‘Tis the season! Old world Gnocchi made from sweet potatoes, paired with the crunchness of fried chestnut and sage. Delicious. I’ve also bumped up the flavor profile by serving it in a pool of brown butter chestnut cream sauce made with wholesome nut milk — this recipe is heartwarming belly satisfying!
A bit of work, but worth all the flavor!
1 1/4 pounds russet baking potatoes
1 pound sweet potato
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 cup fine grated Parmigiano – Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving!
1 1/2 -2 cups of all purpose flour or gluten free flour
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sage leaves, fried. (see method below)
Preheat your oven to 450° with the rack in the center of the oven pierce the potatoes in several places with a fork. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until tender about 60 minutes or until a knife slides through. Remove and set-aside to cool.
Prepare your baking sheet with either a sheet of parchment or silicon baking mat. Once potatoes are cool, peel and run through a ricer back into the prepare the baking sheet and spread out evenly and allow to throughly cool.
While potatoes are cooling, lightly flour 2 to 3 large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg nutmeg, cloves, ground sage, salt and pepper.
Gather the cooled potatoes in a mound on the baking sheet and form a volcanic with a large well in the center.
Pour the beaten egg mixture into the well. With your hands, knead the mixture into the potatoes until combine. Add the cheese and 1 1/2 cups of flour continue to knead adding more flour as necessary until the mixture forms a smooth but slightly sticky dough ball.
Dust the top of the ball with additional flour and cut into six wedges. Like a pizza.
Form each wedge of the dough into a 1/2 inch thick rope; on a lightly floured surface. Cut each rope into half inch pieces. Gently roll each piece into a cylinder type ball and lightly dust with more flour. Set cylinder balls aside in the flour on the baking sheet and repeat with all the remaining dough.
Once all the little cylindrical shapes are complete, turn a fork over– and hold it at a 45° angle with the tips of the tins touching the worksurface. Work with one cylinder ball at a time, and roll it down the tims of the fork pressing with your thumb to make the ridges on one side to form a Gnocchi.
Transfer back to the floured baking sheets till you have completed the same action with all the dough. Clean up and fry the sage leaves, and make sauce. See recipes below.
Fill an 8 to 12 cup large stock pot with water and 2 tablespoons of salt. Bring to roaring boil. Add gnocchi in batches and cook until they float to the surface. About three minutes per batch. Remove with a slotted spoon straight into the sauce pan and cover.
Transfer sauced gnocchi to a large serving bowl and top with additional finally grated Parmesan cheese, top with fried sage and chestnuts. Squeeze an additional swirl of chestnut, sage oil on the putter rim of the bowl before serving.
Fried Sage Leaves
1 cup very dry whole sage leaves, removed from stems
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
In a 10 inch heavy skillet over medium heat- heat oil until it shimmers.
Fry sage leaves in 3-4 batches stirring until they turn one shade lighter and crisp up only about 30 seconds per batch. Quickly remove from oil as soon as color changes and drain on a paper towel.
Season with salt. Set aside. Save pan and oil to fry chestnuts and make sauce.
Chestnut Cream Sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons flour or GF flour
1 cup good quality chicken stock, warmed
1/2 cup nut milk, warmed
1 clove garlic, smashed
1/3 cup bottled seasonal roasted chestnuts, very thinly sliced with a garlic slicer or vegetable peeler
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch brown sugar
Kosher Salt and fresh ground pepper for seasoning
Using the same pan as the fried sage leaves, heat the additional oil with what is ever left over. Add the smashed clove of garlic, heat until shimmering. Remove the garlic clove once it it is cooked golden brown, and discard.
Add the sliced chestnut slices (patting dry with a paper towel before adding to the hot oil.) Again, working quickly in batches and careful not to get splattered. Chestnuts contain a large content of water, which will splatter when they come in contact with oil.
Fry chestnuts in three batches stirring until crisp and golden, about 20-30 seconds per batch. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to papertowel to drain. Lightly seasoned with salt.
Cool the oil and strain. Save for additional purposes- this oil will be fragrant and very flavorful. Use to top off soups oruse in a salad dressing, or garnish your gnocchi plate!
Once oil is strained, and discarded from the pan- wipe the pan out with a paper towel. Add butter and flour. On low heat cook butter until
It is turning brown and nutty, add flour and whisk together to make a Roux. (This will help thicken your sauce) once the butter and flour combination has been cooked for about 1 minute and has formed a paste like consistency -remove from heat. While wisking constantly, add the warm stock, and nut milk. Whisk to remove any lumps that might form. Sprinkle in a tablespoon of cooked chestnuts.
Return to heat and thicken sauce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Adjust consistency with additional liquid if needed.
Season with spices, brown sugar and pepper. Set aside. Use sauce to coat cooked Gnocchi.