As autumn blankets us in a season of snug comforts—think cozy sweaters, warm throws, piping hot tea, and indulgent cheesy savories that are a perfect match for the crisp outdoors—one delightful recipe to embrace is our bacon and sage-infused baked sweet potato gnocchi. Crafting these delightful morsels is no more complicated than assembling dumplings for your favorite chicken & dumplings recipe, requiring only a few ingredients!
Interestingly, variations in gnocchi recipes, particularly in the realm of sweet potato gnocchi, aren’t found in abundance. A short internet search will provide a plethora of sage butter sauce recipes but little beyond that!
A Fresh Take on Gnocchi
Our innovative Baked Sweet Potato Gnocchi in Cheese is a delightful variation on traditional gnocchi. Sweet potato gnocchi, incorporating ricotta, nutmeg, and cinnamon, is baked as a casserole in a lush, peppery bechamel sauce.
We’ve incorporated mozzarella and parmesan cheese for the delightful pull of melted cheese. Adding a final flourish, crispy bacon and fried sage combine to produce a robust serving of autumn comfort.
Following a relaxed fall day filled with leaf-throwing, apple harvesting, and pumpkin picking, retreat home to prepare this enticing Baked Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Bacon and Sage!
For the Gnocchi:
- 1½ to 2 pounds of sweet potatoes (approximately 2 cups once mashed)
- ½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1¼ – 1½ cups all-purpose flour
For the Cheesy Bechamel:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup flour (plus 1 tablespoon)
- 3 cups whole milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 5 slices of bacon (cooked and broken into small pieces)
- 12 sage leaves (sliced finely and fried in the bacon fat)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (and a bit extra for sprinkling on top)
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Start by prepping the sweet potatoes. After poking the potatoes with a fork, bake them at 400 degrees F for 40 to 55 minutes or until they become soft. Allow them to cool briefly before slicing them lengthwise to scoop out the flesh. Mash the sweet potatoes, measure around 2 cups and place it in a large bowl.
- Mix in the ricotta cheese, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper until well combined. Slowly add flour to form a soft dough. Segment the dough into 6 equal pieces on a lightly dusted surface. Roll each piece into a 1-inch thick rope. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces, dusting with flour as necessary. Press the gnocchi over a fork or gnocchi board to create ridges. Shift the shaped gnocchi to a baking sheet dusted with flour, and repeat until all the gnocchi are formed.
- The gnocchi can be prepared in advance and stored in the freezer. Freeze them on the baking sheets until solid, at least an hour. After that, transfer them into a zip-top bag and store them in the freezer for up to two months.
- Set a pot of water on the stove to boil for par-boiling the gnocchi, and simultaneously preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- As the water warms, start preparing the bechamel sauce. On medium heat, melt the butter, add the olive oil, whisk in the flour and cook until smooth. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking to avoid lumps and create a smooth sauce. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to season.
- While the bechamel is simmering, get the bacon and sage ready. You can do this step ahead of time as well!
- Once the water reaches a rolling boil, par-boil the gnocchi for 1-2 minutes. Drain and stir into the bechamel, along with the bacon, sage, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese. Retain some bacon, sage, and cheese for garnishing. Move the mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Creating a dish with sweet potato gnocchi allows you to experiment with traditional recipes and bring a seasonal touch to your menu. The use of sweet potato not only nods to the fall season but also adds a richness that traditional potato gnocchi doesn’t offer. Furthermore, sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, especially vitamin A, contributing to good vision and bolstering the immune system.
This recipe adds a twist to an Italian classic by integrating sage and bacon, resulting in an exciting blend of flavors. The recipe’s flexibility means you can easily substitute or add ingredients based on your taste. For instance, bacon could be swapped for prosciutto or even smoked salmon for a completely different flavor.
In addition to providing a delectable culinary experience, this dish also involves a bit of craftwork in the kitchen. Making your own gnocchi can be an enjoyable process, and there’s a certain satisfaction in preparing your own dough and shaping the gnocchi. Remember, cooking should be fun, and this recipe certainly embodies that sentiment!