Gnocchi (pronounced knee-oh-key) is a fun word to say but it’s even more fun to eat! We added sweet potatoes to this classic Italian pasta to give it a big boost of vitamins and minerals – including an amazing boost of vitamin A. The sweet taste of the gnocchi in contrast with cool, refreshing pesto has kids (and grown-ups) asking for seconds of this high fiber, super dish.
Basil Pesto: 4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves ¼ cup hulled raw sunflower seeds 2 cloves garlic ½ teaspoon sea salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 5 tablespoons low-sodium vegetable broth (or water) 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 small sweet potatoes (8 ounces each) 1 medium baking (russet) potato (8 ounces) 1/8 teaspoon sea salt 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1 cup quinoa flour (or whole wheat flour)
In food processor or blender, pulse basil leaves, sunflower seeds, garlic, salt and pepper until finely chopped.
With food processor still running, gradually add broth and oil through feed tube to form a smooth, thick consistency.
Transfer pesto to medium bowl, fold in Parmesan and cover.
Cover and refrigerate. Can be made up to 2 days ahead.
Prepare Gnocchi: Pierce potatoes with fork in several places. Place potatoes on paper towel in microwave oven. Cook potatoes on High 10–12 minutes or until fork-tender, turning potatoes over once halfway through cooking. (Or, preheat oven to 450°F. Pierce potatoes with fork; place on oven rack and bake 45 minutes or until fork-tender.) Remove potatoes from microwave or oven; cool to touch.
Heat large saucepan of water to boiling over high heat to cook gnocchi.
When potatoes are cool, peel potatoes. Into large bowl, press warm potatoes through food mill or ricer. (Or, mash potatoes with potato masher until no lumps remain.) Stir in salt and pepper. With hand, knead flours into mashed potatoes (about ½ cup at a time) until dough forms. (Amount of flour may vary. You want to use as little flour as possible to achieve a dough consistency.)
Once you’ve got a workable dough, pinch off a small piece and drop into boiling water. Within a few minutes the dough should rise to the top and retain its shape. If it does not rise, you may need to add more flour to the dough.
Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. On lightly floured surface, with floured hands, roll 1 piece of dough at a time. into ½-inch diameter rope. Cut rope into ½-inch lengths, reshaping if necessary into square pillow shapes. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Repeat rolling and cutting with remaining dough. (Gnocchi can be made up to 4 hours before cooking; cover and refrigerate.)
Drop gnocchi, in batches, into boiling water and cook until they float to the surface. With slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to serving bowl.
To serve, toss warm gnocchi with pesto to coat evenly.
Makes 5 servings (1 cup per serving).
Nutrition Facts per serving: 410 calories; 8g fat (1g sat fat, 4g mono, 3g poly, 0g trans fat); 0mg cholesterol; 74g carbohydrate (9g fiber, 8g sugar); 12g protein; 105mg sodium; 370% Daily Value (DV) vitamin A; 45% DV vitamin C; 10% DV calcium; 30% DV iron.
Stacey Antine, MS, RDN, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, director, HealthBarn Foundation, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.