Sweet Potato-Chard Gnocchi

I felt like experimenting with one of my favorite dishes, gnocchi. Potato gnocchi is essentially dough that is shaped into small dumplings and served with a sauce or simply melted butter and cheese. Made with flour, eggs, salt and potatoes, it is commonly served in Northern Italy. I chose to make the gnocchi with a sweet potato and chard, finishing with a drizzle of maple syrup and fresh shaved Parmesan. Delizioso!

1 bunch of chard
1 large sweet potato
1-2 cups flour
2 eggs
Real maple syrup
Parmesan, fresh shaved

Wash the chard and trim off the stems, then finely chop the leaves and gently sauté in a frying pan. The water left clinging to the leaves is sufficient, so no need to use cooking oil. The cooking time should only be 3 – 4 minutes, enough for the greens to wilt but still preserve their vibrant color. Set aside and, when cool enough to handle, carefully pat dry with a paper towel.

Peel the sweet potato and cut into chunks, then steam or microwave until tender. It is important not to boil the potato, as this will saturate it with water which, in turn, will increase the amount of flour needed to make the gnocchi (too much flour = rock hard gnocchi). Mash the potato and, when cool, mix with the flour, chopped chard and eggs.

Start by stirring in 1-1/4 cups of flour, the dough will be quite sticky. If you were being traditional, next you would turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in flour in 1/4-cup increments until the desired consistency was reached. You would then cut the dough into 4 quarters, shape each quarter into a long roll approximately 1-inch in diameter, and then slice the roll into 1-1/2 inch pieces. I chose to forgo adding more flour and working the dough. Instead, I left the dough in the mixing bowl and simply dropped dough into boiling water, a tablespoon at a time, ensuring a nice, light dumpling.

Bring a pan of slightly salted water to the boil – adding some salt to the water will prevent the gnocchi from sticking and disintegrating while they cook. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to moderate, and add a few gnocchi at a time, ensuring there is plenty of space between them in the pan. After a few minutes, they will start floating to the surface, which means they are ready. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and place on a clean plate. Continue until all remaining gnocchi have been cooked. If you wish to freeze the gnocchi, do so before they have been cooked.

Drizzle gnocchi with maple syrup, garnish with fresh shaved Parmesan and serve.


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