Our blog posts so far have been mostly comfort food recipes since we’re not in school yet and are feeling cozy in the Boston snow, and tonight’s post is no exception!
We decided to complete a major culinary challenge tonight and make one of our favorite foods – gnocchi! Hilary and I woke up this morning and decided that we definitely wanted gnocchi, but searched long and hard for recipes that we could make without going to the grocery store. We finally found a couple different recipes in a couple different cookbooks, and combined them to make this conncoction! These sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter balsamic glaze were so good that we all ate super slowly to savor them. As per usual, there were no leftovers, and we still found ourselves wishing for more! We paired it with some balsamic garlic steamed kale on the side.
For the gnocchi, you will need:
2 medium to large sweet potatoes
2 cups of flour, plus more to sprinkle on the counter when you roll out the dough
1 T butter
1 t nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
For the brown butter balsamic glaze, you will need:
4 T butter
2 shallots, minced
3 T balsamic vinegar
1 t sage
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c pasta water
To start, peel the potatoes and cut into large-ish cubes. Put the cubes in a pot of boiling water and let them cook through until tender (you can tell that they are ready if you can prick them with a fork). Then drain them and mash them in a bowl. Add 2 cups of flour (you may need more or less depending on how big your sweet potatoes are, so add the flour 1/2 c at a time) to the potatoes, along with 1 T of butter, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Mix these ingredients until it becomes a kind of sticky dough.
Once you’ve mixed the dough, turn it out onto the counter (cover the counter with flour so it doesn’t stick!). Roll the dough into long, skinny, snake-like ropes, about 1/2 inch in diameter. Then cut dough with a sharp knife into small pillows, about 1 inch long. If you want to be fancy, you can imprint the gnocchi with a fork, but we just left them as little misshaped pillows.
We made a mistake here and we put our little uncooked gnocchis in a bowl. They kind of got heavy and mushed into each other, so they looked less pretty than we planned. Next time, we’ll cut them into pieces and put them on a cookie sheet instead 🙂
While Hilary and Danielle rolled and cut the gnocchi (Danielle’s Italian roots showed through – she was a pro!), I worked on the brown butter sauce. First I melted the butter in a large saucepan, and then I added the shallots to the pan once the butter was completely melted. Then, I let the shallots brown slowly on medium-high heat, and let the butter continue to brown. A brown butter sauce happens when the butter in the pan actually starts to turn brown, and smells nutty and bright.
Meanwhile, we boiled a large pot of highly salted water. When the water was boiling, we dropped the little gnocchi into the water and waited! Because gnocchi are mostly made of potato, they cook really fast. You can tell that they are done when they float at the top of the water, usually after about 4 minutes. After testing the water with three gnocchi (and doing a little happy dance when they worked and tasted great!), we added the gnocchi to the water in two batches, leaving the first batch on a cookie sheet while waiting for the second batch to cook.
Ok, back to the sauce! While the gnocchi boils, watch your butter/ shallot mixture. When it looks brown, remove it from the heat and add 3 T of balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup of the pasta water from the gnocchi pot. Then put it back on the heat and let it begin to simmer again. Add the gnocchi to the pan with the brown butter glaze, adding sage, salt and pepper to taste.
Let the balsamic glaze thicken slightly, then transfer gnocchi to bowls and sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese. Like I said before, we ate this pasta with a side of kale – If you’re interested in the kale, add olive oil to a sauce pan with some minced garlic. Cook the garlic, then add the kale and a cup of water and cover the pan. Let the kale steam, then uncover and add balsamic, salt and pepper!
This was the best dinner we’ve made so far, and we were so proud of ourselves because it was very complicated! We all sat staring at our empty bowls when we were done because we wished there was more. If you’re trying to make something impressive for a date night, this would be a great choice – super gourmet!
Now we’re super full, sitting on the couch and watching the Bachelor. Typical. Check back in later this week for homemade pizza and other fun posts!
Lots of love,
3 Peas in a Pod