Sweet Potato Gnocchi Florentine

Sweet Potato Gnocchi Florentine
Winter is almost over here in the D.C. area so it’s one of the last times we have something super heavy and decadent. Therefore, I decided to make some sweet potato gnocchi, which I supplemented with some Yukon gold potatoes. I was initially very nervous about the reviews on this recipe. I don’t know if Husband has ever had gnocchi and he generally doesn’t like cream sauces. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Here are some comment gems: “I love the texture. It’s like a mashed potato packet, but better” and “I like it because it’s like eating Play-Doh.”
Gnocchi (I borrowed this recipe)
1 pound sweet potatoes and Yukon Gold potatoes
6 ounces fresh ricotta cheese (I used non-fat)
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups (about) all-purpose flour
Sauce Ingredients (makes 2 cups):
2 cups milk (I used skim)
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp nutmeg
3 Tbs unsalted butter
3 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 cup Gruyère cheese, shredded
3 spicy Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
1 cup frozen spinach, defrosted
1 tsp garlic powder
For the gnocchi:
  1. Rinse and scrub potatoes and pat dry.  Pierce holes into potatoes with fork in a few places.  Place on plate and microwave on high until tender, about 5-6 minutes per side. Cut in half and cool.
  2. Scrape out potato into medium size bowl and mash.
  3. Transfer to large bowl. Add ricotta cheese and stir until combined. Add Parmesan cheese and 1 teaspoon salt and stir until combined.
  4. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.
  5. After the dough comes together, turn it out onto floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces.
  6. Roll between palms and floured work surface.  Form each piece into 18-inch-long rope that are about 1 inch in diameter (think making snakes with Play-Doh), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky.
  7. Cut each rope into pieces (about 1 inch long). Roll each piece over tines of fork to indent.
  8. In a large pot, boil the gnocchi in batches until they start to float (5-6 minutes). I basically did one “rope” at a time.
  9. Once the gnocchi are done, use a slotted spoon to remove. Run them under cold water to stop the cooking process.

For the sauce:

  1. In a large skillet, brown up the Italian sausage. When the sausage is almost done, throw in the spinach and season with garlic powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, melt the butter and add in the minced garlic. Sautee for a few seconds and whisk in the flour to make a roux.
  3. Gradually add in the milk, whisking constantly until sauce begins to thicken. Add in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and continue stirring.
  4. Once sauce gets to the desired thickness, remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until melted.
  5. Mix in the spinach and sausage mixture and pour over pasta.

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