Exasperating Bowl of Sweet Potato GnocchiFirst of all, I have to apologise. This post will be about a catastrophe. A horrific culinary experiment that I would rather forget.

Traditional potato gnocchi have a slightly floury texture and absorb the flavour of whatever sauce you put with them. However, this recipe for sweet potato gnocchi creates little balls of infuriatingly gelatinous and tasteless dough. I suspect that there was far too much flour in the recipe. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have trusted the Waitrose recipe. I should have used a recipe with reviews from real people who have actually tested the recipe and shared their thoughts on it. That’s the main lesson I’ve taken away from this experience – always try to find out what other people thought of the recipe before you make it.

Instead of providing you with the disgraceful Waitrose recipe (which you can quite easily find by google searching), I’m going to give my modified version of this recipe. Note: I haven’t tried this recipe, I am only altering it based on my experiences with the Waitrose recipe.

Ingredients (to serve 4-6)
1kg Sweet potatoes
1/2tsp Ground nutmeg
55g Grated parmesan
Salt & Pepper
150g All purpose flour (you may need more or less – see below)
(NB: I have omitted the egg from the allrecipes recipe, as the addition of more moisture would require even more flour, thus contributing to the glutinous problem)

1) Place the sweet potatoes on a baking tray. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over them and bake for 30 minutes at 180C. Keep an eye on them to avoid them cooking too much. They should be soft, but not excessively dry.
2) Allow the sweet potatoes to cool until you are able to handle them comfortably. Slice them in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon into a large mixing bowl.
3) Using a potato masher, mash the sweet potato flesh until the consistency is smooth.
4) With a wooden spoon mix in the salt, pepper, parmesan and nutmeg. Slowly begin adding the flour. Make additions of about 50g until the dough is soft and consistent. If it is still sticking to the bowl a lot, add more flour, but avoid adding so much flour that the dough feels dry. Getting the flour content just right is the hardest part.
5) The most helpful suggestion in the reviews on allrecipes at this point was to put the dough into a plastic sandwich bag, cut the corner off (if you have such a thing, you could use a piping bag for this) and pipe the gnocchi out. I would recommend piping the gnocchi directly into a saucepan of boiling water. When you have a small sausage (no more than 2cm long) cut it off into the water with a sharp knife.
6) At this point, it would be tremendously helpful to have a beautiful assistant. While you’re piping gnocchi into the pan, your helper (or 3rd arm) should keep a close eye on the gnocchi already cooking. As each gnocchi floats to the surface, you know it’s ready. Leave it there for about 10-20 seconds, before fishing it out with a slotted spoon and putting it aside.
7) When all the gnocchi are cooked, empty the saucepan of the pasta water and return them to the pan. Cover with a sauce of your choice (a nice sage butter sauce or tomato and basil sauce, perhaps) and heat everything up over a low heat. Serve in bowls, cover with parmesan and lament the 2 hours it took you to produce.

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