Alex Guarnaschelli Plans To Reinvent Classic Sweet Potato Casserole This Thanksgiving - Exclusive

As the weather cools and we look toward the upcoming holiday season, it feels like a good time to start planning our Thanksgiving meal. Television personality and celebrated cookbook author, Alex Guarnaschelli is doing just that as she prepares this year's Thanksgiving menu for her family. Tasting Table recently sat down with Guarnaschelli at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, where she was the co-host for Peroni's Taste of Italy celebration, to chat about her holiday plans, specifically how she envisions changing up a traditional menu staple.

"I'm looking forward to the reinvention of the sweet potato casserole, that's on my list this year," said Guarnaschelli. While sweet potatoes first appeared in a recipe book in 1796, Thanksgiving celebrations only really got going across America in the mid-1800s. And it wasn't until after a recipe appeared in a cookbook in 1917 that anything like the sweet potato casserole we've come to know today began gracing the Thanksgiving dinner table with the now iconic pairing of sweet potatoes and marshmallows. 

Elevating sweet potato casserole

Sweet potato casserole is generally thought of as a dish that — true to its name — goes heavy on the sweet factor. Much of that flavor is thanks to the naturally occurring sweetness of sweet potatoes but has become habitually amplified by the inclusion of brown sugar and a generous topping of marshmallows. This year, Guarnaschelli wants to reinvent this Thanksgiving classic to give it an entirely new flavor profile. However, she's keeping the exact nature of this reinvention close to her chest. Guarnaschelli shared that she didn't yet know how she plans to achieve the change, as she's been working to craft a recipe that honors the holiday staple while also infusing a new spin. 

One possible addition that would add an unexpected hit of smokiness is the inclusion of bacon in sweet potato casserole. Imagine the mouthwatering taste of maple bacon you might find in the Southern United States, amplified by the creaminess of sweet potato and the simultaneously crisp and fluffy texture of roasted marshmallows. If you've found your sweet potato casserole overly dense in the past, we recommend adding eggs to help lighten the batter. For something even richer, consider adding roasted bananas to heighten all of the dish's flavors. We suggest trying out these sweet potato casserole twists while we await Guarnaschelli's take on her Thanksgiving reinvention.