Before Jonathan and I lived together, we always had a ‘date night’ during the week. This started in the very early stages of our relationship in Illinois, when we both lived in the suburbs with our parents as recent college grads, and Kelly and I would trek back and forth from our hometown to see Jonathan and Dave. Date night has evolved from suburban movie nights to all-out Chicago city dates to concert evenings to home cooking accompanied by wine. Through all its stages, date night has been a blast. But when we moved to Denver and moved in together, it fell by the wayside. We see each other every night and often go out one night on the weekend together, so we just didn’t think to do it anymore during the week. Imagine my complete elation when Jonathan suggested we bring weeknight date night back after the holidays this year! I mean, this kind of thing is usually initiated by the female in the relationship, but Jonathan was all about it and gung-ho to make it happen. I (obviously) readily (and maybe a bit too enthusiastically) agreed. It’s fun to have an excuse during the week to go out and have a good meal and cocktail, see a new movie, try a new recipe together, explore a new restaurant. Plus, it breaks up the monotony of the work week and gives us both something to look forward to.
Last week for date night we cooked at home and tried something new: sweet potato gnocchi. It honestly was one of the best meals we’ve ever home-cooked and came out totally restaurant-worthy. Here’s how you do it…
- 2 lbs. of sweet potatoes (this will be 2-3 potatoes depending on their size)
- 12-oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 4 tbsp. chopped sage
- 2 1/2 c. flour, plus some for a floured rolling surface
Poke the sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Microwave them on a plate for 6 minutes on each side. Poke them again to make sure they’re done and easily pierced, because if your potatoes are larger and not fully cooked you may need to keep them in for a few additional minutes. When easily pierced, take potatoes out of microwave and cut them in half to cool. Once they are cool enough to handle, scrape the potato insides out with a spoon. Run the potato through a potato masher. Mix the ricotta, Parmesan, brown sugar, nutmeg and a generous pinch of salt into the riced sweet potato. Make sure you really mix everything in well to get a good bite of flavor into what will be each piece of the gnocchi. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Add flour to your dough, kneading in until well combined and gnocchi dough no longer feels too sticky. Flour your rolling surface and, in small amounts, roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut the dough rolls into 1-inch long pieces and pierce them with a fork for an authentic feel.
Once your water is boiling, carefully plop your gnocchi dumplings into the pot for 5-6 minutes, until they float to the top. You may need to boil them in 2 rounds. Heat up 1/2 stick of butter in a sautee pan on medium heat, and add the chopped sage once the butter is melted. Let the sage seep into the butter mixture for 1-2 minutes before adding your gnocchi to the butter. Be sure to continuously (but carefully so they don’t disintegrate) toss the gnocchi in the butter. They will cook for 4-5 minutes before they start getting golden brown on the outside.
- 1 bunch of kale leaves
- 1 c. walnuts
- 3 cloves crushed garlic
- salt to taste
- olive oil
Heat 1 tbsp. oil on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Toss the walnuts in the oil and garlic until slightly toasted. Twist and rip your kale leaves in sections and add them to the garlic and walnuts. Add salt to taste. Continuously stir the kale until it is limp and sauteed.