I finally got my hands on a purple sweet potato!!! One day at lunch I noticed that Qing was eating something that had a beautiful purple color and I immediately knew what it was. You see, months earlier I had been searching for purple sweet potatoes after finding out they existed at all. Unfortunately my search produced no results. That was until Qing informed me that her friend grows them in his backyard! The very next day she came in and handed me the biggest sweet potato I have ever laid my eyes on. In other words, I am going to be making more than one recipe out of that baby.
This purple beauty came into my life at the perfect time too, because I recently discovered that November is “Better Nutrition Month”. Orange fleshed sweet potatoes are praised for being one of the best sources for beta-carotene (the precursor to Vitamin A). But what about purple sweet potatoes? Their purple color is caused by anthocyanins which have important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. But no matter the color, sweet potatoes contribute greatly towards your daily intake of Vitamin A and antioxidants. Totally nutritious and delicious! Now let’s make some gnocchi out of it, because it’s my favorite thing to make out of potatoes.
Obviously, I do not expect you to find your own personal purple sweet potato grower but you can most definitely make these gnocchi with a regular sweet potato. I am not aware of any taste difference, but my color preference is most definitely biased. However, when trying to decide what kind of sauce to make with these gnocchi I was perplexed. At first I thought of a pancetta butter sauce, but felt like that was just an easy way out after the butter sauce I served with another sweet potato gnocchi recipe I posted. But then I though of the lighter alfredo that I love so much and decided to change it up a bit with goat cheese instead of using cream cheese. Now I want to smother everything in this goat cheese alfredo sauce. It’s so stinking good! And not overpowering, for those of you that might not enjoy a strong goat cheese flavor.
PURPLE SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI WITH LIGHTER GOAT CHEESE ALFREDO
Serves 4, with some extra sauce
1 lb purple sweet potatoes (about 2 cups cooked and mashed)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
3 oz. goat cheese
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp light butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
- For the Gnocchi: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake the sweet potatoes until tender and fully cooked, between 40 to 55 minutes depending on size. Cool slightly.
- Cut in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Mash the sweet potatoes and transfer to a large measuring cup to make sure the sweet potatoes measure about 2 cups.
- Transfer the mashed sweet potatoes back to the large bowl. Add the egg, salt, nutmed, and pepper and blend until well mixed. Add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time until a soft dough forms. Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough in a ball on the work surface. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls. Roll out each ball into a 1/2-inch wide rope. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces.
- If desired, roll the gnocchi over the tines of a fork using your thumb. Transfer the formed gnocchi to a large baking sheet lightly sprinkled with flour. Continue with the remaining gnocchi.*
- For the Alfredo: In a food processor or blender, combine milk, cream cheese, flour, and salt. Process until smooth and set aside.
- In a medium-large sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
- Add the milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3-4 minutes until the sauce begins to simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should become thicker.
- Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan until melted and cover the pan immediately.
- Let stand for at least 10 minutes prior to using. It will continue to thicken to desired consistency.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the gnocchi in 3 batches and cook until tender but still firm to the bite; they will float when they are done. Drain the gnocchi using a slotted spoon and sprinkle with olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Serve (I served it with pecan crusted chicken).
*If you would like to save some of the gnocchi for later, after forming the gnocchi, freeze on a cookie sheet in a single layer then transfer to a sealed freezer bag. When you want to cook them, proceed with directions, although they may take a tiny bit longer to cook.
Source: Gnocchi adapted from Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Browned Butter Sauce. Alfredo adapted from Lighter Fettuccine Alfredo.