Crispy Brown Butter Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Balsamic Caramelized Mushrooms + Goat Cheese



Dave and I have a Valentine's Day tradition of staying in and making some sort of pasta, rather than going out and fighting the "romantic" crowds at area restaurants. This year we prepared this gnocchi recipe together and enjoyed it with this Apple Fennel Salad as an appetizer.

Recipe from Half Baked Harvest

Ingredients:
-1 cup of mashed sweet potato
-1 cup pureed whole milk ricotta
-2 large eggs
-1 teaspoon kosher salt
-1/4 cup fresh parmesan, grated
-3-4 cups all-purpose flour 
-8 pounds cremini mushrooms, sliced
-6 tablespoons butter
-2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
-2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
-2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-1/2 teaspoon pepper
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Gnocchi
To make the gnocchi. Mix the mashed sweet potato, ricotta, eggs, salt and parmesan together in a large bowl. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix well with your hands. The dough should be very sticky. Add another half cup of flour and mix in. The dough will still be sticky, but you'll be able to shape it into a ball. If you can't form the dough into a large ball, keep adding a little flour at a time until you can get a soft dough that will be rollable.

Spread some flour on a large work surface. Cut the dough ball into four equal pieces. Take one piece and cut it in half. Roll the piece of dough into a snake about 1/2 inch thick, then cut it into pieces about the width of a fork. Repeat this process with the other piece of dough and place the gnocchi on a large plate, cover and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Sauce
In a medium skillet over high heat, melt two tablespoons of butter. Add the mushrooms to the skillet in a single layer and let them sizzle until they have caramelized on the bottom, about 2 minutes. When the bottoms are caramelized, toss them once and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Continue to cook without stirring for about 5 minutes. Season once again with salt and pepper.

Add the remaining butter and cook until it begins to brown. Once the butter is browned reduce the heat and add the garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook for about 10 seconds. Add the balsamic vinegar, and simmer until the mushrooms are glazed with the sauce.

Now boil the gnocchi in the large pot until they float. Remove them with a slotted spoon and add them right into the skillet with the mushrooms/sauce. Add the gnocchi to the skillet with the mushrooms/sauce and let them get crisp on one side for a few minutes and then for a few minutes on the other. Remove from the heat and serve topped with crumbled goat cheese.




I know this recipe seems to contain a lot of steps, but after you make the first few gnocchi you'll get the hang of it. Dave ended up liking this recipe a lot, it reminded him of a dish from one of our favorite local restaurants and he couldn't get enough gnocchi. 


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