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Believe it or not, there are actually plenty of times where I don’t feel like making something from scratch. Some days I come home from work, and I throw a Lean Cuisine in the microwave and call it a day.

Last Monday was not that kind of day.

While many people mourned the rainy Labor Day, I relished in it. Put on my PJs and my apron and went to town crafting what I deem the most heavenly meal I’ve ever created. I know it’s not practical to always cook like this. I know it’s messy and time consuming. But sometimes, it’s just worth it. So the next time you really want to impress someone special, get a little more intimate with your kitchen, or take on a challenge, give making your own gnocchi a try. 😉

For my most practical of readers, there is good news! Homemade gnocchi freezes well. If you want to make the gnocchi on a Sunday afternoon and freeze it, you can throw it in some water and whip up a sauce during the week. I’ll make gnocchi once, freeze it, and eat away at my stash for the next month.

Now traditionally gnocchi would be made with regular potatoes, but I couldn’t resist the urge to Fall it up a bit. The sweetness of sweet potato (you don’t say?) mixed with the tanginess of the goat cheese is to die for—one of my favorite food combos evs. The toasted pecans on the top give it a nice crunchy texture. I literally started shoveling this into my mouth before I could take photos of it. There was almost no photographic evidence this ever even existed. Usually I spend time thinking about lighting and composition. Not this time. I threw it on the table, snapped 3 photos of it and proceeded to indulge.

So get your cooking pants on, pop open a bottle of red, and enjoy!

The Ingredients

Gnocchi
2 large sweet potatoes (you’ll need 2-2.5 cups of sweet potato once cooked)
2.5 cups of flour + extra flour for rolling dough
2 tsp salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp nutmeg
 
Goat Cheese Sauce
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
3 oz goat cheese
1 ½ cup of milk
½ cup of half and half (can use all milk if you prefer, but half and half will make it creamier)
Salt to taste
 
Topping
2/3 cup of chopped pecans, toasted (Toast on in dry sauté pan over medium heat for 5-8 minutes)
 

The Directions

Gnocchi

  1. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork several times and cook in the microwave for 6-10 minutes, flipping every 2 minutes. My potatoes took 10 minutes, but they were massive. If you have smaller potatoes, this will take less time. It’s better for the potatoes to be overdone rather than underdone. You should be able to stick a knife very easily into the potato. If you’d prefer to bake the potatoes in the oven, you could do that as well. You’d need to bake them at 400 degrees for about an hour though. The taste won’t be much different in the gnocchi.
  2. Once your potatoes are cooked, cut a slit down the middle and let cool. Once potatoes are cool, the skin will pull away from the potatoes very easily. Scoop out the sweet potato and put in a large mixing bowl.

  3. Mash the sweet potato using a potato masher or a fork. The sweet potatoes will mash very easily. Add the salt, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper and continue to mash until the consistency if very smooth. (At this point the sweet potatoes may taste over-seasoned. That’s okay. We’re going to add flour to this, so we’ll want the flavor to be a bit stronger here.)

  4. Add the flour to the sweet potato mixture one cup at a time, stirring it in with a spoon at first. Once the mixture becomes too thick to stir with a spoon, place the mixture on a floured surface and knead the rest of the flour into the dough. The dough will be very sticky! Depending on the moisture in your sweet potatoes, you may need to add additional flour. The key is to use enough flour so that you can work with the dough, but not so much flour that your gnocchi get very dense and bland. The less flour you can get away with the better.

  5. Segment the dough and roll small balls into ropes, about ½ inches in diameter. To save time and keep my gnocchi consistent widths, I put the gnocchi dough into a piping bag and piped ropes. The dough gets sticky when going through the piping bag, so you’ll want to pipe it into a floured surface. This part can be frustrating, but keep going with it!


  6. Cut the ropes into 1 inch pieces. Voila! You’ve made gnocchi! You can make fancy shapes in the gnocchi with your fork, but I like the rustic look. If you’re not going to use it right away, you can put the baking sheet with the gnocchi on it in the freezer. Once it is frozen, you can put the gnocchi in a Ziploc bag and return to the freezer.

  7. If you’re not freezing it, drop the gnocchi into salted boiling water. When the gnocchi are cooked, they will float to the top. This will only take a few minutes. Fish them out and top them with sauce.

Goat Cheese Cream Sauce

  1. Melt 2 tbsp of butter over medium high head in a medium saucepan. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and mix well to begin the roux. Let the roux cook for a few minutes to cook out the flour taste.

  2. Add the milk and half and half to the roux and stir constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Because we are using milk and not all half and half here, this may take a bit more time. It took me about 6 minutes over medium heat for the sauce to thicken properly. When the sauce thickens, you’ll easily be able to coat the back of the spoon with the sauce.
  3. Once the sauce has started to thicken, reduce heat and add the goat cheese to the sauce and stir until it is melted. Salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Toss the gnocchi with the cream sauce and top with the toaste pecans.  Serve Hot! The goat cheese sauce gets very thick when it cools.

Happy cooking!

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