Firstly, let me assure you that making gnocchi at home isn’t anywhere near as daunting as it sounds. In fact, it’s the ultimate excuse to relive your childhood and play with your food, forming flavoursome little pillows with only a knife and fork at your disposal. These sweet potato gnocchi are both light and luxurious and can also be frozen for those nights when inspiration is in short supply. Your whole family are sure to love these delicious sweet potato dumplings, blanketed in a rich sage and butter sauce. If you have small children, this is a wonderful recipe to have them involved in.
Recipe, styling and photography by Elisabeth Chieng of The Gluten Free Table
Sweet potato gnocchi
1 kg sweet potato
1/2 cup (125 gm) ricotta cheese
30 gm Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 tsp grated nutmeg
2 cups (280 g) gluten-free plain flour, plus more for shaping
4 tbsp unsalted butter
10 small sage leaves
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, to serve
Preheat your oven to 200C, pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and roast on a tray lined with baking paper in the oven for 45 minutes or until tender. Once roasted, cut the potatoes in half and leave them to cool.
Scoop out the cooled flesh and place into a ricer or food processor and blend until smooth. Add the ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt, pepper, nutmeg and egg then blend again. Add the flour and blend in until just combined.
To shape the gnocchi:
Line a baking sheet with wax paper and dust with flour. On a floured surface, cut the dough into 4 pieces, rolling each into a 3/4-inch-thick rope. Cut the ropes into 3/4-inch pieces. Roll each piece against the tines of a fork to make ridges then transfer to the baking sheet. In a large, deep skillet of simmering salted water, cook the gnocchi until they rise to the surface, then simmer for 2 minutes longer.
In a medium frying pan cook the butter with the sage until the butter is fragrant and nutty, about 3 minutes. Add the simmered gnocchi and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle the gnocchi with grated parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper.
Short Rib Ragu
I love a rich, meaty ragu – especially in the darkened days of winter. It’s warming and nourishing, spooned over fresh pasta and served with a scattering of Parmigiano-Reggiano. There is something incredibly satisfying about eating a ragu that has been simmering all afternoon in the oven. It’s heady fragrance slowly filling your house and the wait is always so worthwhile. The result is a deliciously thick sauce and the rich flavour of deeply browned meat that has simmered with half a bottle of red as company.
I find this short rib ragu best for a Saturday night dinner party or a late Sunday lunch as you can leave the meat to slow-roast all day with very little effort on your part.
4 beef short ribs (about 400gm each)
500 ml red wine
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 each carrot and celery stalk, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 litre (4 cups) beef stock
800 gm canned whole tomatoes
4 rosemary sprigs
1 fresh bay leaf
Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, to serve
Place beef ribs in a single layer in a non-reactive container that fits ribs snugly, add wine, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 150C. In a large casserole dish heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the short ribs and brown on all sides, turning occasionally, until caramelized. Remove ribs and reduce the heat to medium. Add the vegetables and tomato paste and cook for about ten minutes until tender.
Add in the wine from the marinade and cook until reduced by half. Deglaze the pot by scraping the bottom with the spatula to pull up all of the browned bits. Add half the stock one cup at a time, reducing after each addition 10-12 minutes.
Add tomato, rosemary, bay leaf, remaining stock and ribs, cover and roast in the oven, turning ribs every once in a while, until meat is falling from the bone. This will take roughly 4 to 6 hours. Coarsely shred the meat with a fork (discard bones, bay leaf and rosemary stalks), season to taste and serve tossed with halved, cooked, lasagne sheets.