I still smile when I think that I actually made my own gnocchi last weekend (post here). Last year, I never would have thought to make my own but this blog has contributed much to my embracing a can-do attitude in the kitchen. For some of the larger (in my mind) feats on the to-try list, I’m still the little engine looking up at the big mountain whispering to myself, I think I can, I think I can. But I’m enjoying each tasty bite along the way.
When I made the gnocchi, I had no plans for a final dish. As I mentioned, I did not become a fan of them until I tasted the dumplings prepared the right way. I’ve seen restaurant menus showcase gnocchi in a simple butter and sage sauce, in tomato sauce or dressed in cream. Normally, these would have all been suitable options for me but I had another craving that needed satisfying. As wonderful as the gnocchi were slightly toasted in olive oil, I was in the mood for clams and I have Judy at BeBe Love Okazu for igniting the big craving.
Judy delivered a one-two punch (in a good way) with two consecutive clam posts. First it was her Sake Steamed Clams that had me intrigued by the sake infusion. Then she sealed the deal with Spaghetti with Clams. By the time I made the gnocchi, I was determined to combine this new love with an old favorite.
I modeled this gnocchi dish after my own recipe for Spaghetti con Vongole. I cooked together clams, white wine and garlic to balance the sweetness of the gnocchi. Then inspiration struck and I also added porcini mushrooms to the mix. The latter provided depth of flavor, a complexity that I didn’t expect. I was very happy with this dish. However, I didn’t add the mushrooms to the name of this dish because I would like to offer it as an optional ingredient. The clams and wine paired well with the gnocchi on their own; add the porcini mushrooms only if you are inclined.
I prepared this dish for one as my husband was out of town during the experiment but I’m looking forward to sharing my excitement with him when I prepare it again this week. I hope you like it, too.
Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Clams and White Wine
* This dish serves one as a main course or two as a first course
- 1 – 1 1/2 cups sweet potato gnocchi, cooked in boiling water until they float to surface, about 3 minutes
- 1/2 pound fresh clams, soaked in salted water for at least 30 minutes
- 2 – 3 tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in hot water for 20 minutes, chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoons porcini mushroom water (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 1/4 cup white wine
- lemon juice, to taste
- Olive oil
- crushed red pepper
- pinch salt
- chopped fresh parsley
- Start by heating about two tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Cook them until they’re lightly browned on the edges, about two minutes. Remove the gnocchi from the pan and set aside.
- If you’re using the porcini mushrooms, add them to the hot oil along with the crushed red pepper and cook for a minute or two. Add the garlic and cook until they’re fragrant, up to a minute.
- If the pan looks a little dry, add more olive oil. Add the wine, some of the chopped parsley and mushroom water (if using). Wait a minute for the wine to reduce then add the clams, cover the pan and lower the heat slightly.
- When the clams start to open up, this will take only a few minutes, taste your sauce and season with salt if you feel it needs it. I also added a bit of lemon juice to mine to brighten the flavor of the sauce.
- Add the gnocchi back to the pan, toss with the clams and sauce, plate and serve garnished with more chopped parsley.