Sweet Potato Gnocchi… a perfect comfort food for Autumn

Happy chef!

Autumn has already arrived here in the Pacific Northwest.  Not many leaves have changed color yet but we’re getting plenty of cool and wet days.  So let’s warm you up with some comfort food.  This dish feels like Autumn to me.  Maybe it’s the color of the sweet potatoes that make it feel that way.

Making your own gnocchi takes a little time and practice but it really is not difficult and once you start to get the hang of it, it is great fun. If you want to double or triple the fun, make them with some friends or family.  Or even more fun still, hire me (Frankie) to come and do a cooking class party in your home!

Peeled sweet potatoes

There are really two different recipes here, one for making the gnocchi, and the other for the way I recently made mine with Butter, Pancetta, Onions and fresh Sage.  I wanted something that would complement, not overwhelm, the flavor of the sweet potatoes, and this really turned out great.  If you wanted to make this vegetarian you could leave out the pancetta; and if you wanted it completely vegan, leave out the butter and use only a good extra virgin olive oil.

Using a potato ricer

If you’ve never made gnocchi be sure to read the Tips for Making Homemade Gnocchi  before you launch into the recipe.

The key is getting the dough right… not too moist… not too dry.  I instruct you add most of the flour but then you add more as needed until you get just past the point of the dough being sticky. You don’t want to overwork it or it will get tough.  You want it

Adding flour

to be no longer sticky but still supple, workable, and holding together (not crumbly).  I can’t tell you exactly how much flour because different potatoes will have different moisture levels depending on the type of potato, the baking, etc.  Besides, the amount of potato may vary also.  If your weight is a little over or under, just adjust the other ingredients accordingly.

Mixing dough

A Couple of tools are really handy when making gnocchi.  Using a potato ricer helps so the potatoes are not lumpy which will cause them to crumble.  Most cost under $25 and they are awesome to use when making mashed potatoes.  If you don’t have one, just mash the potatoes well.

Form a ball

Rolling dough

Cutting dough

Adding ridges with gnocchi board

The other tool is a gnocchi board, used for putting ridges on the gnocchi.  These are only about $6 on Amazon.  Order it today and you’ll have it in a day.  Here is the one I bought…

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Fantes-Gnocchi-Beechwood-8-Inches-Original/dp/B0019R7SPS/ref=sr_1_2?crid=15YRPY0G6TRGD&keywords=gnocchi+board&qid=1568750620&s=gateway&sprefix=gnocc%2Caps%2C213&sr=8-2

Finished gnocchi

Another tip or two:
  1. Instead of cutting the dough into balls, it will make it easier to roll out if you cut it in longer, narrower pieces.
  2. Also, if you over-flour the work surface it will make the dough harder to roll.  It will want to just slide around under your hands.

HOW I SERVED MY SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI:

Making the butter, pancetta, onion, sage sauce

As mentioned earlier I wanted something that would complement, not overwhelm, the flavor of the sweet potatoes.  A very common way to serve potato gnocchi in Italy in with a simple butter and sage sauce.  I wanted to take it to another level so I added pancetta (Italian bacon) and onions to that.  There are lots of other good ideas online. A friend told be about a sauce she did with butter, maple syrup, brown sugar, cranberries, and pecans. Sounds great, and the sweetness would work with these.

 

 

Vegetarian Option: Easy just leave out the pancetta.

Vegan Option: Our granddaughter is vegan.  They don’t do butter.  For her’s we simply eliminated that in favor of a good extra virgin olive oil (or walnut oil would be excellent).

 

Recipes are following.  If you’d prefer recipes in PDF format click below

Sweet Potato Gnocchi recipe PDF

Buona sera.  May God richly bless your table with joy, laughter, and his abundant love!

Frankie

A great time for Tuscan Clam Sauce

Ciao friends!

If you are like me you sometimes think of summer as seafood season. But clams are best in the winter.  This recipe was published in my cookbook, Frankie at Home in the Kitchen, still available online as an eBook.

I really love traditional clam sauce, but this Tuscan variation with the addition of some crushed tomatoes is really amazing.  This recipe is best with fresh clams, but for a simple, and still delicious weeknight dinner, you can make it with canned clams.  You could make this with spaghetti or another long pasta if you prefer but I really like the linguine.  It holds the sauce better and has more body to it.

Nobody likes eating sand with their clams so be sure to read my Frankie’s Tips on how to purge the sand from fresh clams.  

One other Frankie’s Tip… this one for Food Safety.  Be sure to discard any clams which do not open up when you cook them!  This means those clams were not alive to begin with and may be contaminated with bacteria or toxins.

Buon appetito!  Frankie

Recipe for Linguine with Tuscan Clam Sauce

 

 

 

A wonderful spring & summer pasta … Mediterranean Shrimp Linguine

This is a pasta we served on out Spring menu every year at Frankie’s.  You can see photos of my line cook preparing it below.

This recipe is in my cook book, but since the book is sold out (you can still get it as an eBook on Amazon), I thought I’d share it here.  I call this pasta “Mediterranean” because the addition of feta cheese and kalamata olives takes it out of the typical sphere of Italian cooking, making it more Greek in nature.  The flavor combination is exceptional.  

This pasta is easy to make and is also a very healthy recipe.  I hope you’ll give it a try!

You need two recipes to make this… our Pomodoro Sauce recipe and the recipe for the pasta. Both can be found below.

Pomodoro Sauce Recipe

Mediterranean Shrimp Linguine Recipe

A delicious, nutritious pasta… Orecchiette with Salmon & Kale

Orecchiette Pasta with Salmon & Kale:

Orecchiette w Kale2Not all pastas are created equal. Some are delicious–and not so healthy.  Others are nutritious–but not so tasty.  Here is one with the best of both world’s… delicious, heart healthy salmon and fresh kale combine to give you both terrific taste and great health benefits.

Recipe

A wonderful summer pasta recipe… Pasta Pomodoro with Shrimp & Grilled peppers

Whole Wheat Pasta Pomodoro with Shrimp & Grilled Peppers:

Pasta with Shrimp & PeppersAt our restaurant, Frankie’s Pizza and Pasta, in the summer time we grill red and yellow bell peppers to serve with sausage in a seasonal gnocchi dish. One day when I was making lunch, I decided to put them together with some whole wheat pasta along with sautéed shrimp, mushrooms and Pomodoro Sauce. It was a stroke of genius!

View Recipe

Pasta with grilled Shrimp and Lemon-Artichoke-Pistachio Pesto

I made my first Lemon-Artichoke Pesto several years ago and was not happy with the

Pasta with grilled Shrimp and Lemon-Artichoke-Pistachio Pesto

results. I shelved it, thinking I would come back and work on the recipe another day. Then one day I was grilling some shrimp for an appetizer and it just sounded like the perfect thing to baste the shrimp with. It was! And this time it came out spectacular on the first try. I guess I’ve learned a few things over the years.
This time around I am doing this with pasta and shrimp. But it also makes a fabulous appetizer by simply brushing grilled shrimp skewers with the sauce after grilling.
You will have leftover pesto when you are done. It freezes well. You might even consider making a double batch and freeze what you don’t use in small containers for quick and easy dinners.

Recipe

A great late summer pasta with Grilled Cherry Tomato Sauce & Chicken Italian Sausage

Orecchietti with Grilled Cherry Tomato Sauce and Chicken Italian Sausage

It has been a long time since I have posted any new recipes on the blog.  On April 1st, we lost our 26 year old daughter, just two days after I posted my article “The Journey to a Thankful Heart”.  Needless to say it turned our life upside down.  But I still love to cook and share my passion for food, so here is a delightful recipe I created for you.

We’ve had a beautiful September here in Seattle and I’ve got a tomato plant loaded down with sweet cherry tomatoes. So what to cook with them? They are great in pasta, especially if you roast or grill them in advance. This could easily be a vegetarian pasta but we chose to make it with a good Chicken Italian Sausage. It was very simple yet so delicious! I love cooking from the garden.

Click here, or on the photo above for the recipe