Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Stilton and Herb-Cream


I like March. It brings the promise of spring. However, sometimes I wonder if it’s just a cruel joke, because judging by the weather in the last few years, some of the biggest snowfall was in March. Regardless, the sun has been coming out more regularily in the past few days, and the grayness of February seems to be over. So, yay for that! And yay for savoury foods! A few days ago I was slipping through the Holiday version of the LCBO’s Food and Drink magazine and came accross this interesting recipe on Sweet Potato Gnocchi. Gnocchi, for those not in the know, is a traditional Italian meal – little dumplings made out of semolina, regular flour and/or potatoes, and then boiled. Usually served with tomato sauce, pesto, or flavoured melted butter.
Hmmm…I thought to myself…I love sweet potatoes…I love gnocchi…would I love them together? Only one way to find out. I must admit, I wouldn’t think of putting the two together, but at more contemplation, it seems perfectly fitting – gnocchi are made with potatoes, and sweet potato…well, is also a potato 🙂 And, it was one of those ‘ make it from scratch’ recipes, so I was doubly intrigued.

I usually buy gnocchi ready made, so I wanted to see what the difference was between the store-bought and home-made. I would say, at least for my little creations, they tasted a bit harder and chewier than store-bought, and obviously with a touch of sweetness from the sweet potato.
The first time I had home-made gnocchi was when my friend Irene made it for me, and like a true Italian cook, she makes everything from scratch. I watched her do it and was totally blown away. Beside getting the right consistency of the dough, I would think shaping the gnocchi would be the hardest thing about them. Putting the fork in the little blob of dough and rolling it so it curls just the right way, definitely escaped me. Irene, however, did it with such grace, precision and speed…the kind that takes years of practice, I’m sure. Mine on the other hand…looked…well – like the picture above. I would say not bad for my first time…definitely a bit of that ‘artisan’ feel 🙂 I only hope that my Italian friends will still talk to me after this post and hope that I didn’t totally disgrace myself in attempting to make this 🙂 In retrospect, next time I will make them even smaller, because I didn’t factor in the fact that they get bigger once boiled.

Another interesting thing about this recipe was that it included Stilton cheese as an addition to the sauce. Since the LCBO magazine happened to be doing a special on Stilton, this featured recipe also included Stilton. I am also very intrigued by Stilton as I had never used it in cooking previously, so one of the next posts will be more prominently featuring Stilton, as I would like to give it the attention it deserves. Stay tuned for that.
The cream sauce with the infusion of rosemary and thyme, I would say is the perfect addition to the gnocchi, as it adds a touch of savoury to the sweet, and the combination is very pleasing to the palate.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
To next post – cheerio!

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Click on each photo to view the high resolution images.

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RECIPE

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Stilton and Herb Sauce

  • 1 1/4 lbs (625 g) sweet potatoes (about 2)
  • 1 egg
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups (625 ml) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) butter
  • 1 small sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) whipping cream
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 oz (60 g) blue or white Stilton, crumbled
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
2. Scrub sweet potatoes and pierce all over with a fork.  Bake for about 1 hour or until tender.  Transfer to a bowl, cover and let cool completely.  Drain off any liquid and peel off skins.  Mash sweet potatoes and measure 1 1/2 cups (375 ml), reserving any extra for another use.  Place mashed potatoes in a large bowl.
3.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and dust with flour
4.  Stir egg, 1 tsp (5 ml) salt and 1/4 tsp (1 ml) pepper into mashed potatoes.  Stir in 2 cups (500 ml) of flour, 1/2 cup (125 ml) at a time, to make a soft dough.  Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour until dough forms a ball and is just slightly loose (it will still be sticky).
5.  Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and, with floured hands, knead a few times until smooth.  Divide into 6 portions.  Keeping work surface and hands floured just enough to prevent sticking, roll each portion into a 1/2 inch-thick (1-cm) log.  Cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) lenghts with a floured paring knife.  If desired for a traditional gnocchi shape, dipn tines of a fork into flour, press down across  gnocchi and drag fork toward you letting dough curl round end of fork.  Place gnocchi on floured baking sheets make sure
they don’t touch each other.  Gnocchi can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 3 months.
6.  Just before serving, bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook gnocchi.  Salt the water.
7. Melt buttter over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add onion and garlic and saute for 8 minutes or until starting to turn golden.  Pour in cream and bring to a boil, stirring.  Stir in thyme and rosemary.  Reduce heat and boil for 1 minute or until slightly reduced.  Remove from heat.
8.  Working in batches, add about 15 gnocchi to boiling water and cook, stirring often to keep water moving, for about 3 minutes or until gnocchi float to the surface.  Use a sloted spoon to drain gnocchi well and add to the skillet with cream sauce.  Repeat until all gnocchi are cooked.  Return skillet to medium heat and heat,  stirring gently, until sauce is bubbling.  Remove from heat and fold in Stilton.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately. Serves 6.

 

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6 responses to “Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Stilton and Herb-Cream

  1. My stomach is growling loudly now. 🙂

    • ha ha 🙂 I think that’s a good thing – I think the main goal I wanted to achieve with the pictures is to make people excited about food, and hungry for it 🙂 mmm…love food 🙂

  2. I will definitely try this recipe. Since we do not speak English here, I will have to translate few of the ingredients or maybe add something local in it. There are words I still do not understand like “skillet”, but I guess it’s just a kitchen utensil. Nice pictures by the way ;-). Too bad we can’t smell the scent. Have a nice day.

    • Hi Olivier,
      Thank you for your message. Which language do you speak? I’d be happy to translate the recipe for you.
      Skillet is a kitchen utensil, it’s like a flat pan with a big handle – usually used to fry food, like eggs. Yes, it’s too bad about the smell…..

  3. I’ve never had this. Looks good.

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