Have you ever had gnocchi? (pronounced no-kee.... I think) They are an Italian specialty made of potato and flour and then boiled in water. They have a sort of noodle or dumpling type texture and take most of their flavor from the sauce.
The first time I ever had gnocchi, they were "the real deal", that is made to perfection by an Italian family. It was mid-afternoon in an Italian restaurant somewhere in the German city of Karlsruhe or its suburb Neureut. Connie and Cati had taken me (and several of their friends) to Cati's family's restaurant. I had never heard of gnocchi before, and I was fascinated by these tiny fat little pieces. I don't know that I particularly believed their assertion that these tasty little noodles drowning in tomato sauce were actually made from potatoes. Let me just say, they were really good, and (ahem) many years later they still hold a fond place in my memory bank of tasty foods I have had in my life.
Having heard me talk about them, my sister gifted me with a cute little gnocchi board this Christmas. I am not sure that my version of sweet potato gnocchi would pass muster against "the real deal" gnocchi, but they were very fun to make and quite cute with their orderly little ridges formed by my new gnocchi board. While I did a more ad hoc, play it by ear kind of recipe making with this batch, I essentially modified this recipe from allrecipes.com. And used a video or two from youtube to figure out how use the gnocchi board.
Since I wasn't so sure how a sweet potato gnocchi would go with tomato sauce, we served it instead with a spinach parmesan alfredo sauce. (Basic white sauce with garlic powder, salt, parmesan and cooked spinach to taste.) Lovely and comforting for a chilly winter afternoon.
*peel and quarter several sweet potatoes
*boil in salted water
*mash sweet potatoes once soft
*allow butter to melt into the potatoes
*add flour in 1/2 cup batches until you have a soft workable dough
*break off 1/2 " to 1" pieces
*roll the (well floured) pieces down over the gnocchi board with your thumb
*place the gnocchi on a tray or pan separated enough that they are not touching
*boil the gnocchi in a salted pot of water, allowing them to boil for about 3-5 minutes after they rise to the surface
*serve with your sauce of choice
*freeze any extra (uncooked) gnocchi for another time