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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Bacon and Caramelized Onions

October 30, 2011

I’ve realized over the years that fall is quite possibly my favorite season for vegetables. Summer is amazing in all its bounty (and tomatoes) but fall just warms my heart and makes the imposing frigid temperatures seem somewhat bearable. We have been inundated with winter squashes the last few weeks – acorn, spaghetti, butternut and the last of the summer yellow squash. There have been many a squash experiment, and there is sure to be much deliciousness posted from that soon – but for today, the star is the sweet potato.

I am fairly certain the sweet potato can do no wrong. From the recent rise in popularity of sweet potato fries, to Sweet Potato Cakes, to the simple baked, mashed or roasted – it is the perfect platform for delicious. This week we decided to dig into our Italian side and create a sweet potato gnocchi!

I have always had an inherent issue with sweet potato version of gnocchi, and it mainly comes down everyone’s predisposition about to the required sauce. The interwebs would have you believe the only thing you can do with sweet potato gnocchi is cover it in a brown butter sauce and top it with nutmeg.  The sweet potato gnocchi does not have the sweetness of say a roasted sweet potato, so why do we feel limited to butter and nutmeg?  While I am pretty convinced that most any sauce would be a delicious accompaniment to this gnocchi – I was determined to take the stereotype and kick it up a notch.  Needless to say – success was achieved (helped greatly by the fact that, let’s be honest, bacon wins every time)


Yield – 2-3 servings as main dish, 3-4 as side dish

2 medium sweet potatoes
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 – 2 cups flour (approx)
1 tsp kosher salt

1 medium onion, diced
4 slices of bacon
4 Tbs butter
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp ground sage
1 tsp nutmeg
salt to taste

Prepare a large pot of salted water, bring to a boil. Peel and cube sweet potato; add to boiling water. Boil 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are pierced easily with a fork. Drain and allow to cool.

In a food processor add the potatoes, egg yolks and salt. Blend until smooth. Scrape mixture into a medium bowl and gradually add the flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, allowing it to incorporate before adding more. Continue adding flour until a solid, but slightly sticky, dough forms (approx 1.5-2 cups).  Place dough in a covered bowl and refrigerate until needed.
(At this point, the dough can be refrigerated overnight or frozen for later use.)

To a medium saute pan, add the onion and 2 Tbs butter. Saute until golden brown, adding olive oil if needed to keep from burning. When the onions have gotten some decent caramelization going on (about 8 minutes), add the bacon. Allow to cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is crispy. Remove bacon & onions onto a paper towel to drain & wipe the saute pan clean.

Remove gnocchi dough from the fridge and cut off a baseball size chunk. On a floured surface, roll out the dough with your hands, until you have a long snake roughly 1″ thick. Cut the dough into 1/2″ pieces and set aside. Repeat with remaining dough. (If you have a gnocchi board, roll each piece along the board before cooking. This is not necessary but will create groves in the pasta which allow for better sauce retention.)

Bring a pot of water to a boil and add half of the gnocchi – boil until the gnocchi float to the top, roughly 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove & drain and repeat with the remaining gnocchi.

While the gnocchi are cooking, add the remaining butter, olive oil, sage, nutmeg and salt to the saute pan. Keep on low heat to melt the butter, stirring occasionally. When gnocchi have finished cooking, add to the saute pan along with the bacon & onion mixture. Stir until all combined and covered in sauce – serve topped with freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. gourmetgadgetgal permalink
    November 15, 2011 12:00 pm

    Yes to bacon in the gnocchi sauce!! I agree with you completely about the brown butter/nutmeg comment. I’m so much better with sweet potatoes when they aren’t cloying with syrupy sweetness. Also, is there anything in the world that smells better than onions and bacon cooking together?

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