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Recipe: Sweet potato gnocchi with creamy mushrooms

Big on flavour, low on fuss (and it looks impressive on the plate) – Sam Linsell’s easy midweek, meat-free gnocchi ai funghi really dials up the comfort factor

By House & Garden South Africa | June 22, 2022 | Recipes

This sweet potato gnocchi with creamy mushrooms, brown butter & crispy sage is the most autumnal recipe you can get. This is an impressive vegetarian dish with all the cosy flavours you will love.

The sweetness of the potatoes is balanced with the savoury umami flavour of the creamy mushrooms. I have used a mix of porcini and other exotic mushrooms including shitake. If you can’t get hold of these, replace them with Portobello mushrooms.

I added ricotta to the gnocchi as this keeps them light and fluffy. This is a hybrid between gnocchi and gnudi. Gnudi are gnocchi-like dumplings made with ricotta cheese instead of potato and can be a little delicate to work with. They fall apart if not handled very carefully. These are firm enough to withstand the pan-frying after they are cooked. You could skip this part, but I love the golden caramelisation the pan gives them.

Tips for making sweet potato gnocchi with creamy mushrooms:

  1. Roast the sweet potatoes in advance. You can do this in your oven or an air fryer. This will lead to a slightly drier and more dense texture than if you boil them. Slice in half and allow the steam to evaporate.
  2. Once you have added the flour in three parts, work very lightly. You don’t want to overwork the dough at this stage. This will release gluten and cause the gnocchi to become tough.
  3. I added some freshly grated Parmesan to the mix as well as lashings to the finished dish (obviously). I also did not skimp on crispy sage leaves. They crisp up a little further after they come out of the pan.

What you’ll need:

Sweet potato gnocchi:

  • 1 large or 2 medium/large orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (roasted and 1 ½ cups or 350gms used in the recipe)
  • 125gms / ½ cup ricotta
  • 3 Tbs finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 230gms / 1 ½ cups flour (cake or all-purpose)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil to coat
  • Extra freshly grated Parmesan to serve
Fried sage leaves

Brown butter & crispy sage:

  • 15gms sage leaves
  • 70gms salted butter
Creamy mushroom

Creamy mushrooms:

  • 300gms – 400gms mixed exotic mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 40gms butter
  • 2–3 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup dry white wine (De Grendel Chardonnay) or mushroom stock
  • 250ml/1 cup cream (can be single or whipping cream)

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the gnocchi:

Make in advance: Roast the sweet potato on a tray in an oven that has been preheated to 200C/400F. Roast for 50 minutes – to 1 hour depending on the size. The sweet potato is done when its knife tender all the way through. Slice in half and allow to cool. Then peel off the skin and mash.

Fried sweet potato gnocchi

To make the gnocchi:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl add the cooked and cooled sweet potato, ricotta, grated Parmesan and egg. Season very well with salt and pepper. Mix to combine and break up any lumpy bits of cheese.
  2. Add the flour in 3 parts, lightly mixing to combine. Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface and knead briefly to get to a smooth dough. Add a little extra flour if it is too sticky. Do not overwork the dough.
  3. Divide the dough ball into 3 even pieces and then divide each of those into 2. You will have a total of 6 balls. Gently roll each ball into a long log shape approximately 25cm long. Cut off pieces about 2cm long and set them aside on a tray lined with flour or non-stick baking paper.
  4. When you are ready to cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salty water to a rolling boil. Cook the gnocchi in 3 parts with the lid off. Once all the gnocchi float to the surface (after 4 – 5 minutes), scoop them out and drain them in a colander. Once drained, tip them onto a rimmed tray and toss gently with a good splash of olive oil to prevent them from sticking together. Repeat for the remaining 2 batches. You can do this in advance or proceed to the next step.
  5. When you are ready to serve and the mushroom sauce and sage butter have been made, heat a large non-stick skillet and toss the gnocchi and olive oil from the tray into the pan. Cook until the gnocchi are golden on each side. Add a little extra olive oil if necessary.
  6. Add the cooked gnocchi to the hot creamy mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the gnocchi between bowls. Drizzle over the brown butter (ensure you leave the brown bits at the bottom of the pan behind) and top with the crispy sage leaves and a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan.

To make the brown butter and crispy sage:

In a small pan, melt the butter until bubbling. Fry the sage leaves in 2 batches until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel to drain (it will crisp up more after it has been fried). Reserve the brown butter.

To make the creamy mushrooms:

  1. Melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet and fry the mushrooms until they are lightly golden. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. You do not want it to take on colour as it will become bitter. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and cook until it has evaporated.
  2. Add the cream and cook until it has thickened slightly. About 2 minutes. At this point, you are ready to add the pan-fried gnocchi.

Words by Sam Linsell, recipe developer and cookbook author. Find more recipes by Sam at drizzleanddip.com