Gnocchi are pillows of joy. I’ve been teaching gnocchi-making classes for over 10 years, to sold out crowds. People just love the idea of making their own gnocchi, and we all get to roll up our sleeves and make mountains of tender dumplings. What few people realize before coming to class is that you can make gnocchi out of just about anything. Take these Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi.
Purple Sweet Potatoes Make Beautiful Gnocchi
You eat with your eyes, before a single bite is taken. And when you take a look at these brilliant purple, bite sized dumplings, you are taking in a visual feast. Their beauty is more than skin-deep, too, with a sweet, nutty flavor that gives a plain potato gnocchi some real competition.
The Stokes Purple is Perfect For Gnocchi
I’ve written before about my obsession with the Stokes Purple Sweet Potato. Like here: Purple Sweet Potato Fries with Avocado, and in these Quesadillas, or a Wrap Sandwich or even this recent post about Hasselback Purple Sweet Potatoes.
But there’s a very good reason to make gnocchi with this particular variety of sweet potato. It’s perfect for gnocchi because the texture is relatively dry and meaty. The more moisture a vegetable contains, like say, a butternut squash or an orange sweet potato, the more flour it takes to make the gnocchi dough. The more flour, the tougher and less flavorful the gnocchi will be.
Purple Means Antioxidants
So, not only are they show-stoppingly pretty, but they are extra flavorful and tender. The same pigment that makes them so gorgeous is also an antioxidant. Anthocyanins, the pigment that makes blueberries blue, gives the sweet potato superfood status. So far, scientists think that eating plenty of it will keep you a little safer from heart disease, cancer, dementia, and vision problems. So you might as well enjoy a delicious treat while keeping diseases at bay.
A Good Gnocchi is a Tender Gnocchi
Gnocchi are such a simple, elemental food. A mash or puree of a vegetable or bean, bread, cheese, or grain, mixed with just enough flour to make a dough, then made into bite-sized dumplings and poached in simmering water. The dough pictured above shows the secret- just enough flour will make a dough without diluting the color.
Always make the dough a little on the moist side and then cook a tester gnoccho, before adding more flour. If the dumpling doesn’t fall apart and is tasty, you can go ahead and shape the rest. You can shape the gnocchi and wrap the whole tray, then refrigerate for a few days before cooking, too. Once cooked, any leftovers can be microwaved for a delicious second meal.
Once you try purple gnocchi, those plain white potato gnocchi will seem, well, pale by comparison.
Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Herbs
- 1 pound Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour
- 1 cup unbleached flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme chopped
- 1 cup yellow grape tomatoes halved
- vegan parm or parmesan if desired
- Halve the sweet potatoes lengthwise and steam until very tender, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely before stripping off the skins and pureeing the flesh in a food processor. Place the puree on a clean countertop. Put on a large pot of water to boil for the gnocchi. Get a sheet pan and lightly flour it, and get out your spider skimmer, or a slotted spoon for catching the finished gnocchi. Place a large colander in a large bowl and reserve.
- Add the chickpea flour, unbleached flour, and salt. Gently knead the mixture together until well mixed and smooth, don't over mix. Pinch off a piece of dough the size of a gnocchi, roll it into a ball, then drop it into the simmering water. It will drop to the bottom. When it bobs to the top, scoop it out with a spider strainer or a slotted spoon. Test the gnocchi by biting it in half. If it's holding together and tender in the center, you are ready to shape the rest.
- Divide the dough into four pieces. Lightly flour the counter and roll each piece out to a snake about as wide as your finger. Use a bench knife or a chefs knife to cut the snake into 1/2 to 3/4 inch long pieces. Use a fork to press ridges in each gnocchi and place on the floured sheet pan.
- Once all the gnocchi are formed, you can cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- To serve, drop about 10 gnocchi at a time into the simmering water, and as they bob to the top, scoop them out. Place in the colander and drizzle with olive oil, shake to coat. Keep going until all are done.
- To serve, warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the garlic and herbs and bring to a sizzle, just until fragrant. Add the warm gnocchi and tomatoes and stir over medium heat until the gnocchi are coated with oil and herbs. Serve immediately.