Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Night Foodie: Gluten Free Sweet Potato Gnocchi

As I shared last week, insomnia is a fabulous excuse for trying new cooking projects, and this week was no different.  Between three and four hours of sleep provided me with a lot of extra time for studying, writing, Netflix watching, and, of course, cooking!  On deck this week: sweet potato gnocchi!  For those you who don't know, gnocchi is a pasta typically made with flour, cheese, eggs, and some form of potato. 

My first experience with this odd little pasta was at Olive Garden.  They have this amazing chicken and gnocchi soup that I could more or less make myself sick on.  A former boss would take me our team there on occasion and I would eat all the gnocchi from our soups while he would eat all the chicken…I felt it was a fair trade.  Last year I discovered that HEB sold both regular and sweet potato gnocchi.  This made me learn how to brown butter, a technique my friend Lauren taught me, and though you can eat it with any sauce you like, I've found this is my favorite way. 

Two weeks ago, I found gluten free gnocchi hiding at the bottom of the shelf and thus renewed my desire to attempt to make my own.  Home made is always better, right?  My biggest fear was shaping the pasta itself, but I decided early on to give myself a little leeway.  You start by baking three sweet potatoes (I use these because of the vitamin C).  Mine ended up taking about ten minutes per side in the microwave.

Cooking confession: I may or may not have had an Arrested Development moment where I covered the spuds in foil…did I mention I haven't gotten a lot of sleep lately?

After they cooled (ideally…I was a bit impatient and have the burnt fingers to prove it), you scoop the innards into a bowl and stir until smooth...

Add one egg

1/4 cup of parmesan cheese (I didn't have this much so I just used the rest of what I did have…)

1 tsp salt

Brown rice flour.  Thanks Michelle!  The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups, but I probably ended up using at least 2 1/2 cups total.  The idea is for the dough not to be too sticky.

Knead…my favorite part of baking/cooking.  

Divide into four parts (I ended up splitting these fourths because it would have been way to much for one person) and roll out.

Attempt to cut into similarly sized pieces...

Boil until they float and then drain.
 Once I drained the gnocchi, I browned the butter and sautéed with garlic and basil.  I definitely burned my hands again at this phase...

 You can top with parmesan cheese if you so desire, but as I had none left I just stuck with the salt and basil.

The good: sautéing them in brown butter added some savory to a dish made sweet by the type of potato I chose.  I also really liked the basil and garlic and kind of felt like it was cheating even though everything was fairly healthy.

The bad: I sort of failed on the shape, but with practice I'm sure I can get better.  It also suffered from a lack of parmesan - I should have checked my recipe before going to the store.

The ugly:  Again the shape!  But I still have a bunch of dough left in the fridge so more than enough left to practice.  I will definitely be trying this recipe again.

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