Neither language I have a decent grasp of could express how delicious this gnocchi is, but I will give it a good shot.
English: Mmmmm, bloomin’ marvellous! Oh my! Get in my greedy belly!
German: Lecker! Ach, echt echt lecker! Viel viel besser als Späztle… Nur einen Scherz – nichts ist besser als Spätzle.
So, get cracking. There will be no regrets, and because it is dee-lissshhhh-ussss the calories don’t count. Promise.
You will need:
About two hours.
A large-ish sweet potato.
Some flour of your choice.
A large enough space to get dirty, and nobody around to get angry at your mess.
Rosemary (or sage).
Olive oil (or butter).
A decent film to watch while you are waiting for things to get done.
An apron. Expect flour in your hair.
To make the gnocchi friends:
- Stab your sweet potato and put it in the microwave for 10 mins, if you have one. If not, put it straight in a hot oven (approx 180 degrees). If you put it in the microwave first, put it in the oven after. Bake until it smells like heaven and is squishy when you poke it with something.
- Cut the potato in half and scoop its insides into a large mixing bowl. Leave to cool for as long as you can tolerate. I put mine outside the front door because it is freezing out there, and I am horrendously impatient. I wouldn’t recommend doing this.
- When the potato is cooled, mix in your salt, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste. I put a fair bit in mine ’cause I like things spicy. Ha. Then mix in your egg. You should now have a gloopy old mess.
- Now, the really scientific bit happens. There is no precise measurement for the flour because I just kept adding it until it looked right. From previous experience, if you use a set amount of flour, it almost always ends up too much and the gnocchi results in being bullet hard, and not the desired downy soft. So, gently pour in a small mound of flour and fold into the mixture. Keep doing this, baby step by baby step, until you get a malleable dough which doesn’t leave an imprint when you poke it with your finger. It should be very soft, but not so sticky that you can’t turn it out onto a worktop and do things to it. Ultimately, the more flour you put in, the stodgier the gnocchi will be once you cook it.
- Once you have your desired dough, turn it out onto a very floury worktop and shape into a ball. Cut into 4.
6. Gently roll these dough-lumps into long sausage-like strips about the width of your thumb. Use as much flour as you need on the work surface and your hands so that it doesn’t stick everywhere.
7. Cut the dough-sausage into pieces at regular intervals, then use a clean fork to lightly press them. These little grooves will make you look like a pro, and make the gnocchi hold onto the sauce better. But mainly make you look like a pro. As you can see, I am far too impatient to do this stage very well, so I haven’t reached pro-status yet.
8. Boil a large pan of water (or a small pan if you only have a small pan. It doesn’t make an awful amount of difference), and then put your gnocchi babies in to cook. This has to be gently gently gently or they will all smoosh together. Cook for about 3 minutes, and then remove with one of those strainy type utensils that I don’t know the name of.
Yeah, one of those.
9. Now you are the proud creator of some gnocchi-of-dreams, leave it in a bowl/pan in eye sight so you can lovingly admire it every now and then. Meanwhile, slug a decent amount of oil into a deep frying pan, or similar. Finely chop the garlic and whack it in with the oil, heating until the garlic has a nice brown tinge. I added my rosemary at this point, but I also think sage would go down a treat too.
10. Put your gnocchi in the pan with the oil and garlic and leave it sitting there happily for about 2 minutes while it browns itself.
11. Turn the heat off and stir in a healthy swish of balsamic vinegar.
12. Eat. Only share with people you really love, or want to impress. Put the most on your own plate.
I served mine with the scrag ends of some kale we had lying in the fridge. It was good, but fresh spinach would be better. Or rocket.
Please send me any recommendations you have to improve this recipe. I am interested in creating a vegan option, so keep your eyes peeled…
Enjoy! And don’t blame me for the monumental mess in your kitchen.
Get off the table, Carlos.