Did You Try Making: Beth Kirby’s Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi
Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi from our guest blogger, Beth from Local Milk. Her recipe appeared in Issue 02 and we absolutely loved it.
Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi with Buttermilk Mornay Sauce, Fresh Figs, & Pancetta- Serves 6
2 lbs (907g) sweet potatoes
1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup (156g) whole milk ricotta
1-1 ½ (237g-355g) all purpose flour
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp (1.2g) cinnamon
For Mornay Sauce:
2 tablespoons (30g) butter
3 tablespoons (44g) all purpose flour
2 cups (0.47ml) buttermilk
fresh grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon (1.2g) salt
2 ounces (57g) grated gruyere cheese (about ½ cup, packed)
12 figs, quartered
6 slices pancetta, fried crispy and crumbled
fresh chives, chopped fine
Prick potatoes all over with a fork and steam in microwave wrapped in damp paper towels until tender when pierced & fully cooked. Rotate half way through cooking, about 3-5 minutes per side for medium sized potatoes. Alternately, roast in a 400° F oven about 50-60 minutes.
While potatoes are still hot, handling with towels, slice in half. Scoop flesh out and press through a potato ricer into a rectangle (not a pile). Alternately you can use a food mill or box grater to shred the potatoes. Let cool until about room temperature.
Drizzle potatoes with egg yolk, crumble the ricotta on top, and sprinkle ½ cup of flour on top. Using a bench scraper or spatula, cut the flour, yolk, and ricotta into the potatoes until fully incorporated. Sprinkle with an additional ¼ cup of flour, and chop/fold it in. Gather the dough into a ball. If the dough is still too sticky to do this, work in up to an additional ¼ cup flour. Pat dough into a disc. If disc is too sticky, sprinkle with another ¼ cup flour. Work in flour until just not too sticky to handle. Form dough into a compact log and let rest 5 minutes.
Cut log into 8 individual segments. Lightly flour work surface. Roll one segment out at a time into inch thick logs. Cut logs into individual pieces, about 1”. To create grooves, the gnocchi can be rolled on a gnocchi board or the tines of the fork. This step is optional. Place formed gnocchi on a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until ready to cook if cooking soon, otherwise the gnocchi can be frozen on the sheet tray and then placed into a ziplock bag and kept in the freezer up to 3 months. To cook frozen gnocchi just put directly from freezer into boiling water just as with fresh gnocchi, do not thaw.
To make sauce:
Melt 2 tbsp butter over low heat. Stir in 3 Tbsp flour. Bring roux to a bubble on medium low and let cook about two minutes, careful not to brown. Meanwhile heat buttermilk and ¼ tsp salt until just warm. Do not get hot or it will curdle. Whisking constantly slowly pour warm buttermilk into roux. Bring to a boil and whisk constantly until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in fresh nutmeg & cayenne to taste. Stir in cheese until fully melted. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Sauce can be kept warm over a simmering water bath, stirring occasionally to prevent skin from forming.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnocchi. Give them a gentle stir after a few seconds to prevent sticking. Cook about 2 minutes or until they float to the top. Drain. Toss gently with mornay sauce, pancetta, and figs. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.
INTERVIEW: Beth Kirby, Blogger Local Milk, Tennessee
Countlan: Hi Beth, what made you start blogging and what is Local Milk about?
@local_milk I started Local Milk this past April as a space in which I could fuse together my three passions: food, photography, and writing. Local Milk is dedicated to slow food, to reclaiming the way we used to eat: home-cooked, seasonal meals shared around the table with loved ones. I share recipes in the hopes of inspiring people to make creative use of sustainable, local produce and to demystify shopping at the farmer’s market for raw ingredients. But the blog is about more than food, it’s an invitation into my home and a celebration of the very real beauty of everyday life, real people, and real food. My favorite thing about entertaining in the fall is gathering around the fire after supper for coffees & conversation with a good record on!
02 What’s the food scene like in Chattanooga, Tennessee?
The Purple Daisy is located at the foot of Lookout Mountain. The mountain got its name because it was used as a lookout during the Civil War, in St. Elmo. The Purple Daisy is the place to go for authentic pulled pork BBQ. There are many places to get a great pork sandwich in town, but it’s their hot slaw and sauce that make this the best. While you’re there, see if they’ll make you a grilled pimento cheese, bacon, and tomato sandwich. It’s not on the menu, but it’s amazing.
Lamar’s Fried Chicken- Lamar’s Bar & Restaurant is Chattanooga’s “favorite place after dark” and a veritable temple of soul. It is also the home of Chattanooga’s finest fried chicken. Walk down a darkened hallway lit by the green glow of a 50-gallon fish tank and into the “Chrystal Lounge”, and you’ll find Gerald behind the bar in a tux, mixing drinks and polishing glasses. Curt and efficient, he mixes the best (and stiffest) drinks in town. The lounge is dimly lit by flickering candles and colored Christmas lights and is shrouded in velvet wallpaper. The purist jukebox in the corner contains nothing but jazz, blues, soul, and R&B. And when you go, there is no point in ordering anything other than the fried chicken, which is served up late into the night.
Famous Nater’s- No trip to Chattanooga would be complete without seeking out Famous Nater’s World Famous food truck. Serving up fresh salads and “F.N. good” sandwiches made with local bread and produce, some my favorite meals have come out of Nater’s window. With a creative menu that’s changing constantly, he has offered everything from a bacon, marshmallow, and Nutella sandwich to an oven baked mac & cheese sandwich. You can also count on a sandwich that involves his 12 hour braised pork. If I were you, I’d bring friends and get one of everything he has that day. And don’t let the whimsical recipes and truck fool you; there’s serious culinary talent and formidable flavor coming out of this truck. Since the food trucks tend to stick together, if you see Monkey Town Donuts while you’re there, grab a “monkey bucket” of their whole wheat donuts fried in soybean oil. It’s all truly not to be missed.
03 How about Tennessee?
When in Tennessee, make sure you order sweet iced tea with your meals, and afterwards, take in the gorgeous views of the river and bluff on the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge and along the Riverwalk. If you have time, take a day trip up to Appalachia and explore Sewanee, TN home of the University of the South which is surrounded by beautiful rural areas that time seems to have forgotten.
Other Recipe Ideas with Gnocchi:
- She Eats: Garden Beet Gnocchi with Creamy Soft Chevre
- The Earthy Delights Blog: Malfatti with Wild Mushrooms and Truffle Sauce
- The Kitchen and the Camera: Cinnamon Scented Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Enoki, Sage and Butter
- The Second Renaissance: Pumpkin Gnocchi Tossed in Creme Fraiche, Goat Cheese and Arugula