Friday, February 27, 2015

Sweet potato gnocchi with a smoked gouda cream sauce

Well, I have been amiss. Between new countertops and backsplash in the kitchen and some other projects I just haven't been in here. I wanted to cook something fun in my "new" kitchen and it was a snowy evening and cold so......this is what I chose. It seemed kind of time consuming, and I think next time I would make the gnocchi ahead of time and cover (I cooked the sweet potatoes and garlic first thing in the morning) or make your gnocchi another time and before cooking bag and freeze them...I would definitely do this if having company or I wanted the whole process to be faster. Cook the bacon and wilt the spinach while heating the water. The cream sauce came together right away. 

What you need and what to do:

2 cups mashed cooked sweet potato (slice your potatoes in half, place face down on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and oiled, bake at 375 til soft, about 45 minutes, let cool)
1 head of garlic (pull off some of the excess paper off, cut off the top, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and cook at 450 for 30 minutes, cool til you can pop out the sweet little roasted morsels)
Take the sweet potatoes and the garlic, and mash in a bowl (I finely cut up my garlic first), then add:
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp black pepper
Then add approximately 2-3 cups of Einkorn flour (read about Einkorn flour here) 1/2 cup at a time until you get what resembles a pasta dough. Towards the end I put it on the counter and kneaded in the flour with my hands. Cut dough into 6 pieces and form into logs approximately 1" around, mine are a bit uneven but that's ok. Then cut into 1" pillows and score with a fork for pretty purposes.

Cut up 1 lb of bacon and fry until done, drain on paper towel, pour drippings into a separate container (I'll tell you why later, see below*). Place the bacon back into the hot/warm pan, add 8 oz of baby spinach and cover so it will wilt. You may need to heat briefly for wilting.

Heat a big stock pot to boiling with a TBLS of salt. Add about half of your gnocchi stirring gently so they don't stick to the bottom, wait for them to float then allow them to simmer for another minute or two. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate, salt and pepper your layers. Add the next batch, I was able to do mine in two batches. As you do this start your cream sauce.

For the Smoked Gouda Cream Sauce:

3 TBLS butter
2 TBLS Einkorn flour
1-1/2 cups whole milk (I used 2% and it was fine)
4 oz (approximately) smoked gouda, coarsely shredded
½ tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk over medium-high heat for 30 seconds. Add the milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook over medium heat, whisking until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add the cream, smoked Gouda, paprika and nutmeg and whisk until the cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper.
If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more milk or cream to thin it and whisk to combine. When you reach the desired consistency, pour over the gnocchi, spinach, bacon mix and serve.

*For the bacon drippings (I did not do this because this recipe has enough fat in it BUT it does sound pretty yummy) Place the drippings in a fry pan and heat to medium, remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and put them into the hot skillet, stirring until they begin to turn golden. Remove and add to the bowl with the spinach bacon mixture, toss to combine. Top with the cream sauce.
Adapted from Food Loves Writing and Toast the Host (Author Morgan)