14 December 2010

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Red Wine Sauce

Original recipes can be found here and here. They go surprisingly well together!

This could also be an oven-free recipe if you boiled the sweet potato. I chose to roast it for extra flavour.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Makes about 50 gnocchi (enough for 4 meals)

4 large sweet potatoes

1 and 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cheesecloth (I used a clean pillowcase)
Or about 100g ricotta cheese

2 eggs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cups flour

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into chunks. Put into a baking dish and toss with salt, pepper and oil. Roast at 180 degrees C for 40-50 minutes. (I layered the sweet potato in a narrow dish and it took about 55 minutes for all of it to cook - if all the potato was at one level it would cook faster.)

In the meantime, make ricotta: mix the milk, cream and lemon juice in a pan and put over a medium heat for five to ten minutes, until the curds and whey have separated. Stir occasionally to minimize any of the milk sticking to the pan. Put your cheesecloth into a colander and drain the ricotta. Leave for two minutes, and then squeeze gently to remove excess whey. Tip the ricotta into a mixing bowl.

Add 2 eggs to the ricotta and beat. Add the brown sugar and grated ginger and stir to combine.

Remove the cooked potato from the oven and mash it, trying to break up any lumps. Spoon the mash into the ricotta-egg mixture and stir everything together. Gradually add the two cups of flour while stirring everything through until you have a slightly sticky dough. With clean hands, pick up about a tablespoon of the dough and roll it into a gnocchi-shaped ball. If the dough sticks to your hands too readily, add some oil and re-mix. (Our potatoes roasted in quite a lot of oil, and I believe this helped the sweet potato dough achieve a texture which made it very easy to work with.)

Make the dough into gnocchi-esque balls - we got fifty exactly from ours. Boil a pan of water and drop some of the gnocchi into it (how many will depend on the size of the pan). Once the gnocchi float (this will take longer for the larger gnocchi, although generally about two to three minutes), remove them from the pan and serve. A regular serving is about thirteen gnocchi balls per adult, I find - although I did eat chocolate afterwards.

If there is any unused gnocchi, do not boil it. This can be refrigerated or frozen. With frozen gnocchi you can boil it exactly the same way as unfrozen gnocchi - it will add no more than a minute to the cooking time.

Red Wine Sauce
Serves 2

1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 cup black raspberry wine (or substitute a slightly sweet red wine)
2 chicken stock cubes
100ml boiling water
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon cream cheese
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon gravy powder
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon thyme

This sauce takes about twenty minutes, so I started mine as the sweet potato came out of the oven and was being mashed; it required very little attention except for the odd taste and stir.

Chop the onion and garlic and fry in oil until soft. Add the red wine and allow the sauce to bubble for two minutes. Add the chicken stock and boiling water and stir. After two minutes, add the mustard and cream cheese. This then simmered for a little over five minutes while I made the gnocchi. In a separate bowl, mix the soy sauce and gravy powder together to form a paste and add this paste to the pan. After five minutes, during which the sauce should have reduced a little, add the balsamic vinegar and thyme. Season to taste. Once the gnocchi is done, this will be ready to serve.