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Alex Guarnaschelli gets cozy with gnocchi mac and cheese and banoffee pudding

Bring the comfort this holiday season.
/ Source: TODAY

Let the Thanksgiving celebrations begin! Chef Alex Guarnaschelli is stopping by the TODAY kitchen to share two of her favorite holiday recipes that feature a few flavorful twists. She shows us how to make gnocchi "mac" and cheese with a crispy panko breadcrumb topping and a no-bake banoffee banana pudding with caramel and whipped cream.

Gnocchi is wonderful as any side dish or main course. It can be hearty with little meatballs or shellfish. It can be dressed up as a vegetarian dish with cheese and mushrooms or roasted root vegetables. The sauce and gnocchi can be made in advance and warmed together when ready to serve.

The cheeses have the perfect amount of richness and tanginess. I have served this dish alongside a steak and a platter of vegetables. No matter how much I make, I could have always made more. You can also add a dot of blue cheese at the end to give it that four-cheese pizza vibe if you like something more dramatic. I love this dish because it can stand on its own or complement any other dish.

This is a dessert that everyone loves because it's just so American. I love this dessert because it's completely make-ahead and beyond tasty. It belongs anywhere: the Thanksgiving pie table, the holiday cookie party — it's a showstopper.

I love the taste of the homemade whipped cream here with not too much sugar. The dessert can get overly sweet, and this recipe rides that line with great balance. I have served this with an over-the-top addition of hot fudge on the side. You can add some toppings for added texture. You can lightly freeze and serve even colder.

If you like those delicious holiday recipes, you should also try these:

Apple Tarte Tatin with Cranberry Caramel