I am super excited about today’s post and I have been eagerly awaiting sharing it with you all. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat you likely saw me testing this recipe, you also could probably sense my insane excitement over it’s success.
October is National Pasta Month and when Calphalon asked if I would partner with them to create my twist on a classic pasta recipe, I jumped at the chance.
But first, a little background and history on me, my love of pasta and this recipe. Despite my grain-free lifestyle these days, I am no stranger to the carbohydrate love affair of pasta. As a child, pasta was something we ate often as a family and I was known to enjoy the cold pasta leftovers for breakfast on occasion. My love of pasta even earned me the nickname “The Carbo Kid” at a very young age.
While I am not Italian, to me, pasta is comfort. It’s love! A well made meal, with pasta as the main attraction, this is best enjoyed with good friends or family. It calls for a good bottle of wine, some crusty homemade bread and great conversation. Pasta is for memory-making, story telling, laughs and smiles. To me it’s an event.
I distinctly recall upon discovering my gluten intolerance 12 years ago, very much mourning the loss of pasta. Thankfully over the years, many incredible gluten-free pastas have come to market, even a few well-made grain-free options. These days as I maintain a mostly grain-free and dairy-free diet, I have chosen to generally just abstain from pasta. I operate much better this way, I am an all or nothing girl. If I were to make gluten-free pasta on the weekend for the occasional treat, next thing you know I’ll have made over a pound of it and I would have to eat the leftovers for the days that follow. There would be no stopping me. There is no half-assing it when it comes to pasta.
But I am nothing if I am not stubborn. Calphalon approached me for this exciting Pasta Month Partnership and I was all in for the challenge! Calphalon teamed up with Chef James Briscione, Culinary Instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education New York, for their Master the Classics program which showcases five classic recipes that every home-cook should (and can!) know.
They asked for me to share my twist on this classic recipe, surely I couldn’t refuse (my stubborness). I immediately knew that I wanted to share a paleo-friendly version. Grain-free, dairy-free and made without the traditional white potatoes that gnocchi are known for. Paired with a quick 10-minute tomato sauce and you have everything you could ever need.
I make these with a Japanese sweet potato that is white, to stick with the classic gnocchi look, regular sweet potatoes will absolutely work (just not yams). I haven’t tested the recipe using traditional white potatoes, but I am certain it would work. (The gnocchi would still be grain-free, just not “certified” paleo) I use a blend of blanched almond flour and arrowroot starch, I haven’t yet tried tapioca or potato starch, but I imagine those could work, as well. As simple as it sounds, the key to these gnocchi is the garlic powder, I found when recipe developing, that without the garlic, the gnocchi had more of a sweetness than they traditionally do, due to the sweet potatoes. The garlic definitely masks the sweetness and truly highlights the savory.
Calphalon, an expert in cookware and cutlery, is working to educate Americans that it takes more to be a respected chef – you have to learn to boil water before you sauté. It’s all about getting back to basics. And with the help of Calphalon’s durable, everyday cookware and an accomplished chef, anyone can indeed learn to “Master the Classics.”
We hope you too will celebrate National Pasta Month and we encourage you to share your favorite pasta recipes as you master the classics, using the hashtag #CookingClassics & tagging the Calphalon social handles:
- 1½ lbs sweet potatoes* (about 2 large) - I used white japanese sweet potatoes
- 2 cups tightly packed blanched almond flour
- 1¼ cup arrowroot powder, plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 pasture-raised large egg
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Pierce the potatoes on all sides with the tip of a knife or fork. Lightly grease the potatoes in olive oil. Place on a lightly greased, rimmed baking sheet and bake until fork tender, about an hour to an hour and a half (bake time with vary based on the size and shape of the potatoes)
- In a large bowl, combine the almond flour and arrowroot starch in a bowl with the sea salt and garlic powder and set aside.
- Once done, let the potatoes cool enough to touch, cutting them open to help cool and let more moisture escape. Scoop out the insides/peel off the skins and add to a large mixing bowl. Rice the scooped potato with a ricer, or mash them very well with a fork. The potatoes must be used while they are still fairly warm.
- Meanwhile, bring 3 quarts of water in a 5-quart dutch oven to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, and salt generously.
- Make a mound out of the potatoes with a well in the middle and add the egg. Using your hands, mix the egg in with the potatoes. Sprinkle in about ½ of the flour blend.
- With your knuckles, start to press the flour into the potatoes and work the dough until it begins to come together in sticky clumps. Fold the dough over itself and press down. Continue working it and continuing to add the remaining flour mixture, a little at a time. Continue to work the dough with your hands until it is no longer sticky. As most (or all) of the flour mixture is incorporated, gently knead the dough until it can easily be rolled into smooth, non-sticky ball of dough. To check if the dough is right, roll a small piece of the dough into a rope, ½-inch in diameter. If it holds together, it’s ready.
- You don’t want the dough sticking to your hands or falling apart. If it is falling apart at all or is sticky and your flour blend is all gone, simply add a little dusting of almond flour and arrowroot starch, and continue to fold and press the dough and test again.
- Form the dough into a ball and cut into 8 even sized portions. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, uncovered.
- Lightly dust a clean, flat working area with some extra arrowroot starch. Roll out each portion into a rope that is about ½-inch in diameter. Using a knife, cut the rope into 1-inch pillows. Place the gnocchi on a lightly floured sheet pan.
- Using a fork turned upside down, roll each gnocchi across the tines of the fork and press down gently. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. Clearly if you have a gnocchi board this is an ever better option. The indentations helps the gnocchi hold the sauce and they cook faster.
- As you shape the gnocchi, dust them lightly with the flour from the pan.
- Cook gnocchi in the boiling salted water, in small batches of about 15-20 at a time. The gnocchi are done when they float to the surface and remain there for about 15 seconds, should take about a minute and a half. Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, remove the gnocchi from the water and shake off excess water. Place the cooked gnocchi on a baking sheet lightly greased in olive oil while you cook the rest. I find tossing the cooked gnocchi with a little olive oil helps prevent them from sticking together.
- Toss the gnocchi with your sauce of choice and serve immediately. Enjoy.
* Weight when uncooked and whole. Regular sweet potatoes (not yams) will also work
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium onion, diced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 28 ounce can roasted crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- Heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, oregano, red pepper flakes and sea salt. Saute until the onion is slightly translucent and fragrant, 3-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic. Give it a stir and sauté for about 45 second to a minute or until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes and reduce the heat, bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the fresh basil. Toss a few spoonfuls of the sauce with the cooked gnocchi, top with additional fresh basil, red pepper flakes and shredded cheese, if you’d like.
Calphalon is a sponsor of Tasty Yummies. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for Tasty Yummies.