I love trying out different kinds of gnocchi and sweet potato gnocchi is one of my favorites to make. I traditionally serve sweet potato gnocchi in a butter sauce with pancetta and a touch of brown sugar but wanted to go a bit more savory for this dish. I added kale and pecorino and it turned out delicious! If you aren’t a fan of kale you could skip it and add another vegetable or even an herb like sage.
- 1 large sweet potato per person
- 80% flour (according to the weight of the sweet potatoes)
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 4 oz pancetta, diced
- 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
- Grated Pecorino
- Red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Begin by preheating oven to 400 F.
- Using a fork, poke holes into the potatoes and place on a baking tray in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until sweet potatoes are baked through and soft. Allow them to cool enough so that you can work with them with your hands comfortably.
- Remove the skin. Using a ricer or bench scraper, smash the sweet potatoes and add them to a bowl to weigh them. Take this number and multiply by .8; this will be the amount of flour to use. Add that to a bowl with a pinch of salt and begin combining with your hands until you have a rough dough. Note: You will need more flour for dusting as well.
- Turn out the dough on a floured surface and gently knead to fully incorporate. Sprinkle more flour if necessary. Do not over work the dough or your gnocchi will be too tough. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap for 30 minutes to rest.
- Meanwhile, cook pancetta in a saute pan until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and let cool on a stack of paper towels. Next cook the kale in the pancetta fat and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water up to a boil.
- To roll out gnocchi, divide dough into 4 sections using a knife or bench scraper. Roll out each section into a long skinny log about 1 inch around.
- Cut logs into 1 inch pieces (you may need to dust flour to avoid sticking).
- Once you’ve cut the dough into little pieces, use a knife or gnocchi paddle to created the ridges by rolling the dough across the paddle or taking the ridged side of the knife parallel to the work surface and dough and rolling it towards you. It should fold onto itself and have little ridges.
- Boil gnocchi until they float (about 2 minutes), reserve a cup of pasta water before draining.
- Add the butter to a saute pan and melt it over medium heat. Next add the gnocchi and toss them with the butter and a splash of pasta water. Add the pancetta and kale next and toss until well incorporated. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper to taste.
- Garnish with black pepper and pecorino to serve!