Serves a Crowd

Sweet potato breakfast gnocchi

December  7, 2010
Author Notes

One of my favorite things to have leftover from cooking any dish is ricotta. I love to dollop it onto and stir it into random things of all sorts. The other day, I had some leftover ricotta, and I was feeling torn. I wanted to make sweet potato gnocchi, but I also wanted to make ricotta pancakes, and there wasn't enough for both. Suddenly I thought, why not make breakfast gnocchi?! The marriage of the two ideas worked out beautifully. The gnocchi were soft little pillows, light and sweet from the ricotta and sweet potato. And, they were complemented marvelously by a maple syrup - butter sauce, with just a hint of orange and cinnamon. I say the recipe serves 4, but I definitely had to chain myself to a chair in another room to keep myself from eating them all. They were also remarkably easy! I have a feeling this won't be the last time I have gnocchi for breakfast. - fiveandspice —fiveandspice

Test Kitchen Notes

I've never thought about eating gnocchi for breakfast, until now. Sweet potato and ricotta cheese combine to make delicately sweet little pillows of comfort. "Wonderful mouthfeel," said one of my guests. The maple-butter sauce adds just the right sweetness that you'd expect for breakfast, not at all cloying. I love the fragrance of orange zest and how it brightens up the sauce. I added a bit more to taste than the recipe calls for. I tried the sauce with and without the optional dark rum. Either way, the sauce compliments the gnocchi beautifully. One of the best parts of this dish is its versatility. After eating the gnocchi for breakfast, I also served it as a very light dessert by adding a dollop of sweetened whipped cream with a touch of dark rum. My guests swooned and everyone went home happy. —SwoonMySpoon

  • Serves 4
  • sweet potato ricotta gnocchi
  • 1 pound or a little more, swet potato
  • 1/2 cup full fat ricotta
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 4 teaspoons chopped, toasted pecans
  • maple-butter sauce
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In This Recipe
  1. sweet potato ricotta gnocchi
  2. Heat your oven to 400F. Wash your sweet potatoes and score them with an x. Place them on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven until very soft, close to an hour. Allow to cool, remove the peels, and press the potatoes through a potato ricer. Take out one cup of the mashed sweet potato - if there is any extra you can use it for something else.
  3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the sweet potato mash, ricotta, salt, and egg until combined. Then, stir in the flour 1/4 cup at a time, just until you have a workable dough. It will be sticky and a little tricky, but you want to use as little flour as possible so that your gnocchi don't wind up dense and chewy.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and keep your hands floured as well. Divide it into four pieces and roll each piece into a log that is about an inch thick.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut the logs into 1 inch pieces. Then, use the back of a fork to press lovely little tine marks into your gnocchi (this is optional, but it looks nice). If it's going to be a bit until you cook your gnocchi, refrigerate them until you're ready. At this stage they can also be spread on a baking sheet and frozen, then stored in the freezer. Don't defrost frozen gnocchi, just toss them right into your boiling water.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently add in about half of your gnocchi. Boil until they come rising up to the surface, and as soon as they rise up, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl. Once the first half of the gnocchi is done, cook the second half in the same manner.
  7. Make your maple-butter sauce (see below). Once the sauce is cooked, stir the gnocchi into the frying pan with the sauce, stirring them to get them all well coated. Cook them on medium for a minute or two on each side, until they look a little golden.
  8. Divide the gnocchi between four bowls and sprinkle each bowl with the toasted pecans. Me being me, I discovered that the gnocchi were also absolutely phenomenal with a little dollop of whipped cream on top (or creme fraiche), if you're feeling decadent.
  1. maple-butter sauce
  2. In a rather large frying pan, heat the butter over medium-high heat until it is foaming. Stir in the orange zest, and cook, stirring frequently until the butter has browned and smells wonderful and nutty. Add in the rest of the ingredients, stir well to combine, then cook for a minute or two until the sauce thickens slightly.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium or medium-low and stir in the gnocchi and finish (see above).
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  • Sarah Quinn
    Sarah Quinn
  • hardlikearmour
  • iuzzini
  • fiveandspice
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (, where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.