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Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Clams and White Wine

June 15, 2011

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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Add the gnocchi back to the pan, toss with the clams and sauce, plate and serve garnished with more chopped parsley.
14 Comments leave one →
  1. June 15, 2011 10:51 AM

    To die for. I loved the gnocchi at first instance. Now I love it all the more because I just love clams. Your photos taunt me, Jean.

  2. June 15, 2011 10:51 AM

    So pretty! Great job with the gnocchi! I have never made my own, but maybe someday!

  3. June 15, 2011 11:10 AM

    Your gnocchi are so adorable! I love that they are purple 🙂 I love this recipe and have been meaning to give gnocchi a try! Soon!

  4. June 15, 2011 11:59 AM

    These look great! Love the color, it is so unique. And I totally agree that food blogging has forced me to try new things in the kitchen.

  5. June 15, 2011 2:14 PM

    Great looking dish, Jean! There is something extremely satisfying in rolling your own pasta, including gnocchi:) I am glad that your first attempt was a success – once you gain the confidence, gnocchi will become a staple.
    My blog has made me leave my comfort zone, too, and I embrace the challenges completely.

  6. June 15, 2011 5:50 PM

    The gnocchi are gorgeous. I love the color! The whole dish sounds great. I’m usually not a huge gnocchi fan, I find them a little heavy. But paired with clams sounds like a great dish.

  7. June 15, 2011 6:18 PM

    Vongole is my favorite spaghetti… it’s wonderful idea to eat with your purple sweet potato gnocchi! Your pictures are beautiful Jean. I hope your husband will like this dish and enjoy it together. 🙂

  8. June 15, 2011 7:23 PM

    beautiful presentation colourful meal

  9. June 16, 2011 9:59 AM

    Came across your blog on foodbuzz & am your newest follower!!!
    – Jessica @

  10. June 16, 2011 11:26 AM

    How beautiful! Love purple potatoes!

  11. June 16, 2011 1:20 PM

    Awww, I’m so flattered for being mentioned on your blog and inspiring your craving for this gnocchi dish! I hope your hubby will enjoy the dish. I’m actually craving pasta and clams again! 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your week!

  12. June 16, 2011 3:38 PM

    I know I left you a FB comment, but I had to state again how beautiful your purple gnocchi look. I want some! 🙂

  13. June 24, 2011 11:57 PM

    Amazing dish! I love gnocchi, and I’ve had purple ones recently in a restaurant in Italy… and with seafood! So glad I now have a recipe 🙂

    I’ve just discovered your blog and I love it – I will be back!

  14. July 5, 2011 7:55 AM

    I tried the recipe: delicious! Thank you for posting it.
    Anyway, I’m a big fan of sweet potatoes, I recently write an article on their health benefits, check it out:

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