Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown-Butter Balsamic Sauce

I'm going to guess that most of you have your Thanksgiving meals all planned out by now. Turkey is defrosting, breadcrumbs are drying for stuffing, and pies are made. (I'm not cooking, so actually none of the above is true for me). If, however, you do not -- or you would like an excellent vegetarian entrée for your Thanksgiving (or other fall) meal, I would highly recommend these gnocchi. I actually found this recipe on Pinterest, which usually I shy away from (I've seen far too many of those "Pinterest Fail" pictures, which while hilarious, are usually not what I look for in a recipe), but when I saw that this recipe was from the amazing Aida Mollenkamp, I knew it would be good. And it doesn't fail to disappoint. I obviously love gnocchi in all forms, and you pretty much only have to mention the words "brown butter" to guarantee that I will want to try it.

On another note, happy Thanksgiving to you all! I hope you all have plans to eat and hang out with family and friends and eat your weight in turkey and mashed potatoes on this most wonderful of holidays. Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown-Butter Balsamic Sauce (adapted from aidamollenkamp.com)

For the gnocchi:

3  sweet potatoes (yams), halved lengthwise 1 Russet potato, halved lengthwise 1 tablespoon olive oil Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 1 egg, lightly beaten 2tablespoons honey 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 1/2 to 2 cups all purpose or white whole wheat flour

For the sauce:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter 12 to 15 fresh sage leaves 2 shallots, quartered and thinly sliced 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 cups arugula, spinach, or chard Freshly shaved parmesan, for garnish Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish


For the gnocchi:

(Gnocchi can be made through this step up to 1 month ahead. To store, place on a flat surface and freeze until frozen through. Transfer to an airtight container and keep frozen up to 1 month before using.)

Heat an oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, season with a few good pinches of salt and a few cranks of pepper, place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut-side down, and roast until fork tender, about 30 minutes.

Set aside until cool enough to handle. Scoop flesh out of skins then pass flesh through a potato ricer (or mash with back of a fork) and stir in egg and honey. Mix in salt and flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms. Taste and add additional salt, as needed. You’ve added flour when you touch the back of the dough and it is damp but not sticking to your hand.

Turn dough out onto floured surface and shape into a square. Divide into 16 equal pieces. Rolling between palms and floured work surface, form each piece into a rope (about 1/2 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. However, don’t add too much additional flour as too much will make for heavy gnocchi. Cut each rope into 1/2 -inch pieces.

Bring large pot of heavily salted water to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, simmer gnocchi until tender and they begin to rise to the surface, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer gnocchi to clean rimmed baking sheet. Reserve 1/2 cups of pasta cooking water and drain the rest.

For the sauce:

This is enough sauce for half of the gnocchi. If you want to cook off all the gnocchi, go ahead and double the recipe. Just a note that I’d recommend you make this sauce through twice as doing twice this amount in one pan would be unwieldy.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it foams, add sage and cook until crisp and fragrant.  Add shallot and, watching it carefully and stirring often,  allow the milk solids begin to brown and the butter becomes fragrant and nutty. Scrape along the bottom to prevent the solids from sticking and burning.

When the butter is brown, immediately remove from heat, and carefully stir in the vinegar (it may sting your eyes). Stir in gnocchi and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water, return to heat, and boil until sauce is thickened, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the arugula, spinach, or chard until greens are wilted. Add a lot of freshly ground black pepper, taste for seasoning and finish with additional pasta water, salt, black pepper, and freshly shaved parmesan.