Even if you’ve never made gnocchi from scratch before, you can absolutely make this sweet potato gnocchi recipe. With step-by step images to show you how it’s done, you can turn out pillowy, light, creamy homemade potato dumplings that everyone will love. The recipe makes a big batch, but freezing gnocchi is a snap. I’ll show you how. My sweet potato and ricotta gnocchi recipe just takes a little time and patience. Trust me, you got this…
I’m not big on sweet potato casserole loaded with marshmallow fluff, but I do love sweet potato gnocchi. I don’t make it very often, because – let’s face it –real gnocchi — made from scratch — is not a spur of the moment dish. But it’s so good. Like pasta, but better. This sweet potato gnocchi recipe is simple, but it does take some time. I also think it’s better to have a helper working with you to streamline the process. I usually wait for a rainy day and enlist my hubby or a friend to join me for this hands-on project. It’s worth it in the end, because this ricotta gnocchi recipe makes a lot of potato dumplings and they can be frozen for a quick, easy dinner — even on a weeknight.
Ingredients For Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- Sweet Potatoes
- Ricotta Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- Coconut Flour
- All Purpose Flour
Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes aren’t nearly as starchy and it takes quite a bit of flour (and coconut flour – which soaks up moisture like a chamois cloth) to transform this root vegetable into a workable dough.
The only special piece of equipment you’ll need for the sweet potato and ricotta gnocchi recipe, is a food mill or potato ricer. I used a food mill and the finest disc that it came with to turn out perfectly pureed sweet potatoes. You may notice that the strained tubers are a bit more wet than you’d expect from a regular mash, that’s because sweet potatoes have less starch than a traditional tuber.
Making Dough For Sweet Potato Gnocchi Recipe
- Stir the well drained ricotta cheese to the sweet potatoes and mix to combine.
- Add grated parmesan cheese, nutmeg and coconut flour to the ricotta gnocchi recipe. The parmesan and nutmeg add nuanced flavors and the coconut flour helps to soak up a bit of the excess moisture before adding the rest of the all purpose to the potato dumpling dough.
- Note: the sweet potato will still be fairly wet. That’s ok.
Adding Flour To The Potato Dumpling Dough
- Form the sweet potato mixture into a ball and transfer to a work surface.
- Sprinkle a cup of flour over the surface of the potato and gently fold and work it into the dough.
- Add another cup of flour and continue in this fashion, kneading and folding the flour into the dough until it’s absorbed. You may need as little as 4 cups or as much as 5.
- The dough should be fairly smooth, but still tacky.
Divide The Potato Dumpling Dough
Divide the dough into sixths or eighths using a sharp knife or pastry scraper and cutter. The smaller the dough, the easier it will be to work with, so if you’re new to making homemade gnocchi, you might want to cut it into eighths.
When you get to this part of the sweet potato gnocchi recipe, I recommend having a partner to work with… It’ll make the process go more smoothly, not to mention quicker. One person is in charge of rolling, cutting and forming the dumplings, while the other blanches and shocks them.
Person 1: Cutting The Dumplings
- Lightly flour a work surface and place one of the sweet potato ricotta gnocchi balls on top.
- Use a rolling motion with your hands held flat, moving back and forth until the dough starts to roll into a snake shape.
- Try to keep the width of the “snake” an even diameter, about 3/4″ around.
Cutting Individual Ricotta Gnocchi Dumplings
When the sweet potato gnocchi is about 3/4″ in diameter, cut the “snake” into one inch pieces using a dough cutter or sharp knife. (Don’t saw the dough, just press straight down).
The tell-tale ridges on traditional gnocchi will help sauces cling a bit more to it, however, I’ve seen plenty of people skip this step, so I’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not to shape them. It takes a little practice and not all of them will look perfect and uniform, but that’s ok. It’s a potato dumpling, not a Rembrandt.
Ridging The Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi
- Hold a fork facing down with your less dominant hand.
- Holding a gnocchi in your dominant hand, place the gnocchi at the base of the fork and apply a little pressure while rolling it down the tines.
- Flick the sweet potato gnocchi off the end of the fork and continue with another dumpling.
While Person 1 cuts and forms the gnocchi, Person 2 cooks and preps the gnocchi.
Person 2: Blanching & Shocking Sweet Potato Gnocchi Recipe
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add about a cup of fresh sweet potato ricotta gnocchi to the boiling water.
- Wait for the gnocchi to float to the surface (usually about a minute or so).
- Use a spider to transfer the floating sweet potato gnocchi to an ice bath to stop the cooking or “shock” it.
- Transfer the gnocchi from the ice bath to a large sheet pan, lightly coat with olive oil.
- Continue processing the gnocchi in this manner until done.
At this point, the gnocchi is ready to use in your favorite recipe, however, if you’re like me — you’re ready to take a gnocchi break and order a pizza…
That last part wasn’t a joke. I usually don’t eat the sweet potato gnocchi on the day I make it. By the time it’s done, I’m ready for a glass of wine and to put my feet up. Freezing the gnocchi is the answer.
Method For Freezing Gnocchi
If you just place a bunch of gnocchi in a resealable bag, close it up and stick it into the deep freeze, when you go to take it out, you’ll have one large, frozen mass of gnocchi that you won’t be able to pry apart with a hammer and chisel. Don’t do it.
- Find one or two flat baking pans that will fit in your freezer.
- Line the baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Working in batches, place the sweet potato dumplings on the parchment paper.
- Very lightly oil the gnocchi and roll them around on the sheet to coat.
- Arrange the dumplings in a single layer without touching and place them in the freezer until completely frozen.
- Transfer the frozen dumplings to a zip top freezer bag and place back in the freezer.
- Continue freezing the gnocchi until they’re all frozen and stashed in the freezer.
Now you can reach in anytime you want and pull out exactly the right amount of gnocchi that you’ll need for an easy weeknight meal or for company on the weekends.
More Pasta Recipes:
- Italian Roasted Vegetable and Sausage Pasta
- RoseMarie’s Best Smoked Salmon with Cognac Cream Pasta
- Cajun Meatballs and Pasta
- Vegetable Primavera with Ham and Creamy Lemon Sauce
- Baked Spaghetti Pie with Portuguese Linguiça Sausage
- Potato Gnocchi From Scratch
More Sweet Potato Recipes:
- Savory Sweet Potato Casserole
- Sweet Potato and Apple Breakfast Strata
- Andouille Sweet Potato Frittata
- Twice Baked Sweet Potato Gratin
- Sweet Potato and Bacon Hash
- Cornmeal Crusted Veggie Burgers
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Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes (weigh them)
- 2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese finely grated
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3/4 cup coconut flour
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
MAKE THE SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI DOUGH
- Place the ricotta cheese in a sieve set over a bowl and let drain for 1-2 hours to remove excess water.
- Preheat the oven to 400° and roast the sweet potatoes for about 1 hour until completely cooked and soft on the inside. Remove from the oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.
- Remove the skins from the potatoes and discard. transfer the cooked sweet potato to a food mill or potato ricer and process so the flesh is completely smooth.
- Add the ricotta cheese (discarding the excess liquid that has drained from it ) and mix until completely incorporated with the sweet potato.
- Add the salt, parmesan cheese and nutmeg and mix well. Add the coconut flour and mix well. Transfer the dough to a work surface and form into a ball. Sprinkle with 1 cup of the flour and gently knead the flour into the sweet potato mixture. Continue to add flour one cup at a time until the dough comes together and is only slightly wet.
- Form the gnocchi dough into a ball and use a pastry cutter or sharp knife to divide it into 6ths or 8ths (smaller if you prefer working with smaller batches of dough.
FORM THE SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI
- This part is easier if you work with two people:Set up a large pot with salted water on the stove top. Bring to a gentle simmer.
- Fill a large bowl with ice and water (this is an ice bath and it’s where you’ll transfer the gnocchi after they’ve poached in the simmering water. Lightly oil a half sheet pan and set aside.
- One person is in charge of rolling, cutting and indenting the gnocchi.
- Lightly flour a work surface. Place one piece of dough on the work surface and roll into a rope about 3/4” in diameter. Cut the rope into one inch pieces. Run each gnocchi gently over the back of a fork to create the telltale indentations.
- The other person transfers the gnocchi from the simmering water after it’s cooked to the ice bath to shock and then to a lightly oiled pan.
- Drop the gnocchi into the simmering water. When the gnocchi floats to the surface it’s done. Use a spider to transfer the gnocchi to the ice bath to stop the cooking.Transfer the cooled gnocchi to the sheet pan and roll around in the oil so the gnocchi don’t stick together.
- Continue in this assembly line method until you've formed, blanched, shocked and oiled all of the gnocchi.
TO FREEZE SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI:
- Line a sheet pan that will fit in the freezer with wax paper. Arrange gnocchi in a single layer so they aren’t touching and freeze until solid.
- When the gnocchi are frozen solid, transfer to a freezer bag with a zip top and return to the freezer. Depending on the size of your freezer, you may have to do this in batches. ( I did.)
WAYS TO COOK SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI:
- Poach them in simmering water until the gnocchi float to the top. Use a slotted spoon or spider to transfer gnocchi to a serving bowl. Top with your favorite sauce, ragout, or vegetables.Pan Fry them in butter with fresh herbs and top with parmesan cheese.Deep Fry the gnocchi until they float. Use a spider to transfer to a dish lined with paper towels and top with grated parmesan cheese or other toppings.