Plated, and even better than it looks.
Ok, so I’m lying in bed typing up this post and dreaming of the MOST delicious meal that I made yesterday: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage. Doesn’t it sound all glamorously foodie-like? Well, it tastes even better!
A few years ago I went to Italy and I ate some gnocchi in brown butter, while sitting in a café in a village square in the shadow of the Dolomite mountains, and this dish reminds me of that. Brown butter is the bomb, baby! (Also alliteration. I’m a big fan of alliteration.) Gnocchi is one of those things that are actually extremely easy to make but look laborious.
Anyone remember that rice krispies commercial from years ago, where a mother is making rice krispie squares in a kitchen but it’s so easy that she’s actually relaxing, and then just before she heads out of the kitchen, she splashes some flour on her face and pretends to be exhausted from her labours? No? Just me, then. Well ANYWAY, this recipe is like that. Impressive, tasty, but surprisingly easy. It’s definitely going to be a repeat meal on my menu.
Pasta is not my forte, because I can never quite get the pillowy softness to the dough that I’m looking for, but this recipe come close. And one day, I WILL replicate the best gnocchi I ever ate: sitting in a café on the Isle of Murano in Venice, with more gnocchi than I could ever hope to eat in several meals, made by the mother of the owner of the establishment. That was one of the two best pasta meals I’ve ever had. The other was a lasagna dish made with from-scratch noodles, eaten in a very romantic trattoria in Venice proper. My date didn’t believe me when I said it was orgasmic. His loss. But I digress!
Try this (nearly orgasmic) gnocchi yourself, and impress your date!
How to form the pasta. Easy, right?
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage
- 2 sweet potatoes, medium sized
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 c. flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- pinch nutmeg
- dash of water
- 1/2 c. butter
- 1/3 c. chopped fresh sage
- sprinkle of parmesan
Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and pop into the microwave on a potato setting until done. Or bake in an oven. Whatever works for you. Then slice open and scoop the flesh into a mixer, mushing it up. Mix in an egg. Add in salt and nutmeg, and work in almost all of the flour, until you have a dough. If it’s too dry, add the dash of water until it’s pliable. On a floured surface, quarter the dough, and roll each quarter out into dough snakes, about an inch thick. Then cut off inch pieces, and press each piece with a fork. If you’re freezing the gnocchi, toss with extra flour and pop into a freezer bag. If you’re making the dish right away, cook in boiling water (I did it in two batches) until the gnocchi float to the top. Most recipes say 3-5 minutes, but I tend to cook my fresh pasta longer.
Looking rustic and ready to be boiled.
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter (again, I did it in two batches) in a frying pan on high, until the butter melt, bubbles a bit, and turns brown. Don’t let it burn, though. It will be all brown-y and there will be brown flecks. Delicious brown flecks. With a slotted spoon, lift the gnocchi from the boiling water and place in the frying pan. The water from the gnocchi will cause the fat to splatter, so beware of that. Then toss the gnocchi with the butter until coated. There should be enough water clinging to the pasta that it becomes a sort of sauce when tossed together (the floury water combines with the fat to make this indescribably delicious butter sauce). Toss in the chopped fresh sage and toss again. Serve with a sprig of fresh sage and wait for the compliments to roll in.
Pro Tip: a swirl of olive oil in the salted water will help prevent the pasta from boiling over. I don’t know why, but there’s some scientific principle behind it. Trust me. Or google it. Whichever.
This is not the dish to make if you’re worried about your fat intake (I mean, it IS a butter sauce), but hey, moderation is key, and I’m all for low-fat if I can have this high-fat dish occasionally. Oh my gosh, I want more now! The DH had taken the leftovers last night and packed them for lunch. I wonder if there are any left for a midnight snack? Huh. Off to the kitchen, go I!
Total Last-Minute Midnight Edit: I forgot that I had said that I would talk about friendships in the non-profit sector in this post. I tend to blather on about my food associations and the recipe origins when I write up a recipe but I forgot to write about the recipe origins of this one. I got it from a friend whom I met when I was working in the non-profit sector. I no longer work in that sector, but I’ve found that the friends one makes there, especially in the smaller non-profits, tend to be pretty solid. Friendships formed in the trenches, as it were. Anyway, shout out to Nori! *hugs over the miles*
Next Post: Pioneer-Style Slow Cooker Apple Butter. And what I learned about my cooking style.