Gnocchi with Bacon, Sweet Potato and Spinach

I’m always looking for pasta recipes with lots of veggies in them. Pasta is a great way to use vegetables in creative ways.  It’s also one of my favorite ways of incorporating greens into my diet. This recipes is a warming, comforting dish packed with vegetables and it’s absolutely delicious.

Ingredients: Serves 4

1 Package of vacuum packaged Gnocchi. You could use fresh if you can get your hands on some.

2-3 Sweet Potatoes, about 1/2 inch cubes

6 Slices of good quality Bacon, sliced into stripes

1 lb of Baby Spinach

1 Thyme bunch, pulled from the stems and chopped

1 Cup of Chicken Stock

1 Cup of drinkable White Wine

4-5 Garlic cloves, smashed and chopped

1 Cup of Parmesan cheese (Note: there is no picture of me adding the cheese, but I will make note of it in the recipe)

Salt & Pepper

Half a stick of Butter

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Before you cube the sweet potato, use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Then, very carefully, make half inch slices  across the sweet potato into about 4-5 slices, depending on the size. Again, be careful, sweet potatoes are kind of stubborn to cut through. You may have to put a little oomph in it so make sure you protect your fingers. Then stack about two pieces at a time and make another set of half inch cuts across the surface, basically forming french fry shapes.

Then turn the “fries” horizontally and slice them one last time into half inch cubes and set aside.

Smash the garlic cloves and then run your knife through them to a fine chop.

Pull about the thyme leaves from the stems and them finely chop them up.

Stack up the bacon horizontally and them cut them into little slices. Throw them in a skillet with a tablespoon of butter and place it on medium-low heat.

Cook them until they just become crisp and then drain on a paper towel. Make sure you don’t cook them too long otherwise they will burn. There is a fine like between crispy and burnt when cooking bacon so be mindful of that.

Add another tablespoon of butter to the bacon fat, increase the heat to medium high and add the sweet potato cubes. Cook until there is a little color on the sweet potatoes.

Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic and thyme and stir together. Also season it with some salt and pepper right now. Cook that for 2 minutes until the garlic and thyme become fragrant.

After a few minutes, add the wine and cook that for a few minutes until its reduced by half.

Once the wine has reduced, add the stock and cook that, again, till it has reduced by half.

While the stock is reducing, add the gnocchi. Cook the gnocchi until they float.

When the gnocchi float, use a coffee cup and reserve about a half cup of pasta water to thicken the sauce.  Then drain the gnocchi and add to the sweet potatoes and the sauce.

Add the reserved pasta water, a knob of butter and a handful of Parmesan cheese and mix it all together. Taste it to check for salt, if it needs a bit, add some. If it tastes good, then turn off the heat…

…then add the spinach just to wilt it.  Then its grub time!

Just spoon a pile onto your plate, sprinkle some more Parmesan cheese on top and a drizzle of olive oil and dig in.

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