I've made gnocchi before, but never Sweet Potato Gnocchi. This is a great recipe, and the sauce, while extremely easy, compliments the pasta perfectly. I watched Ron Suhanosky from "Pasta Sfoglia" prepare this dish on the Martha Stewart show. If you follow the link, there is also a video, which is helpful, and re-emphasizes the ease of this dish.
A couple of tips: this dish comes together very quickly (literally minutes) and can be made for guests, just before dining if you have the gnocchi prepared and ready to cook, and the dried prunes chopped; from start to finish, cooking the potatoes, and making the gnocchi takes tops an hour and a half (while the potatoes are cooking, you'll have about an hour to do something else); you need to get the rice flour even though you only use it to dust the gnocchi because the texture of the rice flour keeps it from sticking together; a potato ricer prepares the potatoes to the right consistency so they easily mix with the flour and egg to form very light gnocchi; and remember--use gentle hands!
2 cups coarsely chopped pitted prunes
1 cup dry Marsala
2 T unsalted butter
Sweet Potato Gnocchi*
6 small amaretti cookies, crushed, or 3 double packages
Prepare gnocchi as directed below.
Add prunes and marsala to a medium skillet. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately remove skillet from heat and set aside.
Fill a large pot with 4 quarts water; season with 2 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil over high heat.
Add butter to skillet with prunes and Marsala and return to high heat; cook until butter is melted.
Add gnocchi to boiling water; cook until gnocchi rise to the top. Continue cooking 1 minute more. Add ½ cup of the pasta cooking water to skillet with prune mixture. Using a wire-mesh skimmer, transfer gnocchi to a warm, shallow serving platter. Pour prune mixture over top.
Garnish with crushed amaretti and grated parmesan, and serve immediately.
*Sweet Potato Gnocchi (for 2 ½ lb.)
(I half this recipe using one medium sweet, and one medium russet potato, one cup flour, still one whole egg, 2 T maple syrup and ½ tsp. salt and it makes four+ generous servings. I make the same amount of sauce as called for in original recipe, and it's not too much.)
1 ½ lb. Sweet potato
1 ½ lb. Russet potato
2 cups all purpose flour
1 large egg
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp. Coarse salt
Rice flour, for dusting
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap sweet potatoes in parchment paper-lined aluminum foil. Bake until easily pierced in the center with a fork, about 1 hour. Let cool to touch.
Place russet potatoes in large pot, and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until easily pierced in the center with a fork. Drain, and let potatoes cool to the touch.
Wrap both sweet and white potatoes in a clean kitchen towel and rub to remove skins. Pass potatoes through a food mill fitted with a medium-hole dish, or through a ricer, into a large mixing bowl.
Gently form dough into a 10-by-8 rectangle. Let rest for 2 minutes. Work quickly while dough is still warm.
Lightly dust a clean, dry work surface with rice flour. Cut the rectangle into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 1 inch thick rope.
Gnocchi can also be frozen up to 2 weeks. To freeze, place them, dusted with rice flour, in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, place them one on top of the other in an airtight container. To thaw for cooking, place gnocchi in a single layer on a baking sheet in the refrigerator for not more than 1 hour before cooking. Continue cooking according to recipe directions.