Tantalizing Toasted Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Hazelnuts

October 13, 2014

Toasted sweet potato gnocchi with vegetables and hazelnuts is a tantalizing fall meal.  Gnocchi is an Italian potato dumpling that's light as air and, in this case, coated in a glistening layer of butter.  This vegetarian version combines the tender gnocchi with sauteed leeks, kale, mushrooms and hazelnuts.  You can switch up the recipe by adding smoky bacon or swapping the kale for Swiss chard or spinach.  This simple and delicious meal is seasonal, satisfying and easy.

Toasted Sweet Potato Gnocchi 

1 17.6 pound package of sweet potato gnocchi
1 leek, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely mined
2 large kale leaves, cut into thin strips (you can also use Swiss chard)
1 pint sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the gnocchi according to the package directions.

Meanwhile slice, rinse, drain and towel-dry the leeks to remove any excess sand.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet.  Add the leeks and garlic and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the leeks start to turn soft and the kale and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the leeks and kale to a small bowl. Add the mushrooms and remaining tablespoon of olive oil and cook until mushrooms are softened and begin to shrink. Remove them and add to the bowl with the leeks and kale.

At the same time you are cooking the mushrooms, toast the hazelnuts in a small dry skillet until they are golden brown in color.  Nuts can burn quickly so keep a close eye on them. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until it begins to brown and smells nutty.  Add the gnocchi and toast them for a few minutes.  Once the gnocchi start to get a little color, add back in the leeks, kale, mushroom, hazelnuts and freshly grated Parmesan. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Toss and serve immediately with more parmesan if desired. 

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