Tasty Kitchen came up with this variation on one of my favorite themes: Gnocchi. This never fails to be a satisfying meal for me. The cheese sauce is pure velvet, smooth and gloriously Gouda. The gnocchi turns out light and tender. If you like your Gnocchi a little crisp on the outside, pan fry them up a bit in a tiny bit of butter or olive oil before enrobing them with the sauce.
FOR THE GNOCCHI:
- 1 pound Sweet Potatoes
- 6 ounces fluid Ricotta Cheese or chevre
- ½ cups Parmesan Cheese, Finely Grated
- 1 Tablespoon Golden Brown Sugar, Packed
- 1 teaspoon Salt Plus 1 Tablespoon For Pasta Water
- ¼ teaspoons Nutmeg, Freshly Ground
- 1-¾ cup All-purpose Flour
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- 2 cups Milk, Heated
- ¼ whole Onion
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 3 whole Sage Leaves
- 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
- 1 cup Gouda Cheese (Shredded)
- Salt And Freshly Ground Pepper, To Taste
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper — set aside to hold gnocchi prior to boiling.
Place sweet potatoes on a second baking sheet; bake at 350 degrees F until tender, about an hour minutes. Cut in half and allow to cool. Scrape sweet potato flesh into a medium bowl and mash; transfer 1 1/2 cup to a large bowl. Add ricotta cheese or chevre; blend well. Add Parmesan cheese, brown sugar, 1 teaspoons salt, and nutmeg; mash to blend. Mix in flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface; divide into 3 equal pieces. Rolling between your palms and the floured work surface, form each piece into a 20-inch-long rope (about 1 inch in diameter), sprinkling with flour as needed if sticky. Cut each rope into 20 pieces. Roll each piece over the tines of a fork to indent. Transfer to the baking sheet.
Bring a large pot of water to boil; add 1 tablespoon salt and return to boil. Working in batches, boil gnocchi until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer gnocchi to a clean rimmed baking sheet. Cool completely. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
In a small sauce pot combine milk, onion, garlic and sage. Place over medium heat and heat until tiny bubbles appear around the edges of the pan, about 5 minutes. Do not boil. Remove pan from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove and discard onion, garlic and sage leaves. Cover to keep warm.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, until blended, 1 minute.
Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and continue to whisk until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Dip a wooden spoon in the sauce to coat it. Pass your finger through the sauce on the back of the spoon—it should leave a clean track.
Strain the sauce into an clean saucepan. Whisk in the shredded Gouda cheese. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour sauce over gnocchi and serve.