Crestview, Fl
So, my husband and I decided we were going to have a romantic night out on the town. After trying one over-crowded restaurant, we decided to walk down the boardwalk and go to an Italian place there. DJ was excited to try something new. Gnocchi. Neither of us had it before and since we always share new things, I was looking forward to trying it as well. So we were both a bit disappointed when he ordered and were told that they were all out. Cut to a week later and I am pleasantly surprised to see our Daring Cooks challenge. Todd from A Cooking Dad really challenged us this month. His weapon of choice? Gnocchi!

What is gnocchi you ask? They are thick, soft, pasta like dumplings made with a variety of things. They are often a first course in place of soup or pasta. This month we are tackling potato gnocchi. Since I have been on a low carb, healthier diet, I decided to do sweet potato gnocchi and use the chimichurri sauce that I had left over from steak tacos the night before.
For the Gnocchi:
2 pounds sweet potatoes
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus flour for the work surface

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

1. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake them until tender and fully cooked, between 40 to 55 minutes depending on size. 
2. Cool slightly and then cut them in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl.

3. Mash the sweet potatoes and transfer them to a large measuring cup. Make sure the sweet potatoes measure about 2 cups. 
4. Transfer the mashed sweet potatoes back to the bowl. 
5. Add the ricotta cheese, salt, cinnamon, and pepper and blend until well mixed. 

6. Add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough starts to form. 
7. Lightly flour a work surface and place the dough in a ball on the work surface. 

8. Divide the dough into 6 equal balls. 
9. Roll out each ball into a 1-inch wide rope. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces. Roll the gnocchi over the tines of a fork or press your thumb into them and make little bowls. (This helps hold the sauce onto the gnocchi.)
10. Repeat step 9 with the remaining gnocchi.

(I actually only used half the dough and froze the other half to use the following week. So good!!!)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the gnocchi in 3 batches and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the gnocchi using a slotted spoon onto a baking sheet. Tent with foil to keep warm and continue with the remaining gnocchi.
  • Chimichurri Sauce:
  • 5 cloves of garlic 
  • Juice of 1 or 2 limes depending on how acidic you want 
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Salt and B. pepper to taste 
  • 4-5 dried Guajillo peppers that I soaked in water until they were pliable (though I would steep them longer next time) Leave out the seeds and stem. Probably about 2 or 3 of each 
  • 1/2 c chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 c chopped  parsley
  • a small-medium chopped onion 
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tbs brown sugar

  • 1. Cut the stems off of the peppers
  • 2. Cut a slit down the side and remove all of the seeds
  • 3. Roast them and the garlic for 3-4 minutes on the stove or on a griddle.
  • 4. Put the garlic to the side
  • 5. Steep the peppers in hot water for 20-30 minutes, occasionally pushing them down if they float too much 
  • 6. Meanwhile, Saute the onions and get a nice caramelization on them. Set them aside to cool
  • 7. Dice the peppers when they are soft enough
  • 8. Throw everything but the brown sugar and butter in a blender and grind it up. 
  • 9. Use the olive oil to reach the consistency you want.

10. While the gnocchi are cooking melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. 
11. When the butter has melted add 2 tbs chimichurri sauce. 
12. Stir in the brown sugar and let it bubble. 
13. Gently stir the mixture. 
14. Toss the cooked gnocchi in the sauce. 
15. Transfer the gnocchi to a serving dish and serve immediately.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! It was absolutely delicious. The perfect blend of sweet and spicy! Serve it beside a nice chimichurri steak or as a dish all it's own. 

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