Balsamic-Brown Butter Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Crisps
Sometime between Thanksgiving and the New Year, I start to think of throwing in the towel when it comes to pasta. I’m starting to feel overwhelmed with the starches and sugars that have been invading my dining room table and body.
But, of course, moderation and balance in our diet is key to staving off that overwhelmed feeling. We should neither binge until we no longer want to see another piece of pie in our life nor deprive ourselves of a few delicious bites of pasta. Moderation. Balance. My new mantra for the holiday season.
So here is a lovely recipe which represents the perfect balance between sweet and acidic, herbal and caramel, chewy and crisp. And do yourself a favor and serve this will a big salad on the side.
SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI DOUGH
adapted from SALT & WIND
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- 1/2 pound Russet potatoes, cut in half lengthwise
- olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons honey
- dash of nutmeg
- 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Heat oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, season with a few good pinches of salt and a few cranks of pepper, place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast until fork tender, about 30 minutes.
Set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop flesh out of skins then pass flesh through a potato ricer (or mash with fork) and stir in cheese, egg, honey, nutmeg and the 2 teaspoons of salt. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms. You’ve added enough flour when you touch the back of the dough and it is damp but not sticking to your hand. At this point, you can take a little piece of dough and throw it in boiling water to test if it needs more flour or salt.
Cut off a small portion of the dough and form into a rope (about 1/2 inch in diameter) by rolling between palms and floured work surface, sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. (However, don’t add too much additional flour, as too much will make for heavy gnocchi.) Cut each rope into 1/2 -inch pieces. Stop here or, as desired, using your thumb, roll each piece down over the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, simmer gnocchi until they float. Scoop out gnocchi and place on a baking sheet. Reserve 2/3 cups of pasta cooking water and drain the rest.
BALSAMIC-BROWN BUTTER SAUCE
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 12 to 15 fresh sage leaves
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it foams, add sage and cook until crisp and fragrant. Add in the gnocchi, tossing gently to coat in the butter and cook until the gnocchi starts to brown lightly.
Remove from heat, and carefully stir in the vinegar. Stir in 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, return to heat, and cook until just coated in the sauce. Finish with freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.