Saturday, December 5, 2009
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
I realized that gnocchi is not something that people make from scratch normally for dinner. It's like me trying to make egg noodle from scratch just for one dinner. But, sweet potatoes were on sale and then I read the recipes and it sounded easy enough: sweet potatoes, flour, salt, and pepper. That didn't sound like a lot.
One pound of sweet potato was all I need. One pound equals a typical medium size sweet potatoes that they sell at the store. Mine was about 500 grams, which is a tiny bit more than 1 pound.
Quickly wash and slice the sweet potatoes. Through all of the sweet potato gnocchi recipes that I read, I learned that you can either boil or roast the root. I decided to boil since I think it's a waste for me to turn on the oven to roast just ONE potato.
To make it cook faster, I sliced the sweet potato in 1/2" thick slices.
While the potato slices are boiling away, I move on to make the sauce. This sauce is just like the sauce I made in Kay's potato gratin recipe.
So I fried 3 pieces of bacon, drained it and set aside. Then I chopped 1/4 of a large red onion, 2 large cloves of garlic, and the bacon.
Set those aside and sliced about 4 pieces of sun-dried tomato halves.
You don't need me to remind you how romantic I think the sun-dried tomatoes are, do you? I should think not.
Just in time for the sweet potato! It had been sweating and boiling for 20 minutes already. Drained them and let them cool down a little.
You can see the holes in the potatoes which were due to me poking them with chopsticks to check on their done-ness. I know, I do everything with chopsticks.
Unless you have super insulated skin, you might want to let the sweet potatoes cool down for about 10 - 15 minutes. I didn't want to wait because my mom has super insulated skin, I figure that I should able to handle it, too. So I peeled off the skin which should come easily.
Note to self: I do not have super insulated skin. Don't attempt this in the future ever again.
If you're a fancy schmancy cook with all of the cool gadgets in your kitchen, it's time to whip out the ricer. I'm what my friend called a "ghetto" cook, I don't have a ricer, garlic press, hand blender, a complete set of measuring spoons, cast iron skillet, dutch oven, double boiler, etc. What am I to do? Sometimes, I invent stuff out of things that I don't have with things I do have. MacGyver is my hero. Seriously.
So, if you're a "ghetto" cook like me, grab your colander and a spatula. Use the spatula to press and mash the cooked potato through the colander. This will gives you a basic work out for your arms. You will thank me with those nicely toned arms.
Done? Now flex those arms. Let me see 'em flexed. Use them power arms to throw in 1 teaspoon of salt and ground black pepper. Mix well.
I've been warned to not use too much flour or the gnocchi will come out doughy and gross. To ensure that will not happened, I measured out exactly 1 cup of flour and pour it in a bowl. Then I measured out another 1/4 cup of flour in another bowl. This 1/4 is all I was allowed to use for rolling the gnocchi.
Slowly work the flour into the mashed sweet potatoes.
Flour a flat surface and your hands thoroughly with the 1/4 cup of flour. Remember not to use it all.
Take 1/4 of the sweet potato dough piece and roll it out into a long piece of about 1.5" wide. Rolling the dough out in this manners reminded me of the clay worm test to test the elasticity of clay. It required a piece of clay to be rolled out into the size of an earth worm...I will stop now to spare you your appetite.
Then use a knife (dipped in flour) to cut the dough into smaller pieces.
Continue to roll and cut with the rest of the sweet potato dough. One thing to avoid is kneading the dough on the floured surface before rolling it out. Bad idea! Why? The dough will incorporate the extra flour on the surface into itself and you will end up with sticky gnocchi pieces and more flour in the mixture than you need. See below:
The "bad example" is when I got knead happy and ended up with super sticky gnocchi (which I sincerely hope won't turn into super doughy gnocchi).
Use a fork dipped in flour, I proceeded to crimp the crap out of the cut gnocchi pieces. Remember to dip the fork in flour each time to get a nicely crimped piece like this:
If not, the fork will stick to the dough and you'll get something ugly like this:
When all is rolled, cut, and crimped, boil them in a pot of salty water. boil the gnocchi in batches so that there is only one layer of gnocchi at the bottom of the pot at a time. The gnocchi will be done once they float to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon.
While the gnocchi are boiling, proceed to make the sauce as follow:
1. Cook onion and garlic in bacon grease with a small chunk of butter.
2. Toss in 1/2 tablespoon of flour and the sun-dried tomatoes. Stir well.
3. Pour in 1 cup of chicken broth or water mix with 1 cube of vegetable bouillon.
4. Pour in 1/3 cup of cream and the chopped bacons and let simmer until it reaches your desire consistency (thick or watery is up to you!)
You can also add in some parsley for color and fun.
Pour sauce over gnocchi and serve.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
1 pound of sweet potatoes
1 1/4 cup of flour (divided)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/4 large onion
2 large cloves of garlic
3 slices of bacon
2 sun-dried tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth (or 1 cup of water and 1 cube of vegetable bouillon)
1/2 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup cream
1 teaspoon dried parsley (optional)
1 teaspoon butter
Wash and slice sweet potatoes into 1/2" thick slices.
Boil potatoes for about 20 minutes or until you can pierce through with a fork easily.
Drain and let cool.
Peel the skin.
Run cooked sweet potatoes through a ricer or press through a colander with a spatula.
Mix in salt and pepper.
Slowly mix in 1 cup of flour to form a dough.
Thoroughly flour a rolling surface and hands with 1/4 cup of flour.
Divide dough into 4 equal pieces.
Roll quartered dough into long cylinders about 1 1/2" in width.
Cut into bite size pieces.
Use a fork dipped in flour to crimp the gnocchi.
Boil gnocchi in batches in a salty pot of water until gnocchi float to the surface.
Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon.
For the sauce:
Finely chop the onions and garlic.
Fry bacon until crispy. Remove from heat and drain on a piece of paper towel. Save the grease.
Slice 2 sun-dried tomatoes.
Cook onions and garlic in the bacon grease with 1 teaspoon of butter until onions are translucent.
Sprinkle in 1/2 tablespoon of flour.
Stir in sun-dried tomatoes
Pour 1 cup of chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Pour in 1/3 cup of cream, bring to a boil, then let simmer until reaching a desired consistency.
Add 1 teaspoon of dried parsley into the sauce and mix well.
Pour sauce over gnocchi to serve.