Isn't it funny what our memories fixate on? The smallest of moments, single frames from scenes become like movie reels, played over and over in your head. At some point, that scene becomes so disjointed from the rest of the story (which is lost now, in your memory), that you forget where you were, who said it, or why. Sometimes it's clear why that moment stuck out at you; other times, you're not really sure why you're holding on to the memory.
I had a flashback to my childhood while working on the recipe -- a time when pasta was a much large piece of my life. It's one of those random memories. I don't remember how old I was, or where I was, but I remember my dad explaining a gnocchi dish he had eaten. The single phase my memory has on it's "repeat reel" is: "They pan seared the gnocchi".
Was the idea of pan searing gnocchi really that earth shattering? Perhaps at the time it was-- I had recently decided that gnocchi wasn't worth all the fuss. Who wants extra soft potato dumplings in a sauce so heavy that you can't really tell the difference between the pasta and the sauce itself? I've never been one to enjoy textureless mush.
Anyways, I've listened to this memory roll over in my head enough times that finally, years later, I had to just give it a try and see what all of the fuss was about. With a twist: this gnocchi was going to be grain free, and made of purple (REALLY purple) sweet potatoes. A weekend project worth getting excited about? Definitely.
Serves: 4 | Total Time:
For the Gnocchi:
- 26 ounces sweet potato
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg white Preparing to serve:
- 8 slices bacon
- 3 tablespoons minced sage, fresh
- 5 cups baby spinach
- 1/4 cup white wine
- Pepper to taste
- Pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork. Place in baking dish. Bake the sweet potatoes at 400°F for 45-60 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow to cool. Once cool, peel off skins and discard.
- Roughly chop potatoes and place in food processor. Pulse until potatoes are in rough chunks — not fully mashed.
- Add salt, baking powder, tapioca flour, and egg white the food processor, and pulse until a batter forms.
- Use a spatula to scoop batter into a large ziplock bag. Seal the bag, and squeeze out as much air as you can. Cut a hole in the button corner of the ziplock, about 1 to 2 centimeters wide. Line a baking sheet with parchment (greased) or a silicon baking mat. Carefully squeeze the batter out of the ziplock in 1-inch long segments, to form the gnocchi.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Use a spatula to scoop batter into a large ziplock bag. Seal the bag, and squeeze out as much air as you can. Cut a hole in the button corner of the ziplock, about 1 to 2 centimeters wide. Line a baking sheet with parchment (greased) or a silicon baking mat. Carefully squeeze the batter out of the ziplock in 1-inch long segments, to form the gnocchi. (Tip: to give your gnocchi the classic fork-shaped look, use a fork after piping the gnocchi and gently press on each one. Dipping the fork into Olive or Avocado oil occasionally will help present the fork from sticking).
- Place pan in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until gnocchi appear slightly browned on the outside. Set aside to cool
- To prepare this dish: Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Remove from pan. Drain out about 1/2 of the bacon grease, and then add the spinach, sage, and gnocchi. Gently stir. Cover and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine, and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Chop the bacon and add to the pan. And salt and pepper to taste. Serve.