For a while now I’ve been thinking about making gnocchi. A few months ago I bought a gnocchi board and it’s been sitting in my drawer of kitchen tools in its packaging, unused but not forgotten. This week, some wild mushrooms at the market looked like they’d make a good sauce for white sweet potato gnocchi, and I decided it was time to unwrap that little wooden board.
But the mushrooms and gnocchi alone seemed kind of boring, and I wanted to do something more interesting. I’d recently read a recipe for a warm mushroom salad with a yuzu vinaigrette. I’ve never used yuzu in my cooking before and thought it would be fun to turn this Italian bite into something more Asian influenced.
Part of my wanting to make gnocchi has to do with how much Jon loves them. He grew up making them with his family, and used to sit around the table rolling out hundreds of them. He’s actually pretty good at it, and turns out I wasn’t. He wound up showing me how to roll them with your thumb on the board. It took me a few tries to get it right…he made it look so easy!
The savory, bright flavored mushrooms sautéed with soy sauce, yuzu and garlic went really well with the sweetness of the white sweet potatoes and the hint of nutmeg. It was fun to use a new tool, and a new ingredient. These gnocchi were a delicious bite and Jon and I wound up eating the leftover mushrooms with a spinach salad for dinner. I hope you guys will give this a try for dinner one night, it was fun and challenging to make, and so satisfying, once I got it right.
(Makes 8-10 small portions)
For the Gnocchi:
½ lb white sweet potatoes
1 egg yolk
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup all purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 400º. On a foil-lined baking sheet, spread a thin layer of kosher salt. The salt will help the potatoes bake evenly all the way around.
- Bake sweet potatoes until a little over-cooked and very soft, about 35-40 minutes.
- Scoop out sweet potatoes and put potato through a ricer. If you don’t have a ricer, you can use the largest side of a box grater.
- Create a well in the center of the riced potatoes. Place yolk and cheese in the well and season the entire mixture with the salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Gently work the mixture together until just combined.
- Slowly add the flour in several batches, working the dough as lightly as possible until flour is just combined. Don’t over work the dough.
- You can test whether the dough is ready by rolling it out into a ½ inch diameter log. If the dough rolls and doesn’t break, it’s ready to go.
- Cut your dough into four pieces and roll each piece into a long, narrow log.
- Cut the log into squares and roll on a gnocchi board.
- Cook in boiling salted water until the gnocchis float to the surface. They don’t take long to cook, about a minute.
For the Mushroom Stew:
1 cup shiitakes
1 cup Hon Shimeji mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp soy sauce
Few splashes of yuzu
Salt and pepper
- Heat a sauté pan until very hot and add a tablespoon of oil.
- Add in minced garlic and sauté mushrooms on high heat until browned and a little crispy. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Add honey and allow to caramelize a little, then deglaze with sherry.
- Remove from heat and dress with soy sauce and yuzu – watch that yuzu, a little goes a long way. Mix with warm gnocchi and serve hot.
© 2012 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle