When the temperature dips, we want to cozy up and make comfort food. Suddenly, we don't have to rush through dinner to get back outside – our meal is the main event, and we couldn't be happier about taking our time, cracking open a bottle of wine and feasting this fall.

This gnocchi recipe makes potato dumplings from scratch, before pairing with zesty sausage, earthy rapini, and tangy, peppery Classico Riserva Arrabiata Pasta Sauce.

The best thing about this tasty recipe for pillowy potato gnocchi is that you don't even need a pasta maker. The recipe yields eight servings, so you can make Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sausage and Rapini and invite some guests over, or eat some now and save the rest for later. 

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sausage and Rapini

 

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese
2 large sweet potatoes (2 lbs/900 g)
1 cup Kraft 100% Parmesan Aged Grated Cheese, divided
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 tsp sea salt
1 pinch ground cinnamon
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 bunch rapini, trimmed
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb (450 g) Italian sausage, casings removed
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 jar (650 mL) Classico Riserva Arrabbiata Pasta Sauce, warmed
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Method

Line sieve with cheesecloth; place over a bowl. Scoop ricotta into prepared sieve. Refrigerate for two hours.

Pierce sweet potatoes all over with a fork; place on a microwaveable plate. Microwave on high for 8 minutes. Turn potatoes over; continue microwaving for 9 to 10 minutes or until very tender. Cool slightly. Cut potatoes lengthwise in half. Scoop pulp into a large bowl; discard skins. Cool potato pulp completely.

Add drained ricotta to potato pulp. Using a hand blender or food processor, blend until smooth. Add 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, sugar, lemon zest, salt and cinnamon; mix well. Stir in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto floured work surface; divide into 4 pieces. Roll one piece into 3/4-inch wide log; cut into 3/4-inch lengths. With a finger, roll each piece up the back of a fork to create ridges on one side. Transfer to floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bring a large pan of water to boil. Add 1/4 of the gnocchi; cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until they float to surface. Remove from water with slotted spoon; place on greased large rimmed baking sheet. Set aside. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. In the same pot of boiling water, blanch rapini 20 sec. or until bright green; transfer rapini with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water. Stir until chilled. Drain well, then spread onto kitchen towels to absorb any remaining liquid.

Heat 2 tsp oil in a large cast-iron or stainless steel skillet on medium heat. Break sausage into 1-inch chunks, then add to skillet. Cook for 10 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally and deglazing skillet with a splash of water if necessary to prevent sausage from sticking to the bottom of skillet. Transfer sausage to plate; cover to keep warm. Drain fat and any liquid from skillet, then wipe skillet clean.

Heat same skillet on high heat. Add rapini to skillet; cook for 2 minutes on each side or until evenly browned on both sides. Transfer to cutting board; cut into 2-inch lengths. Cover to keep warm.

Heat remaining oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add half the butter; cook until melted. Stir in half the gnocchi; cook for 4 minutes or until evenly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet. Repeat with remaining butter and gnocchi.

Spoon half the pasta sauce evenly onto 8 plates; top with gnocchi, sausage, rapini and remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle with pepper and remaining Parmesan cheese.

Find more Riserva recipes here