Sweet Potato Gnocchi
on Feb 13, 2023, Updated Jul 09, 2023
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Tossed in brown butter with crispy fried sage, this homemade sweet potato gnocchi is a twist on the Italian classic. It is a from-scratch recipe that’s worth the work and is great for a special dinner. Below you will find detailed instructions with step-by-step photos.
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Gnocchi is always wonderful, and sweet potatoes make it even better. Nothing against traditional gnocchi recipes, but sweet potatoes deliver on taste, personality and that beautiful orange color.
The flavors of sweet potatoes, brown butter and sage are an amazing trio. They go together so well that you will create a restaurant-worthy dish.
Yes, homemade gnocchi requires some effort, but you will feel so accomplished when you make it. This recipe is a fun cooking project to take on solo or with a partner or even a group. It’s kid-friendly too.
What Is Gnocchi?
Hailing from Italy, gnocchi are potato dumplings and not pasta. They are made with flour, egg yolk, cheese, salt and pepper. You combine all these ingredients with cooked potato flesh to make dough. Then you roll it into ropes and cut it into pieces. After that, you roll the gnocchi down the back of a fork or on a wood gnocchi board to create ridges.
For all the work that goes into making gnocchi from scratch, they cook pretty quickly in a pot of boiling salted water. Those ridges help whatever sauce you make to cling to the dumplings.
This is what you need:
- Sweet potatoes take the place of russet potatoes in this variation on traditional gnocchi. You need 2 pounds of potatoes, which is about 3 medium ones. I like to weigh them on a scale in the produce department since they can vary so much in size.
- Ricotta cheese: Before you add the ricotta, make sure it is drained, so you don’t add any excess liquid.
- Parmesan: There is grated Parmesan in the dough, and then you can use more to garnish the final dish.
- Egg yolk: You only need a yolk for this dough, so save the egg white for another use.
- Flour: The recipe calls for all-purpose flour. When you are making it, you need to pay attention to how the dough feels. You start with a cup of flour and add more little by little.
- Salt & pepper are important to season the dough.
For the Brown Butter Sauce
- Butter: Other than fresh herbs, this is a 1-ingredient sauce. When you brown butter, it has the most wonderful nutty, toasted flavor.
- Sage goes perfectly with brown butter and sweet potatoes.
How To Make Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
1. Bake the sweet potatoes. Prick them with a fork before you put them on a sheet pan. They will take about an hour to become tender in the middle.
2. Scoop out the potato flesh. Then run it through a food mill or potato ricer.
3. Combine the potatoes, ricotta, egg yolk, Parmesan, salt, pepper and 1 cup flour.
4. Stir the ingredients together. Continue adding flour in small amounts until a soft dough forms. It will be just a smidge sticky. You might not need all the flour.
5. Roll out the dough into a rope on a lightly floured surface. Then cut with a knife it into 1-inch pieces. Roll them down the back of the tines of a fork. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
6. Put the gnocchi on a flour-dusted sheet pan as you roll them out. This helps to organize the dumplings and keep them from sitting on top of each other as you make them.
7. Make the sauce. Melt butter in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. After it melts, it will become foamy. Then brown specs will show up. Gently swirl the butter in the pan, and it will continue to brown and smell nutty.
8. Fry the sage in the brown butter. It will quickly crisp. Remove it from the pan with tongs and take the butter off the heat. While you do this, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the gnocchi.
9. Cook the gnocchi. Do this in batches. When the gnocchi are ready, they will float to the top of the water. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl.
10. Return the brown butter back to the heat and add the gnocchi, letting it brown at the edges. Divide it into bowls or put it on plates and top with Parmesan and crispy sage before serving.
You need something green like a salad to go with this sweet potato gnocchi. Try a simple arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette or an Italian chopped salad. For a side dish, you can serve crispy roasted brussels sprouts or sautéed broccolini.
You can keep gnocchi in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Warm it in the microwave or in a skillet over medium heat with a little butter or olive oil.
How To Freeze Homemade Gnocchi
It’s best to freeze uncooked gnocchi that already has been rolled out into dumplings. Freeze them in a single later on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Once they are frozen, you can combine them in a container, and they won’t stick together. You can keep them up to 1 month.
When you cook frozen gnocchi, it should be put frozen into the boiling water. There’s no need to thaw it. Stir the water around, so they don’t stick together. Also, cook them in batches because putting in frozen gnocchi will cause the temperature of the boiling water to drop.
Bake the potatoes instead of boiling them. When you bake potatoes, the flesh turns out much drier. Many recipes call for boiling, but any extra water can create dense dumplings.
Think light and fluffy when you’re making the dough. When the baked sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, use a fork to scoop out the flesh and run them through a potato ricer or food mill. If you don’t have one of these gadgets, you can press the flesh through a fine mesh strainer. Do not skip this step. Try not to just mash them with a fork.
This is a great recipe to make with family or friends. You can share responsibilities of making the dough. Then do an assembly line of rolling the dough into ropes, slicing it and rolling the dumplings on a fork. And don’t worry if things get a little messy or if your gnocchi aren’t uniform. They can be rustic.
More Gnocchi Recipes
You don’t always have to make gnocchi from scratch. Here are a few recipes using store-bought gnocchi:
Cherry Tomato Gnocchi
Baked Gnocchi with Mushrooms & Spinach
Mushroom Asparagus Gnocchi
Sheet Pan Gnocchi with Roasted Vegetables
Skillet Red Pepper White Bean Gnocchi
Pesto Gnocchi with Sun Dried Tomatoes
Did you try this gnocchi recipe? Please leave a rating and comment below. Thanks!
Sweet Potato Gnocchi Recipe
- 3 medium sweet potatoes about 2 pounds
- 2/3 cup ricotta cheese drained
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/3 cup Parmesan grated, plus more for serving
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus more for serving
- 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake on a sheet pan until tender, about 1 hour.
- When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, halve them, scoop out the flesh and feed them through a potato ricer or food mill into a large bowl.
- Stir in the ricotta, egg yolk, Parmesan, salt, pepper and 1 cup flour. Stir in additional flour in small amounts until you have a workable soft dough that is a little sticky. You may not need all the flour.
- On a lightly floured work surface, take a handful of dough and roll it into a 1/2-inch thick rope. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces and roll down the tines of the back of a fork.
- Transfer the gnocchi to a sheet pan dusted with flour. Arrange them in single layer to keep them from sitting on top of each other before you cook them.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- While the water is heating, you can make the brown butter. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. The butter will turn foamy. Then look for brown specs to appear as the foam subsides. Swirl the butter a bit and it will continue to brown and smell nutty.
- Quickly fry the sage leaves in the brown butter until crisp, about 20 seconds. Use tongs to remove them from the butter and take the skillet off the heat.
- Cook the gnocchi in batches in the pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. They will float to the top when they are ready. Use a slotted spoon or spider to transfer to a bowl and cook the remaining gnocchi.
- Return the brown butter to low heat and gently toss the gnocchi in the butter until they are browned at the edges.
- Serve topped with fried sage and Parmesan cheese.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Originally published March 25, 2013. Updated: February 13, 2023.