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Simple Recipe: Sweet-Potato Gnocchi

This last plate of winter contains only five ingredients — and serves as the perfect way to say “adios” to the cold.




Photo by Leah Lizarondo

 

I’ve been checking the weather reports, and it looks like it’s going to be in the 40s, 50s, rainy and cloudy — typical Pittsburgh beautiful spring climate — for the next 10 days. We’ve sprung forward and suffered the jet-lag symptoms we are forced to endure twice a year. Finally, the official first day of spring is just around the corner — March 20!

I am packing up anything that remotely resembles a sweater and sending off my winter coats to the cleaners.

There is no looking back!
 


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During the first two or three weeks of spring, I always embark on a — wait for it — cleanse. I know that word can tend to be annoying because it’s been so overused and seemed to rise along with the skinny-jeans trend (which shows no signs of waning, in spite of some Fashion Week attempts at bringing back bellbottoms) — making it doubly irritating.

But I think of a cleanse as an easing from the heavy foods of winter. I love the comfort and grounding nature of winter food — stews, soups, roots, tubers — but along with the lightness of spring, I crave for lightness in my body.

I start wanting smoothies, juices and (ack) even salads. I hardly want these in the winter; smoothies in the morning make me feel cold, and I can barely tolerate salads on a regular day … but for some reason, I want salads as soon as spring hits.
 


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Our bodies know what’s up — it is naturally in sync with nature. We just have to remember how to listen to it.

So what am I doing with a sweet-potato gnocchi recipe? It’s the perfect plate to bid winter farewell!

This homemade pasta is simple to make and very forgiving — hence, perfect to make with kids. Or your partner. Remember Andy Garcia and Sofia Coppola in “The Godfather: Part III?”

How do you make gnocchi without eggs and cheese? This way! Will this work with potatoes? It can, but it is more temperamental—that is, it depends on the moisture of your potatoes. I find that sweet potatoes are more consistent and predictable.

I like to serve these just by themselves dressed with some sage-infused olive oil or butter. With a side of garlic sautéed greens. Or you can serve it in a simple broth.


 

 

  Black-eyed Pea Fritters with Bayou Marinara

Sweet-Potato Gnocchi

Adapted from a recipe in The New York Times
Serves 4


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes
  • ½ cup spelt or all-purpose flour, sifted, plus up to ½ cup for kneading
  • 2 tablespoons minced sage
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes. Peel and pass through a ricer into a large bowl.
  2. Combine sweet-potato purée, flour, sage, salt and pepper. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough, adding more flour if needed, until it is smooth and slightly sticky. Shape the dough into small dumplings. Set aside.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a simmer over medium heat. Working in batches, drop the gnocchi into the broth. Cook 10 seconds after the dumplings rise to the surface, about 5 minutes total. Remove with a slotted spoon.

 

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