Full disclosure: I’ve only made pasta once before, and I assumed that gnocchi would be simpler/quicker to make since they are smaller–WRONG. It somehow ended up taking two hours to finish everything. The first challenge was my chosen main ingredient: sweet potatoes. I had two extra baked ones (we’ve been eating a lot of sweet potatoes lately) and didn’t want to waste them, so of course I come up with the most elaborate idea possible…
Here goes– sweet potato gnocchi.
It’s deceptively easy at first; all you need to do is smash/puree the cooked sweet potatoes, then add herbs, salt, olive oil, eggs, and flour until your dough forms. You’ll start mixing and folding, and nothing happens…until it suddenly comes together
Keep adding flour until the dough ball stops sticking to everything–oh by the way, use your hands to knead the dough–it saves a lot of time.
Once it isn’t sticky anymore, and starts to recoil when stretched, start rolling it until it’s about 1/2 inch thick, and cut it into squares–if you have one, use a pizza cutter.
Shape them however you want, then boil them in well salted water until they float.
Meanwhile, you can also have the confit going while you make the gnocchi– literally add the tomatoes, a little garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and butter, and bake it at about 350 degrees for an hour. Once it’s done, you’ll see this:
I tried something completely new, and added some cardamom to the tomatoes this time to give it a unique flavor– the combination of slow cooking, and copious butter keep it from overpowering everything else. It’s more of a flavor enhancer here, since you will only get a hint of it–but it works. Sure, it may not be “Italian” anymore, but I’m sure you won’t mind.
Then, once the gnocchi are dry, sautee them in the confit tomatoes, add some feta, and herbs, and you’re done. It was a long journey, but once you get the dough, it’s all downhill.
2-3 Sweet Potatoes, baked
2-3 Cups of Flour
2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes, halved
2 Cloves of Garlic, smashed
1/4 Cup Feta Cheese
3 Tbs Butter
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Tbs Capers
2 Tbs Oregano
2 Tbs Thyme
1 Tbs Basil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1. Bake sweet potatoes until soft, then allow to cool. Peel them, chop roughly, and add to a food processor. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, and thyme, and puree.
2. Combine tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, butter, cardamom, salt, and pepper in a heat-safe container, and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for at least one hour.
3. Transfer to a large bowl, then add two eggs, olive oil, and 1 cup of flour. Stir to combine, then gradually add 1/2 cup of flour at a time, and fold the mixture until combined. Continue adding flour until a dough forms, and it no longer sticks to the bowl.
4. Sprinkle flour onto your counter, then transfer the dough to the counter to finish kneading. Look for the dough to become “elastic” when stretched. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough to roughly 1/4 an inch, then cut into your desired shape.
5. Shape the gnocchi, then add to heavily-salted, boiling water, and cook until they float. Remove from the water, and pat try with paper towel. Set aside.
6. Sautée the gnocchi in a heavy pan on medium heat, then add confit, green onions, parsley, and feta.
7. Plate and serve.
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