Have you ever cooked something so awful that it pains and embarrasses you to think about it? In 2016 I got all steamed up and cooked a batch of beetroot gnocchi. It was an ABSOLUTE DISASTER. It went all kinds of wrong. And the worst bit was, I’d invited friends over for dinner. WHY.
I’m not sure that beetroot gnocchi will ever be something I attempt again… I spent all day preparing the gnocchi, fastidiously rolling them out and shaping them evenly etc. etc. When my friends arrived, I smugly plopped the gnocchi in the boiling water… and they all completely disintegrated and just floated around the water like sad little lumps of nothingness. Panic set in and I scooped the remaining gnocchi up and aggressively remixed the dough with loads more egg and flour (wrong, wrong, wrong). As a result, the second batch turned into incredibly tough and gelatinous little footballs, super rubbery and super awful – and in the interest of time I’d had to re-cut and roll them quite big. So they were huge.
Only my boyfriend, who like my dad, is pleased with anything I cook, was able to continue eating the bloody beetroot gnocchi in the days after the massacre. We had a freezer full of them.
3 years later and I’m *just* able to make gnocchi again.
Anyway these are much better! I love sweet potatoes and how versatile the are, like any potatoes I guess, but much more flavoursome and with superior nutritional qualities. You can use any sort of broccoli with this, I tend to favour broccolini (tenderstem for my UK friends) or broccoli rape, or some purple sprouting broccoli is always nice! As an alternative you can use zucchini, peas, broad beans, kale… anything green that goes well with butter really! Everything goes well with butter, stupid comment.
Sage and burnt butter is truly one of the loveliest flavour combinations, and tends to pair well with something a little sweet (sweet potato, prawns, goats cheese etc.) and tangy (lemon, parmesan). The other delicious thing about this recipe is the ricotta in the gnocchi dough which makes it so light and fluffy!
Gnocchi is one of my long-time food loves, and one of the greatest pasta varieties in my humble pasta-loving opinion. It’s also really easy to order bad gnocchi when you’re eating out, and even more so, the gnocchi from the supermarket is terrible. So in conclusion, despite my beetroot gnocchi disaster, it’s really not that tricky to make and it’s well worth it.
The recipe was inspired by What Katie Ate’s recipe found HERE.
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup plain flour (or Tipo 00)
- 2-3 cups broccolini
- 4 tbsp organic butter (about 100-150g)
- 2 leeks
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1-2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves (roughly)
- 2 large handfuls spinach
- Parmesan cheese
- 1 unwaxed lemon (zest and juice)
Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet, prick with a fork all over and bake for 1 - 1.5 hours or until cooked through. Once cooked and cooled, carefully remove potato skins and discard. Mash thoroughly.
In a large bowl combine the potato, ricotta, grated parmesan and salt. Mix in the flour (sieved) until a softer dough forms. It should be a little sticky to touch.
Generously flour a clean bench top and roll one quarter of the mixture into a long sausage approximately 2cm wide.
Cut the dough into 2cm pieces and gently press each piece with the prongs of a fork to leave an imprint. Place prepared gnocchi on a floured baking tray to wait. Repeat process with the remaining dough. Put to the side and bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
While the water is boiling, roughly chop the broccolini and spinach. Slice the leeks and grate the garlic. Bring a second small pot of water to the boil and cook the broccolini for about 1 minute, transfer to a bowl of icy water to stop it cooking (nothing worse than limp broccolini!).
Once it is boiling, add the gnocchi to the large pot and cook for 20-30 seconds, until they float to the top. Remove using a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with a clean tea towel to drain. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. Keep 1 cup of the cooking water aside.
Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the gnocchi and pan-fry until golden brown on the outside (you may have to do this in batches). Once the gnocchi is done, add the broccoli, garlic, sage, and salt and pan-fry for another few minutes (you may need to add a little more butter here).
Add the gnocchi back in, along with the spinach, grated parmesan cheese, lemon zest and juice and toss gently a few times to combine (the sauce should coat everything very lightly) you may want to add a little of the cooking water here if it seems a little dry. Cook until the spinach has mostly wilted.
Serve immediately with salt, pepper and more parmesan.