Sweet Potato Gnocchi: Better than home fries in my book

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As the song and psalm go, there is a time to every purpose under heaven. Today I’m thinking there is a time to every dish and dinner as well, but the time you choose for it is always going to be your own.

Now, before you think I’m off on some New Age esoteric journey, or having a ’60s hippie throwback moment, I’m really talking about knowing your body and yourself and knowing what will make you happy, healthy, and fulfilled regardless of convention.

Case in point: home fries. I’ve never been a big fan of home fries, but recently neither myself nor my husband was feeling well so I decided we needed comfort food for breakfast, preferably of the starchy potato variety. Typically if my hubs were cooking, he’d make eggs and home fries. Because I was the more mobile of the two of us, I decided to whip up a batch of sweet potato gnocchi instead.

STOP THE BUS!  Gnocchi is not breakfast food! Gnocchi is an appetizer! You can’t possibly make and serve gnocchi for breakfast, the earth will spin off its axis and we’ll all be hurtled into space. Doom! Gloom! paniiiic!

Ummm, says who? Just because a food is traditionally served at a certain time of day doesn’t mean it can’t be served and enjoyed at another time of day. Breakfast for dinner is a favorite of many of my friends, so why not a dinner-type dish for breakfast? I will tell you, it made our day to start with these warm, buttery, pillow dumplings; and happy tummies make for better healing, in my book.

I’m excited to show you how to make these gnocchi; they’re one of my all-time favorite foods. And then it will be all up to you to have them whenever you wish – you’ll have my full support.

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For this recipe, you’ll need two medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean and baked. After you’ve baked your sweet potatoes (I microwaved mine for 9 minutes) and they’re cool enough to handle, cut them open and scoop out the flesh. I found a muffin scoop was an excellent tool for this. A large spoon would work well,too.

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Place the cooked potato into a potato ricer and squish it on through. Why the ricer as opposed to a masher? The rice separates and fluffs the potato, giving you a lighter base to work with. If you don’t have a ricer, you can use a masher or a fork, but be sure to try and keep the potato airy.   DSCN1550 - Copy

Allow the potato to cool to lukewarm, then work in 1 large egg. I like to use my fingers to mix, so that I have a good feel for the dough. DSCN1552 - Copy

After the egg, work in 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese. The dough will be quite sticky at this point,but don’t worry as you’ll be adding flour in just a few minutes. DSCN1554 - Copy

Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of flour onto the dough. Toss the dough with the flour until it begins to form a ball. Add more flour as needed, but stop mixing and tossing as soon as the dough comes together in one mass. As you can see, you don’t need to work every bit of flour and dough in together, just most. You’ll use about 3/4 cup of flour at the most.

Cover the dough lightly with plastic wrap and set aside for a few minutes while you set a pot with 2 quarts of salted water on the stovetop to boil, and melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet on a separate burner. Gnocchi cook very quickly, so you’ll need everything ready before you start to roll.

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When the water is nearly boiling, divide the dough into three tennis ball-sized pieces. Divide those pieces into smaller pieces about the size of your index finger and about 1″ long.

Using very little pressure, roll each little piece lightly in flour.

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Using a gnocchi board or the tines of a fork, press the ridges into each little dumpling. The ridges are not essential and you could certainly skip this step; but ridges hold sauce better, so if you can add them, it’s a big bonus. DSCN1564 - Copy

The back of the gnocchi will have lovely little stripes, and the underside will have a soft little hollow that will also hold onto sauce.

Roll all of your gnocchi and set them on the counter or on parchment so they’re ready to cook.

At this point you can freeze the gnocchi on a flat baking sheet until solid, and then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one month. Cooking and sautéing would be just the same as below.

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Place about 1/3 of your gnocchi into the boiling water and stir gently. The gnocchi will sink at first but rise to the surface when they’re nearly done. Once all of the gnocchi are floating, cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.

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Here’s a view of the ideal setup on your stove. Pot of boiling gnocchi, pan of hot butter.

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Using a slotted spoon or strainer, scoop up the cooked gnocchi and transfer right to the hot butter. Don’t be worried if you get some pasta water in the butter, it will help the butter bind to the gnocchi as they cook.

Place the next batch of gnocchi in the water as your first batch sautés.

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Right about now is when I can barely contain myself and need help in refraining from snagging the gnocchi straight to my mouth. Give them time enough on one side to develop a golden, crisp crust before shaking the pan to loosen and flip them to cook briefly on the other side.

Serve the gnocchi hot with your favorite sauce, chunks of feta, mozzarella, or Gorgonzola cheese, or one of my favorites: a quick grate of fresh lemon zest.

I’ve heard rumors that someone once had leftover sweet potato gnocchi that they stored in the fridge for a couple of days. I don’t have any personal experience with that, she says with a full tummy.

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Please make, rate, and review our recipe for Sweet Potato Gnocchi.

Print just the recipe.

Still hungry for more sweet potato? How about biscuits? Buns? How about cakes? (did I fool ya with that last one? I hope so! )

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Keri

    This is officially my favourite blog post ever. I know what I’m making for dinner tonight! These will be sauteed in in butter and garlic, with grated parmesan on top. Hubby is so excited – he LOVES sweet potato but has never had gnocchi. Thank you MJ!!!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      You’ll have to stop by and tell me how he likes them. Once they are sauteed crisp, they are like the best little sweet potato fries EVER! ~ MJ

  2. Erin in PA

    Ooh – I was going to make oven sweet potato fries tonight, but I think I will be trying something new! These look fabulous! Thanks for a great recipe and new technique. I love the pictures and helpful hints. Yum!! :)

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      They really do like pretty yummy, definitely on my list to try for dinner in a few weeks. Jon@KAF

  3. Laura

    These look wonderful and I have been wanting to try to make gnocchi for a long time. I also wanted to say thank you for not having a perfect shiny stove, I love feeling like I am on par with professionals in some capacity :)

    Reply
  4. Karen

    Can you give an idea of the volume of baked sweet potato? Because your medium potato may no be my medium potato!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Our medium sweet potatoes are about 5″ long and 2″ in diameter.~Jaydl@KAF

  5. Savannagal

    I’m going to have to give these a try. I love sweet potatoes and recently purchased your gnocchi board. What I liked best about your post was your stove. It looks like a real stove, in a real home with real use. I’ve watched gazillions of cooking shows and many of them show perfect kitchens, with brand new pots and pans, and nary a speck of dust anywhere – in every episode. Completely unrealistic and rather unbelievable too. Thanks for being a real cook.

    Reply
  6. Colleen Smith

    As the song and psalm go, there is a time to every purpose under heaven. Today I’m thinking there is a time to every dish and dinner as well, but the time you choose for it is always going to be your own.

    Friendly correction, the everything has a time is in Ecclesiastes 3.

    Reply
  7. Anna M

    I made these for dinner, and I have to say it was just shy of a disaster. I tried to double the recipe and used 3 “big-ish” sweet potatoes, but I added way, way more than 2x the flour, and it never really came together, and there is no way I could handle it the way MaryJane does in the photos. Since dinner was on the line, I poured a heck of a lot of flour onto my silicon rolling mat, and rolled snakes of the dough and snipped off thin bits with my bench knife and then boiled/fried as instructed. The taste was fine (with feta and arugula, yum), but they were not pretty and there was no way I could roll them on my gnocchi board. I think that we really need potato weights here for this recipe to work. Or maybe your potatoes were less moist, or you really had your potato spread out while cooling? I will say that I used German 405 flour not US all-purpose, but I’ve made many recipes from my KAF cookbooks with this flour without problems, so I don’t think that is the issue.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      I am so sorry to hear of the trouble Anna. I’m thinking the biggest difference would be the absorption properties of the flour and the larger amount of potato. With recipes like this, doubling isn’t always spot on as just doubling all ingredients.

      I’ll be making these again over the next couple of weeks and will do some testing on weights, I appreciate the suggestion. ~ MJ

    2. Katie H

      Yes, potato weights please. Sweet potatoes vary way too much in size. Or at least how many cups of potato pulp is needed.

    3. The Baker's Hotline

      You’re so right! We used medium potatoes – which are 5″ long and 2″ in diameter. Sadly, we don’t have weights for these – only the size guidelines. Happy Gnocchi – Irene@KAF

    1. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      That is absolutely brilliant Karen! Guess what I’ll be making soon? ~ MJ

  8. kathy k.

    There was a gnocchi story on NPR recently – an Italian lady chef found *purple* sweet potatoes! It looked … a little terrifying, to be honest, but still! Gnocchi! :)

    Reply
  9. Darcy

    Odd question: Any success making these with gluten-free flour? Or will they disintegrate? My Mom has been without gnocchi for decades, and these would be right up her alley!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Darcy, though we haven’t tried a gluten-free version of these gnocchi, I suspect it would work very well. Please do give it a try!~Jaydl@KAF

    2. MaryJane Robbins , post author

      Hi Darcy,
      I’ve actually never made them GF, but from looking at several GF gnocchi recipes online it’s a totally doable thing. I’d do a search and read some tips about GF gnocchi first and then give it a try. ~ MJ

  10. Alison's Wonderland Recipes

    How creative! I love gnocchi, but I’ve never seen a sweet potato variety before. I’ll have to try them! :)

    Reply

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