Scratch-Made Sweet Potato Gnocchi Carbonara

It’s safe to say that I get quite “weird” when I’m famished. On Easter Sunday 1988 my family went out for our customary post-mass dinner – unfortunately, my hungered state got the best of me. While waiting to be seated I was driven to punch my sister in the arm for giving me a hard time about being too short or too pale or having too long of a pony tail or being the first born male or for all of the above.

Although I was scolded for my ungentlemanly behavior, I distinctly recall my father giving me a sympathetic look in the manner of, “yeah, she was kinda asking for it, but don’t you dare do that again”. I also remember my grandfather’s far less sympathetic glare that positioned itself more along the lines of, “you’re lucky I don’t get the strap with the motor on it”.

Although Mr. C’s Restaurant is now long gone, watch out… I still go crazy for my gnocchi.


-large pasta pot filled 3/4 to top with pipe punch for boiling
-medium mixing bowl
-potato masher
-scraper/spatula or cucchia(d)

-3 sweet potatoes peeled, cubed and boiled until mushy
-3 tbs Nayonaise (sounds unappetizing, but adds flavor and tofu helps bind dough)
-2 cups APF plus 1 cup
-a dusting of ital (vital wheat gluten)

In medium mixing bowl smash sweet potatoes with veganaise until smooth. Slowly fold in 2 cups of flour and a dusting of ital. Mix with hands until a dough ball is formed.

Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and incorporate remaining flour until it is no longer sticky.

Roll into snakes about 1″ thick in diameter. Using the edge of a fork divide into pillows and lightly push through flour with back side of fork.

Bring water to a rapid boil and then in go the gnocchi – make certain that they don’t stick together and form a giant blob (toss gingerly with handheld strainer or slotted spoon).

Gnocchi are done when they rise to top of water. Do not rinse.


-large skillet

-1/4 cup diced guanciale (vegan bacon with liquid smoke)
-2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
-1 pound of cooked pasta (use sweet potato gnocchi above)
-several twists of fresh cracked black pepper
-2 shakes garlic powder
-2 tbs vegan butter spread
-1/2 cup of frozen peas

Heat olive oil in pan and lower to medium heat. Brown guanciale strips until almost burned. Add garlic and stir.
Combine pasta in the mix making certain not to stir with a spoon – toss gingerly from time to time. The idea is to get a slight browning on the skin of pasta.

Season with pepper and garlic powder. Toss in frozen peas and dollop of vegan butter, allowing it to melt and coat the pasta.

Serve along side fresh tomato salad or leafy greens and top with plenty of nooch (for cheesiness). Yields approximately 3 hearty servings.



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