Spicy Sweet Potato and Spinach Gnocchi

I had no spicy intentions when I started making this Gnocchi with my 9 year old. But then something inside me takes over, and I start by seasoning it and then adding flavours that twist up all the flavours. This Spinach Gnocchi was one similar adventure.

This dish is not for the traditionalist or the purist – in fact, I can see them cringing at the thought of what I’m doing to such a beautiful, sweet, elegant and creamy comfort dish. I’ve just spruced it up and you might want to ignore the shapes of the Gnocchi since these were shaped by my 9 year old. It was his first time, and he absolutely loved helping Mum make muddy green coloured Gnocchi 🙂

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Getting the Gnocchi’s shape perfect, takes practice and patience. They are fun to make and one of those fun things that you can enjoy making with kids. They love getting their hands dirty and there will be lots of excess flour and things all over the kitchen floor and cabinets, but the enjoyment and fun quality time you would spend with your kids would be worth every second of the cleaning you would do afterwards!

The trick with the Gnocchi is balancing the right amount of flour that you add to the mixture, as it all depends on how moist the actual potatoes are as well as the humidity levels for where you are. I am based in Calgary, and our climate is extremely dry so I needed to add less flour than you may need elsewhere.

Normally these are made with plain potatoes, but this version is made using sweet potatoes and Spinach. Gnocchi freezes really well so make a big batch and freeze them in Ziploc bags for later use.

They are definitely worth the hard work, and this is my ‘Gone with the Wind’ dish to make – what I mean is, I can watch Gone with the Wind from start to finish whilst I roll out a big batch of Gnocchi! Haven’t seen Gone with the Wind? You haven’t lived!!! It makes me cry everytime I watch that movie, and even though I know what’s going to happen next, I get tricked into tears each and every time. Now, back to the cooking….

with Thai Chilli infused Brown Butter Sauce

2lbs Sweet Potatoes
1 Large Egg
1/4 can of Spinach Puree or chopped spinach
1/2 cup Ricotta
Salt, Black Pepper to taste
1/2 tsp minced Green Chilli paste
1 tsp cumin and coriander powder (half each)
1 tsp minced Garlic
1/2 cup flour (plus more for dusting)

If using fresh spinach, fresh green chillies and fresh garlic – just blitz them in a blender and cook slightly so as to drain the water out of the spinach first.

Using a fork, prick some holes in the Sweet potatoes and cook them in a microwave for 10 minutes – or until they are cooked through. It depends on the size of the sweet potato you have.

Peel the skin off the sweet potatoes and place in food processor. Add egg, spinach, Ricotta and the spices. Pulse on and off until fully combined and the dough is soft and sticky. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl between pulsing. Transfer the dough mixture to a large bowl and fold in the flour. Don’t over knead!

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I had to leave mine in the fridge so I packed it up in a Ziploc bag and into the fridge until I was ready to roll them out.

Dust the kitchen counter with some flour and start on the dough – divide into portions and using your hands gently roll into long ropes with 1/2 inch thickness. Using a sharp knife or pasty cutter, cut the rope into 1 inch lengths and make any shape you like. We tried to use the fork, but the dough was too wet for that.

I don’t like using too much flour in my Gnocchi, so we didn’t add more flour but instead my son created his own shapes with it. These can be spread out on a baking sheet and frozen at this point, or spread on a tray ready to be cooked.

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat, and once it starts to boil reduce the heat to medium. I used the slotted spoon to help me drop the gnocchi pieces gently into the water, after I had my arm splashed with boiling hot water the first time I made these.

Cook the Gnocchi until they float to the top surface of the water and remove.

1/2 cup Butter (unfortunately!)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Red Thai Chillies, minced
1/2 tsp plain flour

Heat butter in a non-stick pan on medium heat until it starts to turn brown. Reduce the heat and add the Garlic and the Thai chillies, followed by the plain flour. Season with salt, black pepper and 1 tbsp of Sweet Chilli Sauce (optional).

Add the Gnocchi, coat with the sauce well and serve!

I grated some Parmesan Cheese and then added some lemon zest before serving.

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