In Which We Make Sweet, Sweet…Potato Gnocchi

I can’t quite sort out my feelings about this dish, which in many ways suffers the fate of many of the dishes we’ve tried in our few short months as first-time apartment renters – it just needs a little extra punch. Despite that, however, I think I like it. The flavor is very subtle, but it grows on you. A little sweetness, a little something. I don’t know.
The Boy and I made these gnocchi together, simultaneously making sauce and pasta.
The “sauce” is basically red onions, lemon juice, thyme, and a little olive oil.
Sauteeing the sauce.

The dough is simple as well – sweet potato, flour, chickpea flour, and a touch of salt.

Which reminds me: sweet potato. Can someone please qualify what exactly a sweet potato is? I was under the impression that the orange things are yams, and the white ones are sweet potatoes. I was, in fact, very proud of this impression. However, the Design Sponge recipe for this gnocchi shows lovely orange gnocchi – does that mean that by sweet potato they meant yam? Is a yam a sweet potato? Are all yams sweet potatoes? If yams are sweet potatoes, and a sweet potato is a potato, does that mean:

A) All sweet potatoes are yams.
B) All yams are potatoes.
C) I like all root vegetables involving the word potato.

Seriously, people. Help a girl out.

Anyway, the dough:

The Dough.

Which you then make into adorable little pillows that make you feel great about your gnocchi-making abilities.

Pillows for tiny people.

At the end, you cook the pasta pillows and toss with the sauce. We added a bunch of Parmesan at the end, too, and it all ended up being quite pretty. Homemade pasta, people. You can do it too!

Gnocchi in a bowl.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sautéed Onions and Thyme
Adapted from Design Sponge
So, the Parmesan was really the saving grace of this dish – it added the pop of flavor that it needed. We started off thinking it was a bit bland, as noted (and the Boy may have held that opinion to the end), but the more I ate, the more I liked it. I do think that perhaps using yams, or orange sweet potatoes, and whole wheat flour might kick up the flavor a little more, and I might try upping the lemon a little next time in the sauce.

Yield: 3-4 Servings

For the Gnocchi:
1 pound of sweet potato (approximately one large sweet potato)
1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (or all purpose, whichever you prefer)
1/4 cup gluten-free or chickpea flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake the sweet potato for 30–45 minutes or until well cooked and soft all the way through. Peel and discard the sweet potato skin (or sprinkle it with a pinch of salt and much on it for a snack!). You can do this as much as a day ahead of time. Let the potato cool completely.
Place the sweet potato in a medium bowl and crush it with a fork until well mashed. Add the flours and salt. Knead the dough well, adding flour as necessary to allow for easy handling. Avoid adding more flour than necessary to keep the gnocchi from getting tough.
When you can easily handle the dough, separate it into four segments and roll each segment on a floured surface into long skinny ropes. Each roll should be approximately 3/4 of an inch in diameter. With a fork, cut each roll into 1/2 inch gnocchi segments. If you’d like to make the traditional grooves in your gnocchi, press each piece of pasta lightly with the fork. You can store these in an airtight container in the fridge for 2–3 days.
When you’re ready to cook your gnocchi, boil water just as you would normally for pasta. When the water is boiling, add a pinch of salt and the gnocchi. Keep the gnocchi simmering and stir them periodically to avoid sticking. When they float to the surface of the water, let them cook for another 5–10 minutes to taste. Strain the gnocchi from the water.
For the Sauce:
1 whole red onion
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2–3 tablespoons fresh thyme
olive oil for sautéing
lots of parmesan, grated, to taste
Cut your onion into quarter-inch slices. Sauté in olive oil on low for 15 to 20 minutes until soft. Add lemon juice and thyme and continue cooking for approximately 10 minutes.
Mix well with the gnocchi (I recommend turning off the stove and putting the cooked and drained gnocchi into the pan with the sauce to facilitate easy mixing). Serve with a nice glass of wine and enjoy!

2 thoughts on “In Which We Make Sweet, Sweet…Potato Gnocchi

  1. Julie says:

    This comes a bit late, but I only check my Gmail occasionally, as you well know, my dear. The difference between a sweet potato and a yam is this:
    Yams are native to Africa and Asia and are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes.
    Sweet potatoes come in many varieties as do yams, actually, and the color of a sweet potato can range from white to yellow, orange or orange-red. Sweet potatoes are classified as either “firm” or “soft”. It is the soft varieties that are labeled “yams” in the U.S.
    In the past, firm sweet potatoes were produced first. When the soft varieties came along, they were called, “yams” to distinguish them from the “firm” kind. So unless you specifically search for yams, which are usually found in an international market, you are probably eating sweet potatoes!
    And there you have it. What you thought was a yam is really a sweet potato. “I'll be yammed.” Or not actually!
    This was news to me too! You learn something new every day and probably forget even more. Now I hope this posting business works since I can't quite remember how it is done. Bye!


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