I really think I might have a sweet potato addiction. Every Sunday I start thinking about what meal I could make myself to take in to work for lunch the coming week and without fail I will circle back around to something sweet potato related – salads, pastas, stews, curries, chillis; if you can put sweet potato in it, I will put sweet potato on it.
On this particular Sunday I had more than the usual amount of time on my hands and a moment of madness when I forget my kitchen only has one work surface and thought, yeah, why not make myself some gnocchi from scratch?
Usually when I get these hairbrained schemes to make something overly complicated it ends with me crying on the floor, chain eating bourbon biscuits. But not this time! Gnocchi it turns out is easier than it sounds. It’s a long process and repetitive but I’ve now tried it three times with universal success. Perhaps not quite as good as gnocchi in a restaurant but then, I’ve never eaten sweet potato gnocchi in a restaurant, only plain. So on second thoughts this is actually the best sweet potato gnocchi I have ever eaten.
Once you’ve got the gnocchi made it will go with pretty much any pasta sauce you fancy, go wild (within reason). I tend to stick with whatever’s already in the cupboard because who can be bothered to walk all ten minutes to the shop. But the one I’d recommend is oven roasted Mediterranean vegetables with a tomato sauce and pine nuts. Yum.
When I made this I ate it over four days as my lunch at work. I was not optimistic about microwaved gnocchi but it was surprisingly successful. Just split into air tight containers and then microwave for two minutes when you’re ready to eat, stirring half way through.
Makes enough to serve 4
Ingredients for gnocchi
400g sweet potato
200g plain flour plus lots extra for dusting
Salt and pepper
Ingredients for sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 courgette, chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
400g tinned tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
Salt and pepper
50g pine nuts
Small bunch of basil
Method for gnocchi
Microwave the sweet potatoes for ten minutes, turning half way through (or you can oven bake them for hours and hours if you’ve really got time on your hands. This supposedly makes them taste better but I just do not have the patience to find out).
Cut open then leave to cool slightly before scraping the insides into a large bowl.
Stir in the egg.
Add the flour and a good amount of salt and pepper and knead until a dough forms. You might need to adjust the amount of flour depending on how moist your sweet potatoes are.
On a well floured surface split the dough into four, roll each section into a long sausage, cut off little pieces and shape into gnocchi with your hands. This is really long winded and a bit mind-numbing so I’d recommend a good audiobook to keep you company.
I then went all fancy and tried to leave a pattern with the back of a fork but once they’ve been boiled you cannot tell so maybe don’t bother with the extra effort.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and drop in the gnocchi. Cook for two minutes and once they float to the top pick out with a slotted spoon.
Method for sauce
In a large saucepan heat the oil over a medium heat.
Add the onion and fry for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until softened and slightly browned.
Add the remaining vegetables and garlic and fry for another 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
Reduce the heat, add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and season. Simmer gently without a lid for 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Add a splash of water if it starts get too dry.
Fry the pine nuts in a pan over a medium heat for five minutes until they start to brown.
Stir the pine nuts into the sauce. Tear in the basil and tip over the gnocchi.