This FoodPrints recipe is both homey and sophisticated and a fun project for a group (or family)! Serve with a tossed green salad for a delicious (meatless!) dinner.
Serves 4 to 6 as a main course
For the gnocchi:
2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 2 medium)
1 12-oz. container fresh ricotta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, more for serving
2 tsp salt
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, plus more for dusting
For the brown butter sauce:
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 handful of loosely packed fresh sage leaves
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Scrub and dry the sweet potatoes, then prick them all over with a fork. Place the sweet potatoes on a foil-lined cookie sheet and roast until fork-tender (about 1 hour). Cool, then peel and mash potatoes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and dust it with flour. You'll want this near your work surface when you start making the gnocchi.
Transfer 3 cups of the mashed sweet potatoes to a large bowl. Add the ricotta, stirring until thoroughly combined, then stir in 1 cup Parmesan cheese and 2 tsp salt.
Start adding the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing with your hands until a soft dough forms. Shape the dough into a large ball.
Lightly flour your work surface and divide the dough into six equal portions. Take one portion and gently roll and stretch it on your work surface or between your hands until it's about 20 inches in length (about the length of a standard cookie sheet).
Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces to form each gnocchi (each "rope" should yield about 20 gnocchi). Using the back of a fork, press each gnocchi into the tines to form indentations (which will soak up the delicious sauce you're about to make), then transfer them to the floured baking sheet. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the remaining five pieces of dough.
Prior to boiling the gnocchi, make the brown butter sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook the butter until the foam subsides and it begins to turn a golden brown color, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the sage leaves, allowing them to cook for 1 minute. Remove the brown butter from the heat and stir in the balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.
When you're ready to cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add a portion of the gnocchi to the boiling water, stir, and then let the gnocchi cook until they float back up to the top, about 1 minute.
Remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving bowl. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining gnocchi and toss your delicious little orange morsels with the prepared brown butter sauce. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve.
Note: uncooked gnocchi will keep in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for a few months. If you can resist eating them all that first meal, that is.