academia barilla  November 2008

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Cinnamon and Orange Zest: a Thanksgiving Gourmet Recipe by Chef Doug D’Avico

Happy Thanksgiving from Academia Barilla and Italian Food Lovers! We wish you [...]

Happy Thanksgiving from Academia Barilla and Italian Food Lovers! We wish you and your families a nice and warm family day around some of the best traditional and innovative culinary eats of the year (at least in the United States, as in Italy we have several occasions to indulge in gourmet food all along the year!).

As you have noticed, this week we celebrated Turkey Day proposing a lot of gourmet recipes from our Italian Food Lovers Chef Network, but none of them with turkey! Well, we published a recipe for the tratitional Thanksgiving roasted turkey, but we left our guest Chef free to propose alternative, innovative Thanksgiving recipes.

Today we have with us Chef Doug D’Avico of Trattoria n. 10 in Chicago with a new Thanksgiving gourmet creation: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Cinnamon and Orange Zest. Ready? let’s go to the kitchen!

A recipe by Chef Doug D’Avico
(serves 4-6)



- 3 lbs light fleshed Sweet Potatoes
- 1/8 cup good quality ricotta, drained
- 1/8 cup Academia Barilla Pecorino Gran Cru, grated
- 1 ea large egg
- 1/2 tablespoon Academia Barilla Sicilian Sea Salt with Orange Zest
- 1/4 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
- 3-4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 orange
- 1 medium size leek, white part only
- 2 tablespoon cinnamon-sugar mixture
- 3 tablespoon european style butter
- 2-3 tablespoon Academia Barilla Riviera Ligure Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- some fresh herbs for plate garnishing


Take the 3 sweet potato, wash the outside well and bake in a 375 degree F oven till soft to the touch, remove from the oven and let cool. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle remove the skins and put the flesh though a potato ricer to break up any large clumps and place into a large enough bowl to mix all the ingredients in.

Mix all the ingredients, except for the flour, into the sweet potato and combine well with your hand.
Take 2 cups of the flour and fold into the sweet potato mix half a cup at a time, making sure the flour is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next 1/2 cup. Check the dough it should be a little sticky, if it is too wet add a 1/4 cup more flour and mix. Wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Academia Barilla Chefs: Chef Douglas D\'AvicoAfter resting take the remaining flour and use some to dust the work surface. Take the dough out of the bowl and place on the floured surface, sprinkle a little more flour over top and knead a few times so you can handle the dough.

Flatten the dough out to about 3/4 of an inch and cut strips every 3/4 of an inch and then roll each strip a little bit to round out the corners, set a side and finish the rest of the dough. Use a little more flour if the dough starts to stick to the table. Use a damp towel to cover the dough strips while you work.

Have a corn meal coated tray ready to store the gnocchi’s on after they are cut. Using a small knife cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces and you can use either the back of a fork or a gnocchi board to roll the gnocchi off of or just take your finger and poke a little indentation into each one and then place on the corn meal coated tray.

Finish the batch and then freeze the gnocchi or cook and serve.

To serve bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. In the mean time while you are waiting for the water to boil, remove the root end of the leek and cut the leek on a bias about 1/4 of an inch thick until you get to the green part, discard or use for homemade stock. Separate the layers of the leek and wash under cold water to remove any sand set aside.

Using a zester, zest 1 orange and set a side. Preheat a 12 inch sauté pan and warm over medium heat, when hot add 1/2 the butter and add the washed leeks to the melted butter, do not let the butter burn, and cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the leeks are tender season with a little salt and pepper and remove from the pan set aside. Remove the pan from the heat.

Check the seasoning in the pot of boiling water and adjust with the salt to taste. When the water is at a rolling boil add the gnocchi and stir well so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. They will take about 5-8 minutes and are usually done about 30 seconds after they start floating. Just before they are done put the large sauté and back on the fire over medium high heat.


Drain the gnocchi and add to the sauté pan with the remaining butter. The pan should be nice and hot as you will want to add a little bit of color to the gnocchi. Cook for about 3 minutes then add the cooked leeks and cook for 2-4 more minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar and add the orange zest and mix well, pour into a serving bowl and garnish the plate with fresh herbs, just before serving drizzle the Academia Barilla olive oil over the whole dish. Serve immediately. You can serve some extra Academia Barilla Pecorino Gran Cru on the side.

Thank you Chef D’Avico for this yummy Thanksgiving recipe. Thanks again also to Chef Tony Mantuano and Chef Mark Grimes for the gourmet recipe shared with us this week. Thank you also to our friends at BIGAB, the Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library, for providing us with the traditional Thanksgiving roasted turkey recipe!

And again, Happy Thanksgiving to all Italian food lovers from Academia Barilla and our Italian Food Lovers blog team!

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