Isn’t it funny how ‘jus’ sounds infinitely fancier than ‘sauce’. I promise I’m not just being super pretentious here – this red wine balsamic jus has quite a thin consistency and I wouldn’t want to disappoint anybody looking for a thick sauce.
Anyway, pretentious foodie words aside, let’s talk gnocchi! For years I hated the stuff – any I’d tried was heavy, dense and stodgy. That was until I tried some proper, freshly made gnocchi at a restaurant and realised how beautifully light and pillowy it could be!
Upon tasting this I set upon a mission to find out how to make my own. This is when I realised there doesn’t appear to be any general consensus on what gnocchi should actually be, other than little dumplings made of potato + some other stuff. I settled for a simple recipe using things that sounded tasty to me: sweet potatoes, flour and cheese. You could of course make this with regular potatoes but I love the vibrant colour and slight sweetness that this alternative brings.
Before you decide to give this a go, let me give you a couple of pointers (I was going to say warnings but that sounded rather ominous!):
:: The first thing to say is that whilst this is an easy recipe (in that it requires little skill), it is quite time consuming. If you’re anything like me, you’ll read the recipe, decide it looks pretty quick and disregard my warning. Don’t do it! Rolling out that dough takes sooo much longer than you’d think. Just trust me, OK?
:: Add as little flour as possible. Add it bit by bit and the moment you have a dough that you can lift out the bowl in one piece, stop! It’ll feel very, very soft but if you want that light, pillowy texture I talked about you’ll want to add the bare minimum of flour.
:: Once made, you can boil or pan fry the gnocchi. Personally, I like the added texture frying gives and find boiled gnocchi can sometimes feel a little slimy, but that’s just personal preference – do whatever you fancy
:: Aaand lastly, less a warning and more a bonus: this freezes SO well and can be cooked (boiled or fried!) straight from frozen! If you plan on making this for guests I’d recommend making it ahead of time and freezing. Or you know, wing it and risk them arriving to a kitchen and host covered in flour/sweet potato puree… Your call
- 1kg sweet potatoes
- 250g ricotta
- 50g grated parmesan
- 1 tsp salt
- 250g-300g plain flour + extra to flour surface
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 25g butter
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 10g butter
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 200ml stock
- 400ml red wine
- 4 tbsp balsamic glaze
- 75g soft goats cheese
- handful basil, finely chopped
- Pierce each of the sweet potatoes with a fork and cook in the microwave until fork-tender (about 5-10 minutes depending on size). Cut open and allow to cool a little before scooping the flesh into a bowl.
- Mash the sweet potato until smooth (I use my food processor). Add the ricotta, parmesan and salt and mix until fully combined and smooth. Sift the flour and add 50g at a time until a soft dough forms. The more flour you add, the denser the gnocchi will be so add just enough to form a dough.
- Tip the dough out onto a floured surface. Pull off a palm sized piece and roll into a long thin log. Flatten out and cut into pieces about 1 inch long. Use the back of a fork to make indentations on each piece. Set aside.
- To make the jus, heat the oil and butter in a large pan and fry the garlic, rosemary and red onion until soft. Add the stock and red wine and cook over a medium heat until reduced by half. Stir in the balsamic glaze. For a smooth jus, pass through a sieve to remove garlic/onions.
- To cook the gnocchi, heat the oil and butter in a frying pan then add the gnocchi. Cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes until gnocchi is browned on the outside. Alternatively, add to a pot of boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes until the gnocchi rise to the top.
- Serve with the jus and garnish with goats cheese and basil.
To freeze, spread out on a tray and place in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag or sealed tub. Gnocchi will defrost in about 10 minutes at room temperature, or can be cooked directly from frozen - simply add 2-3 minutes to cooking time.