Alright, so it didn’t actually break the Internet in a literal sense, but for a moment I really did think it had broken my phone.
As many people already know, up until now I have never shared a recipe, but one fateful Wednesday evening changed everything:
Wednesday, April 8. Date night. I’m cooking dinner, the ultimate opportunity to show him what I’m made of. I need to think of something special, something exciting, something that will knock his socks off. Hmm… my gnocchi recipe is off-the-chain delicious. But maybe, just maybe, I can find a way take it to the next level… I rummaged around my fridge looking for inspiration, and I found it in the bottom of my crisper: sweet potatoes.
Mmmmmmm sweet potato gnocchi…
My mind was instantly racing with how to make this work. The secret to perfect gnocchi is having just the right amount of starch: enough to hold everything together, but not too much so as to make it gummy. Starch (a.k.a. amylum) is a complex carbohydrate found in plants that is made up of many repeating sugar molecules. Its ability to absorb liquids when heated makes it a fantastic thickener and stabilizer in cooking and is key to achieving the perfect, soft, pillowy pieces of heaven known as gnocchi.
Herein lies the problem: if I am replacing russet potatoes in this recipe with sweet potatoes, what is difference in grams of starch between the two, and how do I account for it to maintain the texture and integrity of the gnocchi? A simple calculation helps solve this issue: the average russet potato has 33 grams of starch while the average sweet potato only has 16 grams. That’s a 17-gram difference in starch content! :-0
For this recipe, I searched far and wide and have found the perfect solution to this predicament: arrowroot starch! This ingredient is a gluten-free starch that doesn’t interfere with the flavor of the dish. Although it can be substituted with other starchy flours (see substitution note below), arrowroot starch resulted in the best gnocchi texture. Combine it with gluten-free all purpose flour and you have yourself an incredibly easy gluten-free recipe for sweet potato gnocchi!
I love experimenting with different types of flour to find what combination works best, and I definitely suggest reading up on all the different options available. Here is a guilty confession of mine: two entire shelves in my pantry are solely dedicated to flour. Life is complicated when you have 20 different types of flour, okay?!
I decided on a brown butter sauce with shallots, sage, and shiitake mushrooms to accent—a classic combination. The fragrance of the sage highlighted the sweet potato perfectly, and the texture of the mushrooms made it a flawless companion.
The gnocchi could not have turned out more perfect, and my date was beyond astonished. His first bite was followed by a speechless stare at the gnocchi, amazed at the food he was enjoying. Eager to show everyone my creation, I snapped a quick picture, posted it that evening, set an alarm for the morning, put my phone on sleep mode and went to bed thinking nothing of it.
The response to the picture was *mind-blowing*. Likes, comments, messages, and e-mails came rushing in from people begging for my recipe. One friend offered to trade personal possessions in exchange for the recipe; another person tagged his girlfriend with a comment of “I’m going to make you this!” Dozens of comments from fans such as “Wow, this looks delicious!” and “You did an amazing job!” quickly filled up my Instagram.
Unfortunately, though, my poor little phone was so overwhelmed with all of these amazing messages that it must have had a seizure and turned itself off at some point during the night. My alarm didn’t even go off in the morning, and I woke up late with only minutes to get ready for work. I made sure to remember one vital item though as I raced out the door: the leftover sweet potato gnocchi I had packed for lunch. Priorities, you know? ;-)
Fast forward to today and here we are: the launch of my new website, Chemist in the Kitchen.
This gnocchi might not have actually broken the Internet, but it did compel me to make this website and begin sharing my recipes with all you wonderful people. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do.