Spiced Carrot Gnocchi in Creamy Sauce

March 22, 2008


Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Gnocchi Who?

Gnocchi your socks off.


Gnocchi three times.

Excuse me?

Gnocchi Three Times on the Ceiling if You Wa-ant Me. . . Twice on the Pipes. . .”

Okay, I think that’s quite enough.  

You shouldn’t gnocchi a guy when he’s down. 

I said that’s it!  That’s all I’m gonna take!

Oh, come on. Be nice to me.  I went to the School of Hard Gnocchis.

All right, buddy, you asked for it– 

Look, don’t gnocchi it ’til you try it.

*    *   *   *   *   *

Now, judging by my little preamble here, you might surmise that I don’t take my gnocchi quite as seriously as I should.  I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.  I fully understand the gravitas of gnocchi, believe me; in fact, I take them just as seriously as my job (extremely); or saving for retirement (nerve-rackingly); or even the well-being of The Girls (all-consumingly). 

(“Well, Mum, you know that we both take your well-being very seriously too, right?  Because if anything ever happened to you, how would we get our dinner?”)

I am well aware that the genesis of a good gnocchi is more art than skill; and also that I am, in that particular realm at least, neither artistically inclined nor very skilled.  Because the process usually requires planning, talent, and the equanimity of a Stepford wife, I have rarely ventured to attempt the challenge.  A shame, really, as I adore gnocchi.

In my long-ago wheat-eating days, I would snatch any opportunity to sample one of those freshly pinched and simmered Italian dumplings.  The HH and I patronized quite a range of small, family-owned Italian restaurants in our early days, and each boasted its own version of the little pasta pillows: smothered in Arrabiata with extra jalapenos mounded on the side; lightly pan-fried in olive oil, then sprinkled liberally with springy sage and dusted with freshly grated Parmesan; tossed gently in a vodka cream sauce with black olives and capers–I loved them all. I loved the slightly gooey exterior, the softly yielding chew, the smooth and subtle flavor that demanded a potato ricer to achieve.

Before today, I had yet to sample a spelt-based version of gnocchi.  (Seems they don’t serve spelt gnocchi in most Italian restaurants I’ve frequented. Quel surprise!). The few times I endeavored to cook up some of the light, spud-based morsels using a traditional recipe in the past, the result was a total flop.  Either the gnocchi were so hard and dense that they could be shot from a BB gun, or they turned out so soft and mushy that one might wonder where the pasta was hiding in this white, slushy gruel. And yet. . . and yet. . . they persisted in beckoning to me.  

So, last night, I threw caution to the winds, and allowed my passion for the little rascals to lead me into temptation.  I knew I’d likely get gnocchi’d up for my efforts, but just didn’t care.  After all, the outcome would be a bowl brimming with my delicious, darling pasta babies! Besides, I thought gnocchi would be the perfect submission to Ruth’s weekly Presto Pasta Night over at Once Upon a Feast.

I started with a fairly simple recipe for Spiced Carrot Gnocchi that I found in Gourmet Vegetarian by Jane Price, and adapted it according to my own dietary restrictions: no eggs and no wheat (replaced with silken tofu and a combination of whole spelt and oat flours, respectively).  I topped the gnocchi with a creamy, cheesy sauce of my own invention (I’ve had great luck with sauces in the past, thankfully), and sprinkled some chopped fresh parsley over top. 

How did it end up?  Well, let’s just say that the sauce was rich, creamy, and delicious, as expected.  As to my experiments with my potato nemesis? Well, I must confess that, once again, success eluded me.  Don’t get me wrong–they weren’t awful; in fact, the mildly sweet and dense chewiness was well complemented by the velvety, cheesy sauce.  Still, if you’re looking for the traditional version of this pasta, you won’t be satisfied with these. 

And I hate to admit it, I think I will finally put this kitchen quest behind me, once and for all.  That’s right–it’s time to gnocchi it off for good.

Spiced Carrot Gnocchi in Cream Sauce


The contrast between the dense, slightly chewy gnocchi and the velvety sauce is a pleasing one. These gnocchi were a little heavy and slightly sweet; if you’re okay with non-traditional pasta, you may enjoy these.

Spiced Carrot Gnocchi

Adapted from Gourmet Vegetarian by Jane Price



20 Responses to “Spiced Carrot Gnocchi in Creamy Sauce”

  1. Astra Libris Says:

    These look and sound scrumptious – and deliciously healthful as well! I love the carrot and spices combo! (and I’m so glad you’re back – I’ve been happily reading your latest posts… 🙂 The potato bread sounds divine!)

  2. Astra Libris Says:

    P.S. The gnocchi jokes made my night. 🙂

  3. Romina Says:

    I love the gnocchi joke!!

    Mmm. They look delicious. One day when I have the time I must make these. I’ve never tried salba, so it gives me an excuse to. =)

  4. Ginny Says:

    Awesome! I’ve made sweet potato, pumpkin and potato gnocchi…now carrots! Fabulous! Looks great! 🙂

  5. Johanna Says:

    Well if you can’t find gnocchi to love then maybe it is just as well you can laugh about it. I don’t have your limitations with gnocchi but am quite interested in vegan cheese sauces and love yours esp with the smoked paprika – I have had to buy a ridiculous amount of cashews for a recipe recently so maybe I could just use ground cashews instead of cashew butter (which is ridiculously expensive but I love it, I really do!)

  6. Mihl Says:

    Ha, ha I will gnocchi at your door to get a plate full of this delicious meal. I am very okay with non-traditional pasta, especially when paired with that sauce!

  7. Vegan_noodle Says:

    Carrot gnocchi…how cool!! I’ve always loved the sweete version of gnocchi, like sweet potato. I’ve only made it once, never thought to add silken tofu as an egg replacer there, that’s a good tip.
    Love your gnoc gnoc jokes….

  8. Courtney Says:

    You are too funny! Your gnocchi jokes had me cracking up!

    OMG that sauce sounds amazing! I am thinking it would be good on absolutely anything…


  9. cakespy Says:

    OMG, this looks like heaven on a plate. The puns drew me in but the carrots made me stay! I eat 2-3 carrots a day. I know, isn’t that sick!? Here’s a way to enjoy even more. Yum, yum, super yum.

  10. LisaRene Says:

    Gnocchi are always frustrating to me. I love them and have pretty good results but never get them quite right. I always omit the egg which results in a very tender gnocchi but one that will easily fall apart if I’m not careful. I like the idea of using carrots over the commonly used pumpkin. A must try!

  11. Kristen Says:

    Carrot gnocchi, a great idea. I recently made carrot pudding with all the spices for pumpkin pie and was quite happy to discover I liked the flavor better than pumpkin! So, I am sure this will be good. Just a thought…all my info on using egg replacers and low to no gluten doughs says to add in a leavener to help with the texture – like baking soda or powder – wonder if it would work here since these kinds cook like a dumpling?I’m fairly new to vegan style baking, so take every little bit of info I get and use it as a reason to experiment. This one definitely is going on the ever expanding “try it” list.

  12. Helen Says:

    I love the idea of using the carrot in the gnocchi. I’ll have to look for an alternative to the tofu though, I can’t bear it!

  13. grumpy chair Says:

    Has a young woman, my family always celebrated birthdays at an Italian restaraunt in Dallas. I always, always ordered the gnocchi. The carrot gnocchi looks so delicious.

  14. Ricki Says:

    Astra Libris,
    Thanks so much! It feels great to be back. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the bread (which I liked more than the gnocchi, to be honest!)

    There are lots of ways to use Salba besides gnocchi, too–I find egg substitute is the best. 🙂

    Thanks so much for your comment! The sweet potato variation sounds amazing to me–my favorite veggie AND favorite pasta–perfect!

    I’m with you on the cashew butter. I think you could just grind your own (that’s what I do–from lightly roasted cashews) and use the nuts that way.

    Well, I thought I had caught all the “gnocchi” possibilities–now I’ll have to gnocchi it off! 😉

  15. Ricki Says:

    Vegan Noodle,
    Thanks! The carrot was nice, but I’m sure I’d prefer sweet potato–what could ever be bad with s.p. in it?

    We had the sauce the next night on regular rice pasta, and it was just as good. I’m still trying to think of other possibilities. . .

    No wonder your eyes are so healthy (and allow you to “spy” all those wonderful goodies!). Okay, another bad joke. . . done for now. . . 😉

    I am exactly the same way (which is my caveat to anyone who wants to replicate this recipe!). I found these a little too dense–the opposite of my previous problems with regular gnocchi.

    Thanks so much for your comment! I hadn’t thought of using a leavener–great idea. Will try it next time!

    Thanks so much for your comment, and welcome! If you don’t like tofu, good old-fashioned eggs will work just as well, I’m sure; or I’d try ground flax as well.

    Grumpy Chair,
    I share your love of gnocchi–they will always be a special occasion food for me (since I can’t seem to make really good ones at home!).

  16. Julz Says:

    This looks BEYOND Heavenly…MMM!!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it! OH and with a soft glass of red….deeeevine sunshine 🙂 (DORK.)

    Thanks for this post it’s looovely 🙂

  17. Ruth Says:

    Fantastic post…I laughed, I cried, I drooled! Perfect! And thanks for sharing with PResto Pasta Night.

  18. joejhorn Says:

    Love the blog, always enjoy reading it. I really like these gnocchi. I just made a gnocchi with choux pastry for the first time and it was incredible. Come take a look if you have a chance and let me know what you think. http://cookingquest.wordpress.com

    Thanks so much!


  19. Ashley Says:

    Ohhh I love gnocchi! And this sounds like such a delicious variation on it. Looks so good!

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