I honestly have to Google how to spell gnocchi every time I write about it, and how lame is that? name that movie.
So, this is one of those things that was kind of my idea and then I realized it was a thing and then I added 37 other flavors to the mix because bacon. I wanted to do something annoyingly basic with fall flavors and orange because Halloween and then there was bacon in the fridge. Then I started reading some other fall recipes, and it turns out that Beets and Sweets (potatoes, that is) as a recipe title is totally a thing all over the internet! I saw a lot of sweet potato hash with beets, specifically, but I wanted more. I wanted a creamy sauce, and bacon and green onions and cheese also turns this into a loaded baked potato situation, but with a sweet potato. And the beets, obviously.
Golden beets are just so lovely, don't you think? So we roast, we blend, we sizzle bacon, we toss with gnocchi and all is right with the world. I threw in a red jalapeno because we still have so many of them, but crushed red pepper would work beautifully here too to add some spice. I specifically like this meal because it's filling, not annoyingly healthy, but not annoyingly heavy too. A little cheese, a little bacon, and a creamy sauce made from roasted sweet potato AND the skins. Balance.
It's fall in a bowl and I'm not ashamed.
You need a pound of gnocchi, a big sweet potato, some golden beets, garlic, a red pepper, cheddar cheese, chili powder, bacon, green onions, and some heavy cream. Just a little! Maybe some salt, and parm for the top if you'd like, but that really might be overkill.
This happens in phases, but none of the steps take a lot of effort. The longest time is the roasting of the veggies, so we start those first. Cut the sweet potato, beets, and pepper into big chunks - an inch or so, large bite-sized? The potato and pepper will end up pureed in the sauce, the beets will stay whole in the dish. Drizzle the veggies with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and the chili powder.
Roast the veggies for 30-45 minutes at 375F until they're golden and soft. This can be done ahead of time or while you prepare the other components of the dish.
When you're ready to continue cooking, boil the gnocchi to al dente, for 3-5 minutes, just until it starts to float to the top. Right before you drain the dumplings, reserve a cup or more of the cooking water to thin out the sauce.
Then, chop the scallions and the bacon. Save the scallions for topping the dish and add the bacon to a large skillet. At this point, you can proceed if your veggies are cooked or you can keep everything as it is (prepped and ready) until you're ready to make the sauce and bring the whole meal together.
When you're ready to move forward, add the roasted pepper, the sweet potato chunks, the (peeled, raw) garlic cloves, and ½ cup of gnocchi cooking water to a blender or food processor. Puree the mixture until it is very smooth - add more water if the mixture is very thick.
Then, turn the heat in the skillet to medium-high heat and cook the bacon for 5-7 minutes until it is crispy at the edges.
When the bacon is crispy, add the roasted beets, gnocchi, cheddar, potato puree, and cream to the skillet. Stir everything together, and add more water if you need to thin out the sauce - it should coat the gnocchi evenly and not be sticky. Taste the dish and add salt to your preference - the balance of spicy, salty, and sweet should be very even.
To serve, it's scallions all over everything, and a swan dive into fall.
I mean, please. It's a little creamy, it's a little cheesy, it's sweet and spicy, and there is crunchy bacon and tender beets running through the whole thing. I made this on a whim the first time and was so pleased with the outcome that I had to tell you about it.
Dinner tonight, dinner this weekend, dinner for Halloween? All 3 work.
Bacon Cheddar Beets + Sweets Gnocchi
- 1 large sweet potato cut into chunks
- 2 large golden beets cut into chunks
- 1 small red jalapeno halved or quartered
- olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 3 cloves peeled garlic
- 1 pound gnocchi
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon chopped
- 4 scallions sliced
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup cheddar cheese freshly grated
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Arrange the sweet potato, beet, and pepper chunks on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and the chili powder. Roast for 30-45 minutes until the veggies are browned and very soft.
- Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi in salted boiling water to al dente. Right before draining, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Drain the gnocchi and set aside until ready to use.
- In a blender, puree the roasted sweet potato, red jalapeno, garlic cloves, and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water until smooth. The mixture should be the consistency of applesauce.
- In a large skillet, add the bacon and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook the bacon until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy, about 7 minutes. When the bacon is crispy add the prepared gnocchi, cheddar, roasted beets, potato puree, and cream to the skillet. Stir together and taste; add salt to your preference and more of the gnocchi water if needed to thin the sauce.
- Serve immediately topped with lots of scallions.