I fondly remember making gnocchi when I was little with my mum. I remember starting off with just rolling the gnocchi for her into logs, then as I got older I learnt how to cut and curl them as well. It wasn’t until this year though that I started making them entirely by myself- I never really understood how to get the ratio of potatoes to flour right as mum would always make enough for about 20 people!
I’m using sweet potatoes in this recipe and I’m not using eggs. Without eggs gnocchi are softer and a bit more delicate to work with; with eggs they’re firmer and hold their shape better when they cook but are also heavier. I’ve opted for the no-eggs option so that more people can use this recipe. These gnocchi go well with a meat sauce as well as with a simple tomato and herb sauce. You could also make these using purple sweet potatoes- the colour is quite dramatic!
The trick with gnocchi is to let the potatoes cool completely down after you’ve passed them through a potato ricer. When they’re cool they take less flour so they’ll be lighter to eat. You also need to keep flouring them as you go so that they don’t stick together.
1.5kg sweet potatoes
650g ’00’ flour, plus extra for rolling out the gnocchi
1 teaspoon salt
1. Place the sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to the boil, covered, then slightly remove the lid and allow to boil until tender. (Alternatively, you could cook the potatoes in the microwave- I’m told it takes about 6 minutes or so).
2. Once cooked, drain out the water and return the potatoes to the pan and cover with a lid. It’s important to keep them hot as it’ll make it easier to peel them. One by one, take a potato out of the pan and peel off the skin using a knife.
3. Place the peeled potato into a potato ricer and push it through.
4. Repeat with the remaining peeled potatoes.
5. Add the salt and mix through using a fork. Now let the mixture cool completely down.
6. Once the potatoes are cool, add the flour and mix it evenly through (I used a fork in the beginning and then kneaded it with my hands). You may need a little more or a little less flour than the quantity I have given, depending on how moist the potatoes are. Sweet potatoes are a lot softer than normal potatoes so I found that I needed a lot more flour than expected. You want the dough to be somewhat firm but not too hard, otherwise the gnocchi will be far too heavy.
7. Take a handful of the dough and place it on a floured board. Using both hands, roll the dough out into a log shape, then sprinkle it with a little flour.
8. Repeat the process with the remainder of the dough, ensuring that you keep adding flour to the board and that you sprinkle each log with flour so that it doesn’t become sticky.
9. Using a sharp knife, cut each log into small pieces, about 1 inch long.
10. Then flour a gnocchi board and 2 trays.
11. One by one, roll each piece of dough up the gnocchi board and let them fall onto the floured trays. If you don’t have a gnocchi board, you could do this using a fork.
The aim is to get a pattern on one side and a small cavity on the other side (as below). The cavity helps the gnocchi hold more sauce and doing this step also makes them look prettier!
12. Once you’ve curled all of the gnocchi, sprinkle them all with a little more flour.
13. Cook the gnocchi immediately in a large saucepan filled with salted boiling water. You’ll need to cook them in a few batches. Once they float to the surface they’re cooked; remove them from the boiling water using a slotted spoon. Place them in bowls and coat with a sauce of your choice, then serve immediately.
*If you’d like to use this recipe, please reference this blog- thank you!