Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Sage and Thyme Brown Butter
Sweet potato gnocchi have been on my list to make for a while. I have tried a few recipes and they have all just been okay - but not texturally the way I like them. A lot of the recipes I have tried end up with almost mushy gnocchi. I know they traditionally should be soft and melt in your mouth pillows but I like a slight bit of texture to mine so I thought I would try recipe with alternative flours. I will be honest with you - it was also for selfish reasons. The less all purpose flour in them, the more I could eat without consequence. I came across several recipes and decided to combine my two favorites to create this one.
I’m going to come out and say it. These are not your traditional pillowy soft gnocchi. They are soft and tender but they do have a bite of a chewiness to them. They don’t melt away in a sauce, and hold up very well when pan fried, something I appreciate very much because I really dislike mushy gnocchi. That’s just my personal taste - sorry if I’m doing it wrong or not authentically. I thought I would disclose this right off the-bat, if you are looking for a light and airy melt in your mouth or in your sauce type of gnocchi this is not it. These have a soft texture with a slight bit of resistance in each bite sort of like a dumpling, dare I say (there will def be a hit on me after this blog post). If you are like me and like a slight bit of texture in your gnocchi, you will absolutely love these.
I used a combination of Bob’s Red Mill Super-Fine Almond Flour and Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour to get the texture I want and they just so happen to be gluten free, grain free and paleo if that is your thing right now. I love both of these Bob’s Red Mill products. They are always stocked in my pantry. I use the almond flour for baking tart crusts and in cakes and now these gnocchi and the tapioca flour I love as a thickener and a great alternative to corn starch if you wanted to keep things grain free. Bob’s Red Mill uses high-quality whole grains to satisfy all vegan, paleo, and gluten-free friendly cooking and baking needs and these two combined make for some pretty delicious gnocchi.
The tapioca/almond flour blend works very well together. If they were made solely with almond flour the texture would be too heavy. The tapioca lightens it up and also gives them that slight bit of texture that I love (and am not ashamed to admit). I decided on using sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes because I wanted a lighter dish with out a heavy rich sauce plus we love and eat sweet potatoes all year long. I love their natural sweetness and I added just a pinch of nutmeg to them cause they are fabulous with a tiny bit of spice. If you don’t appreciate that very subtle hint of spice and warmth in them just leave out. I chose to use thyme and sage in this dish because I love them both and both together too and I also had them on hand. I left the sage whole because I love how crispy and nutty it gets. The thyme does too and the two are so fragrant and delicious together.
I used Lee Mandy’s (Lady and Pups blog) technique with cooking the pancetta and to quote her, boiling it in a bit of water before browning it maximizes or ‘brings out the porky-ness’ of the pancetta. I have to agree with her. The butter is browned along with the pancetta and the fresh herbs, and I swear your kitchen will be smelling amazing at this point. The gnocchi take their little water bubble bath for a couple of minutes, get rinsed and cooled to help them keep that bit of texture then they get tossed into that brown butter sauce. To die for you guys. Serve them up with Parmesan cheese and you will make yourself and your family very very happy.
These gnocchi are quite simple to make. The key is not to overwork the dough, and only add enough almond and tapioca flour until the dough stops feeling sticky and is able to be rolled. That whole process of mixing the ingredients and working the dough is quite easy and quick. So is rolling, cutting and shaping them but it’s a little time consuming when you make your first batch. It took me up until after my first roll to get into a rhythm and my hubby helped a bit too. Next time we will be smart about it and do this while we sip wine and enjoy some charcuterie (pre-dinner eats) and catch up on our day. Take your time and enjoy the process cause once they are finished cooking, I kid you not they will be gone in 60 seconds. They are worth the effort to make and the more you make them the quicker you get at making them. Don’t limit yourself to a brown butter sauce. These would be delicious with a cream sauce or even vodka sauce or tomato sauce. Hope you give them a try. I have partnered up with Bob’s Red Mill to bring you this fabulous recipe, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting Olive & Mango.
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (approx 1.5 lbs)
- 2 cups almond flour, plus more as needed
- 1 cup arrowroot powder, plus more as needed
- 1 tsp salt
- A pinch of nutmeg (optional)
- 1 large egg
Sage and Thyme Brown Butter sauce
- ¼ cup diced pancetta (up to ½ cup is fine if you prefer a little extra meat)
- 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 sage leaves whole or chopped
- ground black pepper to taste
- grated Parmesan cheese to taste
- A handful or two of your favourite greens like spinach or arugula (optional)
Pierce the sweet potato with a fork several times. Microwave the sweet potato for 8-10 minutes, or until the inside is soft. Alternatively, you could roast the sweet potato for 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool completely
To make the gnocchi, whisk together the almond flour, arrowroot flour and salt in a medium bowl. Scrape out the flesh of the sweet potato and process through a potato ricer or mash well with a potato masher until there are no lumps
Place the mashed potatoes in a large bowl or on a floured work surface, add 3/4 of the flour mixture to the sweet potato and create a well in the middle. Add the egg and lightly beat it with a fork, sprinkle in the flour and potato until a thick paste forms. Then, use your hands to continue combining and adding in the rest of the flour mixture. If the sweet potato is too sticky, add more flour/tapioca blend as needed until you can form a log with the dough.
Once the dough is at this stage pat it into a round disc, slice the dough into 4 equal sections
Roll each of those sections into a 1-inch rope. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces and set aside.
Once all the dough has been cut, use a gnocchi paddle or fork to create indentations in the gnocchi. Once made, this recipe can be frozen and reheated as well or used immediately. (If freezing place the cooked gnocchi in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Or you can place it in the freezer for up to 6 months)
Make the sage and thyme brown butter sauce: In a skillet large skillet, add the pancetta and water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. (This helps really add flavor to the sauce). Continue to cook until all the water has evaporated, and that the pancetta starts to brown in its own fat. Add the butter, fresh thyme, sage and black pepper, and continue to pan fry both the pancetta and butter until both are browned. Take pan off the heat and set pan aside.
Bring a pot of generously salted water to boil. Add the gnocchi either fresh or straight from frozen for a couple of minutes until they start to float and when they start to float to the surface, cook for 30 seconds more.
Transfer into a large metal sieve and rinse under cold water, tossing them very gently to cool them completely. (This step ensures they are tender but have some texture)
Drain well, and add them into the browned butter skillet. Toss in your greens if you are using them. Put the pan back on the burner over high heat tossing gently, until gnocchi are warmed through. Check for seasoning and serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese.