prep time so i put it in cheesecloth and squeezed as much moisture out as i could.

the sweet potato flesh is very fibrous which i suspected would not contribute to a smooth dough. i processed the sweet potato and ricotta together in the food processor to get an even consistency.

after mixing the sweet potato and ricotta, remove to a bowl to add the flour. don't add the flour to the food processor mixture or the dough will become overworked and hard. i found that i used only about half of the flour the recipe calls for-- just enough to get it to the point that it's no longer sticky.

this is a really forgiving gnocchi dough, i discovered. it was easy to get the consistency i wanted and the dumplings held up perfectly when cooked. i fried them in a non-stick pan because i've become so accustomed to my other potato gnocchi beginning to break down in the boil and then sticking maddeningly to the saute pan, but i don't think these even needed that safeguard.

the recipe made enough that i was able to freeze another meal's worth. freeze in a single layer (not touching) before boiling, and then transfer to a freezer bag or container. when you're ready, they can go straight from the freezer into a pot of boiling water and will be ready in about 5 minutes.


  1. it is! tastes like a treat, but there's actual nutrition! my favorite combo...