BBQ Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Recipe developed and contributed by Maureen Gualtieri

Gnocchi are probably my most favourite pasta-type dish. These perfect little Italian dumplings combine the two best starches – potato and flour – and can be paired with a whole range of sauces for a perfectly customized primo.

Traditional gnocchi uses regular potatoes, which can be a bit fiddly. (A potato ricer is a must, unless you want dense nuggets of sadness thudding around your bowl.) But swap in sweet potato, and gnocchi become much more resilient, no ricer required. Plus, you now have a fun colour and piles more flavour to work with! In this month’s recipe, sweet potato meets DFC’s Maple Root Beer BBQ sauce. Add a few spices, a pile of Parmesan, and a robust sauce to finish, and you’ll soon be singing the praises of the world’s most comforting carb too!

BBQ Sweet Potato Gnocchi

(Yield: 8 servings)

 3 large (approx. 1300g) sweet potatoes

olive oil

1.5 c. (80g) grated Parmesan cheese

4 cloves (25g) garlic, crushed

1/3 c. (80ml) DFC’s Maple Root Beer BBQ sauce

salt and pepper to taste (start with about 1tsp of each)

4 – 5 c. (540 – 675g.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut your sweet potatoes in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, and coat lightly with olive oil. Arrange cut side down on the sheet, and roast until fork-tender, about 40 mins. Cool, and remove and discard the skins.

Put the cooled sweet potato in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add garlic, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and DFC’s Maple Root Beer BBQ sauce. Using the whisk attachment, beat on medium until everything is incorporated. Then raise the speed to high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy-looking. Switch to the dough hook and slowly add the flour while mixing on low. The object is a tender dough; it will look and feel too sticky! It will be delicate and soft, and won’t come together in a ball – do not panic and add too much flour, that’ll make your gnocchi dense. You’ll likely use about 4 1/2 cups of flour. Once incorporated, cover the dough and chill in the fridge at least 30 minutes, or overnight. (Overnight makes for a dough that is easier to handle.)

When ready to form your gnocchi, generously flour your work surface, and scoop a handful of dough onto it. Dust with more flour, and begin – gently – rolling it into a long snake. When the snake is about the thickness of your thumb, use a bench scraper or a sharp knife to cut it into roughly square little pillows. Roll them around your work surface to get them completely coated in flour, and hold them on a floured plate or cutting board until you have enough for your meal.*

Heat a pot of salted water to a rolling boil, then slide your gnocchi in. Give them a stir immediately to prevent sticking, then boil until the gnocchi float on the top of the water, 2 – 3 minutes. Strain, and toss with cilantro or sundried tomato pesto, olive tapenade, or brown butter walnut sauce, and serve piping hot!

* (You can also freeze these gnocchi: Line a baking sheet that will fit flat in your freezer with parchment. Place your formed and floured gnocchi on the sheet as you go, making sure they’re not touching. When you fill the sheet, tear off another piece of parchment and place it on top. Fill with more gnocchi, then more parchment, and repeat until you run out of dough. Freeze the gnocchi on the tray for at least one day, then funnel them into a zippy bag or other airtight container for long-term storage. To cook, take a frozen handful out and pop it directly in boiling water.)

A few straightforward ingredients are all you need for this recipe, including: sweet potatoes, flour, Parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper, and DFC’s Maple Root Beer BBQ sauce.
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