I have always LOVED to eat gnocchi, but have always been so afraid to attempt to make these pillows of deliciousness. Good thing Christine Carlson from What Do You Crave is such an amazing cook and created this gorgeous dish for our collaboration post! I’m pretty certain we were meant to find each other because 1) her cat and my dog have the same name…DUKE, 2) we both like our coffee black, and 3) we share a love for hot Cheetos.
To quote the gnocchi master herself, “This dish is a blend of sweet, salty, and savory. The sauce is a very simple sage butter sauce. The flavor of the dish is brought out by the quality of all the ingredients; warm fall spices, sweet fresh and grilled figs, salty and crispy pancetta, warm butter, and earthy sage. There is not a superfluous amount of sauce- it’s serve like the gnocchi I had in Italy. It’s about how the individual flavors come together without overwhelming one another. I think it’s awesome for cold fall night and would be a cool addition for a Thanksgiving dinner!”
Christine has managed to bring a taste of Italy to Southern California with this dish and I can’t thank her enough! Here’s her recipe:
Makes 2 Servings
· 2 large Sweet Potatoes (about 4 cups mashed)
· 1/3 cup + 4 Tbsp. flour*
· ¼ cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving
· ¼ tsp. salt
· ¼ tsp. garam masala
· Pinch nutmeg
· Pinch cinnamon
· 1 egg
· 3 oz. pancetta
· 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
· 10 fresh sage leaves
· Black pepper
· ¾ lb. figs
*1/3 cup of flour might be plenty to form your ball of dough, but I needed a few more tablespoons to achieve a non-sticky texture. Be sure to only add 1 Tbsp. of flour at a time; the less flour the better the end texture will be.
Make the Gnocchi
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. With a fork, poke several holes on each side of the sweet potatoes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. Bake for about an hour, or until soft.
4. Allow to cool completely before removing skins and mashing, or putting through a potato ricer.
5. In a large glass bowl combine mashed sweet potatoes, 1/3 cup of flour, parmesan, garam masala, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and egg.
6. Mix with hands until well incorporated and a ball begins to form.
7. If necessary, add in more flour, 1 Tbsp. at a time until the mixture forms a ball and is no longer sticking to your hands. You shouldn’t need more than 3-4 Tbsp.
8. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on a cutting board or work surface. Place the ball of dough on your work surface and cut into four pieces. Take one of the pieces and cover the others with plastic wrap until ready to use.
9. Gently roll out the section of dough into a long dowel or “snake” shape about ¾ inch thick. 10. Cut into ½ to 1 inch pieces, setting aside on a floured baking sheet.
11. Using the back of a fork, gently roll the gnocchi towards you creating slight indentations. This isn’t necessary, but it does help the sauce stick to the pasta!
12. Repeat with the other three sections of dough.
13. Set gnocchi aside or refrigerate until ready to cook.
Grill the Figs
You can grill all of the figs or just some of them. You could also roast the figs in the oven at 425°F for about 15 minutes. I thought the combination of fresh and grilled figs would be a good blend of both flavor and texture. The fresh figs also balanced out the richness of the dish and saltiness of the pancetta.
1. Preheat your grill on medium heat.
2. Slice half of the figs lengthwise and drizzle with a little olive oil.
3. Turn the heat to low and grill figs cut side down for a few minutes, or until they soften and develop some nice grill marks. Set aside with sliced or quartered fresh figs.
Cook the Gnocchi
1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted (2 tsp.) water to a boil.
2. While pasta water is heating up, cook pancetta on medium high heat, in a large skillet until crispy. Remove pancetta and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
3. Drain any excess oil from the pan, reduce heat to medium, and add in butter and sage. Cook until sage is crispy, about 3-5 minutes.
4. Return pancetta to skillet and turn off heat.
5. When the pasta water is boiling add the gnocchi in batches and cook until tender about 3-5 minutes or until gnocchi float to the top. Remove immediately with a slotted spoon and add to the sage and butter sauce.
6. Gently toss the gnocchi in the sauce and add top with parmesan and black pepper.
7. Add in fresh and grilled figs and serve immediately.
The last day of summer is today and there’s no better way to welcome Fall than with Fall fashion and rustic comfort food. Christine’s dish inspired this outfit with transitional Fall colors like orange from the sweet potato gnocchi, purple from the leathery skin of the figs, a roped burgundy necklace to replicate the fibers and seeds from the inside of the fig, and blush pink from the pancetta. I even wanted to match her bowl with my shoes and the gnocchi with the dark orange accent on the wedge heel.
The deep merlot color of this pencil skirt is perfect for Fall and can add some exciting edge to your business attire! For the blouse, play with it, you can also wear it untucked for a more casual look.
Thanks for reading and please check out www.whatdoyoucrave.info for more of Christine’s creative creations (alliteration totally intentional)!