The first time either of us ever had gnocchi was at a Christmas potluck dinner several years ago. Our friend brought it and before the meal started she raved about how good gnocchi was, and went on about how appalled she was that we hadn’t ever tried it.
Well after having some, we, too, were appalled at ourselves for waiting all that time to try the classic Italian dish! The soft little pillows of potato practically melted in your mouth! We’re pretty sure we both went back for seconds that night 🙂
Despite our delicious first experience with gnocchi, however, we’ve only had it maybe once since that dinner. Why? Well, at the time we were still very new to the kitchen, and so stuck to a very limited repertoire of dishes. For some reason going out on a limb and buying a bag of pre-made gnocchi and dousing it in pasta sauce seemed too adventurous. Boy, have the times changed!
We’re actually kind of glad, though, that we didn’t end up trying to re-create the dish at home with the store-bought stuff. In our opinions, that would be doing it a disservice. Sure, pre-made gnocchi would be good, but fresh and homemade is always better, wouldn’t you agree?
However, considering our very non-Italian heritage, we thought it would be better if we steered clear of the classic just-like-nonna-makes gnocchi. We’ll leave the authentic stuff up to her 😉
We asked ourselves, what’s even better than gnocchi? Which lead us to the underlying question, what’s better than potatoes? We think the answer is obvious. Why, sweet potatoes of course! And that is how this came to be:
Sweet potato gnocchi.
And not just any sweet potato gnocchi, but maple-sauteed ham and veggie sweet potato gnocchi! Seriously, people, this was goood! Our brother said it was very easily one of his favourite dishes we have ever made! Pretty high praise, if we do say so ourselves! And you know what’s fantastic about it? The gnocchi itself is quite easy to make (despite what other people on the internet say
to try and scare you) and it only takes three ingredients! (or four, depending on whether or not you use multiple types of flour)
Classic gnocchi uses just potato, salt, and flour, but when doing our research we found that many people add an egg or two to the dough to help it hold together better in the boiling water. Despite all of the warnings, we decided to forgo the egg addition and it worked out splendidly! Ours stayed together just fine 🙂
We also used a combination of white and whole wheat flour to improve the nutrition status of our meal. We didn’t try any gluten-free flours, but if you do, let us know how it goes!
So if you’ve never made gnocchi before, don’t be afraid! Despite what people may tell you, its actually quite easy, and so. Freakin’. Delicious.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Maple-Sauteed Ham and Veggies
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 10 min
For the Gnocchi:
2 very large cooked sweet potatoes, skins removed
1.5- 2 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
For the ham:
12 very thin slices of deli ham
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 cloves of garlic
1 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
2 c. chopped Bok Choi
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 c. sliced mushrooms
1 cup frozen green beans
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground sage
pepper, to taste
Mash up sweet potato and add salt. Add flour gradually until you have a dough that holds together but is still quite sticky. With wet hands, grab finger-fulls of the dough (about 1 tbsp of dough) and roll into a little log, about 1 inch long. Place on a floured sheet and continue until you have used all the dough.
Place the ham slices on a frying pan and turn to medium-high. Once you hear it sizzling a little, add the maple syrup and turn the ham to coat the slices in the syrup. Continue to cook and flip until the ham is browned and there is some caramelized syrup on the slices. remove from the pan and set aside.
To the same pan, add a tbsp of olive oil. Add all veggies except bok choi, and cook over medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, drop the pieces of dough into the water, giving them a gentle stir to prevent sticking. allow to boil for a few minutes, until they float to the top. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and add them to the pan with the veggies.
Add the bok choi, maple syrup, ground sage, soy sauce, and pepper to the pan and gently stir, being careful not to squish the gnocchi! Slice the ham into thin strips and add to the pan.
Separate onto plates and top with an additional drizzle of maple syrup, if desired.
Have you ever tried gnocchi?