Inspiration Station: Elf + Dessert Spaghetti/Gnocchi

It’s time to resurrect this series and what better film to use as our inspiration than this modern holiday classic?

I love the scene where Buddy turns his spaghetti supper into a cringe-y meal by covering it with the maple syrup he’s stashed in his sleeve, as elves do.  He then turns the leftovers into a candy feast the next morning for the family.  While candy doesn’t necessarily go well with marinara and meatballs, pasta can actually be delicious when served as sweet instead of savory.

The Dish:

The real hero here is Trader Joe’s new-ish chocolate gnocchi. This is not really gnocchi – it’s like a bunch of little mini teeny weeny molten lava cakes. YES. I would show you a photo of it mid-cook, but the pic was not at all appetizing (they look like lil turds…sorry). BUT that all changes when it’s on the plate. At least an hour or so before you’re ready to eat, prep some raspberry sauce. This will be the “marinara” for your dessert pasta. Cook 1 package of raspberries with a few tablespoons water, sugar to taste, the juice of half a lemon. Bring to a boil and add a thimble of vanilla extract and a little slurry of corn starch. Let it simmer/low boil for another 4 or so minutes to thicken up and then add a pat of butter if you want it extra silky (not necessary). Let that hang out for at least 45 minutes. When you’re ready to eat, cook your “gnocchi” (under 10 minutes). Pile on a plate, drizzle with the raspberry sauce and store-bought salted caramel sauce (this looks like Buddy’s maple syrup) and top with crushed white chocolate (aka your parmesan).

Alternate Recipe:

If you don’t have access to Trader Joe’s, dessert spaghetti is VERY much possible. Boil and drain a pot of spaghetti.  While the spaghetti cooks, make a sauce by warming nutella (or your chocolate spread of choice – I like Peanut Butter & Co.’s “dark chocolate dreams” peanut butter or some of the dark choc spreads on Amazon) in a saucepan with a little milk to thin it out.  Toss the spaghetti with the chocolate sauce and top with chopped strawberries, toasted pine nuts, and a light dusting of powdered sugar. Turns out, pasta accepts sweet flavors VERY well. It’s way more of a blank canvas than we give it credit for.

The Doodads:

  1. We all know the best way of spreading Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear so enjoy some holiday tunes.  This album by Pentatonix is a personal fave.
  2. “But the children love the books!” is one of my favorite lines from this whole movie.  I say it pretty much all year long whenever anyone mentions books.  Buddy’s biological dad may start off as a bit of a scrooge, but he eventually learns the error of his ways and opens a new publishing house with Buddy’s own holiday story as the star book. Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is a great story that adds a little adventure to the tale of Chanukah.
  3. Turn yourself into an elf with this sweater.  I actually love that this is tunic length so you can wear it with leggings and tall boots and still look fly at that ugly sweater party.
  4. Buddy turns Gimbel’s into a winter wonderland by hand-cutting thousands of decorations.  I love the idea of decorating in an all white color scheme and using snowflake paper lanterns of varying shapes and sizes to create a grown-up but festive home.