You have to understand, I was sick. I mean take two Nyquil and don’t bother me unless the apartment is on fire sick. So what possessed me to drag my delirious self out of bed and declare my intention to make gnocchi is beyond me.
I made something. It was pretty good. It was not gnocchi. I really don’t recommend cooking under the influence of powerful antihistamines. Of course, when under said influence, lots of things seem like good ideas.
The first hitch came with the fact that I generally assume about two potatoes makes a pound. This logic does not hold if you are using the biggest sweet potatoes known to man. These suckers were about a pound each. So I had to double the recipe. Feel free to cut it back down to normal proportions if you aren’t cooking for a largish family.
Ingredients (serves about 6)
2 pounds sweet potato
2 eggs plus 2 yolks
1 cup grated parmesan
1/2 of a grated nutmeg (1 or 1 1/2 t, I think.)
2 t sea salt
2 1/2 cups flour, or as needed
Rub the sweet potatoes with olive oil and salt the skins. Make a nice long slice across the top, and bake at 425°F for about 45 minutes, until a fork poked into them meets minimal resistance. The one long slice makes it easier to break them open and scoop out the innards.
The insides of these were so oozingly soft that I didn’t even need to scoop out the flesh. I just grabbed the skin and pulled, and it lifted right off. It was also nice and crispy from the olive oil, so I may have noshed on the skins while making the rest of dinner. Maybe. You can’t prove a thing.
Mash or rice the potato flesh, add the parmesan, nutmeg, and salt, and mix well with a fork. Don’t use an electric mixer. Potatoes turn to glue rather easily when overworked.
Add a cup of flour, and mix that with a fork too.
Then the eggs and yolks. Then you’ll just add flour about 1/2 a cup at a time, mixing as you go, until the dough is firm enough to lift out of the bowl in one piece. I kept getting impatient and reaching in (wondering why I needed so much flour when I only used two potatoes. Not the best judgment that night, let me tell you.)
Once it is a dough instead of a sticky mess, plop it onto a nice floured surface and chop it into logs.
Then you’ll roll those logs into long snaky shapes about 3/4 of an inch in diameter. And chop those into inch long bites. At this point, all hope of gnocchi was lost, because I was tired and hungry and I was not going to form each little cylinder into a happy little shape on the back of my fork. I didn’t care that half of them were misshapen horrors. I got out my pot of boiling water and dumped them in.
Boil the dumplings, in batches if you have too many, for about 5 minutes. Once they float, you’re good to go. Set aside while you make the sauce and announce the change of dinner plans.
“We’re having dumplings,” I said. Mr B, to his credit, just blinked and asked if I was okay. “Yes.” I said (not true) “I just hate gnocchi.” It’s a good thing he understands that I am incurably weird. Though I bet he’ll be confused next time I announce that I’m making gnocchi. Because it will happen.
But hey, I promised you sauce! And what a sauce, sharp and bitter to counter the sweetness in the potato, creamy and sticky enough to cling to the dumplings that I didn’t bother to shape, and so good I wanted to renounce alfredo sauce forever. Until I remembered how much I love alfredo sauce. But still.
Havarti Cream Sauce Ingredients
1 T flour
1 T butter
1 cup cream
1/3 pound havarti, grated
Melt the butter and whisk in the flour for a bully little roux. Add the cream and whisk a minute so that it incorporated the roux and heats enough to melt the cheese.
Add the cheese. Once everything is thick and melty, toss in the dumplings. Incidentally, I usually make sauces in my wok, because it makes tossing the pasta in the sauce ten times easier. But somehow, even in my little one-and-a-half-quart pot, we managed.
You could be done now. Just serve. You could, like Mr. B, hate all that is good in life. Or just peas. (Seriously, who hates peas?) I boiled some peas with the second batch of dumplings (hooray for multitasking) and added them to my bowl. Then garnish with a bit more nutmeg.
Lovely. They add color and texture and a different kind of sweetness to the mix. Maybe next time I’ll just make the sauce and pour it over a whole plate of vegetables. It’d be easier. That said, this was exactly the sort of thing I needed for a sick day. I think I just needed someone else to cook it. Oops.