Making pasta by hand is maybe the messiest thing I do in my kitchen. Flour seems to get everywhere and my hands get coated with sticky dough. Still, there is nothing more delicious than biting into a freshly made ravioli or lasagna or gnocchi and knowing that you made it all from scratch.
Gnocchi is pretty simple to make. Potato, egg, flour. Mix, boil, devour. This time, I decided to make a dish full of fall flavors by using sweet potato, brown butter, and fried sage. Bacon, of course, is timeless and always in season in my home.
Be careful to not overwork the dough; you want light, fluffy gnocchi. Nothing dense or heavy. This recipe makes a lot so I recommend freezing the uncooked extras for another meal. Happily, there is no need to defrost the gnocchi; use them in you dish straight from frozen.
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup flour plus extra for work surface dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 large egg
4 tablespoons butter
3 slices of bacon, diced
1/4 cup of sage leaves
More Parmesan cheese, for serving
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet in the oven for 1 1/2 hours or until the flesh is tender and easily pierced with a knife. Let the potatoes cool.
Peel the potatoes and push the flesh through a ricer or food mill until silky smooth.
Meanwhile, which together the flour, parmesean, nutmeg and salt. Dump the potato onto a floured work surface and make a well. To the well, add the flour and beaten egg. Mix together with your hands. The finished dough will be sticky.
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Reflour the work surface.
Roll the dough into a long skinny rope about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the rope in 1 inch segments, then roll each gnocchi along the tines of a fork to make ridges. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.
Heat a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi in batches to the boiling water. (Or freeze some uncooked for use later). Cook the gnocchi until they float to the surface; remove with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain and toss lightly with oil in another bowl to prevent sticking.
Place a large skillet over medium high heat. When heated, add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and drain the grease from the pan. Add the butter and melt it. Add the sage leaves and fry them in the butter. Toss in the gnocchi and cook until the butter browns. Remove from the heat and toss with the bacon. Serve with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.