Sweet Potato Gnocchi with a Smoky Brown Buttered Vanilla Sauce
1 lb. sweet potato (about 1 large sweet potato)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup ricotta
1 medium egg
1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon each sea salt and pepper
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, plus more for shaping
4 tablespoon unsalted butter quarter of a vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
Fresh parsley, toasted walnut pieces and parmesan for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick the potato and bake for 45-60 minutes until tender. Let it cool to the touch. Into a bowl, scoop out the potato flesh and mash well. Add the parmesan, ricotta, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well until smooth. Sprinkle in the flour and mix to combine. The dough will dry out as it rests but should not be sticky, add more flour if needed, one tablespoon at a time until it is not gummy to your fingers. Chill the dough for an hour or up to overnight.
Prepare a floured work surface and a floured sheet pan. Divide the dough in half and roll it into two long snakes. Cut the dough into 1” pieces. Roll each piece along the back of a fork to give it grooves and place them on the floured baking sheet. Chill or freeze the gnocchi until ready to use.
Prepare a large pot of salted, boiling water. Drop in the gnocchi and cook until they rise to the top. About 3 minutes. Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid.
In a large saucepan, warm the butter. Cook over medium low heat until it begins to brown and smell nutty. Add in the bit of vanilla bean, paprika and salt and stir. Add half the drained gnocchi (this will need to be done in two batches) and crisp on both sides in the butter. When both sides are browned, stir in the balsamic and 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and taste for seasoning.
Serve a small portion with a bit of fresh chopped parsley, chopped walnuts and grated parmesan on top.
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