Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage and Brown Butter | December 1, 2008

Welcome back, children–I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I won’t post about any holiday cooking, since I didn’t prepare anything new and different (I was responsible for white chicken stock, bourbon pecan pie, and Hanky Panky).  So, instead, here’s another recipe from The Great Gnocchi Experiment of 2008.

After regular potato gnocchi turned out so well, I decided to step things up and attempt this Bon Appetit version with sweet potatoes.  It sounded so delicious–all of the components were solid, and I felt like the flavors would mesh perfectly together–but to be honest, I was not a fan of the end result.  It was just WAY too sweet, even with the sage and brown butter sauce (which didn’t get as thick as I would have liked, but that’s a separate problem).  Perhaps you could tweak this recipe to cut some of the sweetness–if you do that, let me know how it turns out!  Me, I think I’ll just stick to the regular gnocchi from now on.  Serves me right for trying to be all fancy.

  • 2 1-pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), rinsed, patted dry, pierced all over with fork
  • 1 12-ounce container fresh ricotta cheese, drained in sieve 2 hours 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 3/4 cups (about) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh sage plus whole leaves for garnish

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place sweet potatoes on plate; microwave on high until tender, about 5 minutes per side. Cut in half and cool. Scrape sweet potato flesh into medium bowl and mash; transfer 3 cups to large bowl. Add ricotta cheese; blend well. Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and nutmeg; mash to blend. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto floured surface; divide into 6 equal pieces. Rolling between palms and floured work surface, form each piece into 20-inch-long rope (about 1 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. Cut each rope into 20 pieces. Roll each piece over tines of fork to indent. Transfer to baking sheet.

Bring large pot of water to boil; add 2 tablespoons salt and return to boil. Working in batches, boil gnocchi until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet. Cool completely. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Preheat oven to 300°F. Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until butter solids are brown and have toasty aroma, swirling pan occasionally, about 5 minutes.

Add chopped sage (mixture will bubble up). Turn off heat. Season sage butter generously with salt and pepper.

Transfer half of sage butter to large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add half of gnocchi. Sauté until gnocchi are heated through, about 6 minutes. Empty skillet onto rimmed baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining sage butter and gnocchi.

Divide gnocchi and sauce among shallow bowls. Garnish with sage leaves.




  1. Eeek, maybe leaving the brown sugar out entirely would garner better results?

    Comment by Lemmonex — December 1, 2008 @ 2:01 pm

  2. Yeah, I thought of that. If I attempt something like this again, I will not be adding any sugar to the already-sweet yammy goodness.

    Comment by bettyjoan — December 1, 2008 @ 7:39 pm

  3. I would definitely leave out the brown sugar, most of the time the SP are sweet enough on their own. You could also try adding a touch of chipotle powder for some added depth/heat. The brown butter can be sweet and nutty as well. Also try frying whole sage leaves for a different texture.(I recently made a dish similar to this)

    Comment by Chicken Fried Gourmet — December 4, 2008 @ 1:09 am

  4. Great suggestions, CFG–I particularly like the chipotle powder idea. Thanks!

    Comment by bettyjoan — December 4, 2008 @ 12:32 pm

  5. Made these today without the brown sugar. Turned out amazing !

    Comment by Robin Wright-Calvano — November 3, 2009 @ 10:53 pm

  6. Great, Robin! I’ll have to revisit this recipe soon and follow your lead.

    Comment by bettyjoan — November 5, 2009 @ 2:32 pm

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