I discovered gnocchi very late in my life. And even though Tom Colicchio on Top Chef is always complaining about how the contestants make such heavy gnocchi dishes, I’m a fan of these little potato pillows.
Gnocchi are quite simple – they consist of potato, flour, egg yolk and salt. The last time I made then, I decided to attempt using sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes. It worked out well.
What you do is you first bake the potatoes, and then you mix all the ingredients together to form a dough.
Then you roll the dough, cut it into small pieces, and then you (optionally) roll the pieces on a gnocchi board.
My mom brought me home this little wooden board from a recent trip to Sicily. She is famous for this move – acquiring cooking gadgets from around the world. My first year in San Diego, she made me get her a cast iron tortilla press for Christmas. Cast iron! Imagine me dragging that thing across the Atlantic so it could be opened under the Christmas tree in Denmark. That’s dedication. I guess she thought I deserved a gnocchi board in return.
It took a few tries until I figured out how to roll the gnocchi to get the stripes to go across. Yeah, I know.
When your gnocchi are shaped, cook them in boiling, salted water until they rise to the surface.
And then you serve them with whatever takes your fancy. I made a spicy ginger and garlic butter to toss the gnocchi in and garnished with bacon and parsley.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Bacon and Spicy Ginger Butter
- 200 gram sweet potato
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 dl flour
- 30 gram bacon
- 1 cm ginger root
- 1 cloce garlic
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 pinch cayenne
Make the gnocchi:
Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork. Bake them in the oven for around 1 hour at 150 degrees celsius.
When the potatoes are cooked through, remove the skin while they are still hot, and mash the potatoes with a fork on the kitchen counter. If you're using regular potatoes, rice them instead.
Form a dough of potato, egg yolk, salt and flour. Add the flour little by little, you want to only use enough to make the dough come together and not stick too much. Avoid overworking the dough, because that can make the gnocchi tough.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and add salt.
Split the dough in smaller portions. Roll a dough portion into a thin log, about 1 cm thick. Cut the log into small cylindrical pieces, about 1.5-2 cm long. Repeat the process with the remaining dough portions.
If you want, you can now roll your gnocchi on a gnocchi board to give them the striped pattern.
Put the gnocchi in the boiling water. Depending on the size of your pot, you might want to cook them in batches. As soon as a gnocchi rises to the top of the pot, transfer it to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain the gnocchi as soon as they all are cooked.
Prepare the bacon and the spicy ginger butter:
Cut the bacon into bite sized pieces and fry them in a large sauce pan.
While the bacon is frying, finely chop/mince/grate garlic and ginger and chop the parsley.
When the bacon is crispy, remove it from the pan and let in drain on a paper towel. Remove all but a tbsp of bacon fat from the pan (but save if for some other use!).
Melt the butter in the sauce pan with the bacon fat. Add ginger and garlic and let it cook until it becomes golden. Add the cayenne.
Put the gnocchi in the pan and stir gently to coat each gnocchi in the butter sauce.
Combine and garnish:
When they gnocchi are warm, fold in the chopped parsley. Distribute the gnocchi on two plates or in bowls and garnish with the fried bacon.