There is something so satisfying about a big plate of gnocchi, but making it with sweet potatoes is so much healthier for you! They are full of Vitamins A, C, E, B6, calcium, potassium, manganese, antioxidants, and fiber. And with their anti-inflammatory nature, they truly are a super food. You can’t go wrong!
As we are approaching fall, we tend to crave heartier dishes that stick to the ribs and soothe our soul in a way that a salad just doesn’t. It sort of reminds me of friendships with others, a metaphor if you will: salads are lighter, more on the surface. These are the acquaintances of food. They’re great and fun at times, but these types of relationships are not really satisfying—they leave you wanting; the deeper connection is sadly just not there. However, the dishes that stick to your ribs are like your best friends, or even friends that you don’t see that often, but when you do, you have the types of conversations that are meaningful, dense, and soothing. This dish is that and more: encouraging and full of love—just like those friendships that you cherish, however fleeting or inconstant they may be.
This dish, plus a great friend, and a good bottle of wine on a fall evening = the perfect way to unwind, reconnect, and enjoy all of the beauty that there is to see in the world, your life, and in others.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
1 lb sweet potatoes
5 tablespoons vegan butter (Whole Foods, Ralphs)
1 package (4 oz) pancetta (from Trader Joe’s)
15-20 fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt + 1 tablespoon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, and put on a plate. Microwave for 5 minutes, and then turn the potatoes over and cook for 3 or so minutes more (until soft). Cool slightly, and then cut in half. Using a towel to shield your hands, scoop out the soft sweet potato flesh with a small spoon. Place flesh in a medium bowl and stir in 1 teaspoon salt, the black and cayenne pepper, and the egg.
Then add in the flour, ¼ cup at a time and stir until you get a soft dough.
On a floured surface, take small balls of the dough (about ¼ of the mixture) and with your fingers gently roll the dough out into a long pole shape. Use the flour to help you, as the dough is quite sticky. Take a knife and cut the strip of dough into about 1 inch pieces, or so.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Once boiling, add the gnocchi to the water in batches (I did 2). Boil for a few minutes (2-3), or until the gnocchi pieces are floating on the top layer of water. Using a slotted spoon, take the pieces out and place on a plate.
Around the same time that you are waiting for the water to boil, you should heat up the butter in a small frying pan, and add the pancetta and a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Let this cook for about 5 minutes on medium-low, stiring occasionally. At around minute 4, add the sage leaves and let them fry in the golden butter. Cook for 1 more minute.
Plate the gnocchi and spoon the sauce over it. Enjoy!
Of course, you could make this totally vegan by leaving out the pancetta! You could also certainly add 2 cloves of garlic into the butter and cook for a few minutes, if you don’t have a sensitive stomach.