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Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Sage and Cider–Brown Butter Sauce

Written by Melissa Pasanen on . Posted in Recipes, Taste of the Landscape

Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Sage and Cider–Brown Butter Sauce
These little pillows of savory sweetness are easy to mix up, but do take just a bit of work to roll, cut and cook. At T.J. Buckley’s, they might be served as a side to hanger steak or braised short ribs or featured as one of six or seven offerings on Fuller’s signature vegetarian platter beside frizzled leeks with kale and thinly sliced fennel sautéed with seasonal mushrooms.
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For the gnocchi
  1. 1 large sweet potato 
(about 1 pound)
  2. ½ cup (4 ounces) whole-milk ricotta cheese (Fuller uses sheep’s milk ricotta, but any good farmstead ricotta will work)
  3. 2 tablespoons finely grated dry cheese, such as Vermont 
Shepherd or Parmesan-style
  4. ½ teaspoon fine salt
  5. 1½ cups all-purpose flour
For sauce and to finish
  1. 8 tablespoons butter, divided
  2. 16 fresh sage leaves
  3. 1 tablespoon apple cider
  4. 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Prick sweet potato several times through skin. Bake sweet potato until very soft all over when pressed, about 50 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, set ricotta in a fine sieve over a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and weight it with a can or jar to help expel excess liquid. When sweet potato is cooked, slice it in half lengthwise and cool completely. Scoop flesh into a large bowl and mash thoroughly until there are no lumps (you should have about 1½ cups).
  2. Stir drained ricotta, grated cheese and salt into sweet potato until thoroughly combined. Gently work in 1¼ cups of the flour, adding the remaining ¼ cup by tablespoon just until a soft dough forms. It will be a little sticky but should be workable. (Don’t overwork dough or gnocchi will be tough.) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter and divide into 4 equal balls. Roll each ball into a long rope about ¾-inch wide. Use a sharp knife to cut each rope into ½-inch pieces and mark with the tines of a fork if desired. Transfer to a lightly floured rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining balls of dough. Trays of gnocchi can be left out, loosely covered with a clean towel or plastic wrap for a couple of hours. They can also be frozen on baking sheets to keep them separated and then, once frozen, stored in zippered plastic bags. (Do not thaw if cooking them from frozen, noting they may 
take an extra minute to cook through.)
  3. When ready to cook gnocchi, bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add gnocchi in batches, stirring once to make sure they stay separated, and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 3 to 4 minutes. Cooked gnocchi should float to the surface of the pot, but taste one to be sure. Remove cooked gnocchi with a slotted spoon and lay, well separated, on clean baking sheets, patting gnocchi dry with paper towels.
  4. Preheat oven to 200 F. In a medium sauté pan, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until the foam subsides and the butter begins to brown. Add sage leaves. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until sage leaves are crisp. Remove sage leaves to a plate and set pan with browned butter aside.
  5. In another large sauté pan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add enough gnocchi to fill the pan, but with enough room to turn them, and brown on two sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove browned gnocchi to a platter and keep warm in oven. Finish browning gnocchi in batches, adding butter to the pan as needed, and keeping warm in oven, until all are browned. Put brown butter sauce back on medium heat and stir in cider and cider vinegar. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until hot. Serve gnocchi drizzled with brown butter sauce, fried sage leaves and additional grated dry cheese as desired. Makes about 120 gnocchi: serves six as a main course or about 10 as an appetizer.
  1. Photo by Andrew Wellman.
Adapted from Adapted from chef-owner Michael Fuller, T.J. Buckley’s, Brattleboro
Adapted from Adapted from chef-owner Michael Fuller, T.J. Buckley’s, Brattleboro
Vermont Life Magazine
Melissa Pasanen

Melissa Pasanen

Contact Melissa Pasanen at and follow her on Twitter at

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