When I was growing up, sweet potatoes were served baked whole or, on special occasions, in a creamy and sweet holiday casserole with either melted marshmallows or brown sugar crumb topping.
As I’ve grown into both cooking and eating, I’ve come to find that sweet potatoes are so much more versatile. Not that there’s a darn thing wrong with baked sweet potatoes or sweet potato casserole, but these delicious, starchy, vitamin-rich vegetables are also wonderful in savory preparations, from cold salads to warm, comforting stews.
I came across this fascinating recipe recently in a newsletter from Good Food-Good People of Floyd, which distributes local food to restaurants and markets and sells shares to the community. They put out a vegetable and a fruit share newsletter on a regular basis, and those usually contain some interesting recipes.
I’m intrigued by the idea of grating the sweet potato and sauteing it with sweet peppers and tomatoes, then tossing it with pasta, fresh herbs, goat cheese and other seasonings. The little bits of potato distributed throughout this dish is bound to give it a wonderful flavor – anything but bland.
What’s your favorite way to cook sweet potatoes?
Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Pasta
8 oz. whole-wheat angel hair pasta
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups shredded, peeled sweet potato (about 1 medium)
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup diced plum tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar, or lemon juice
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, about 4 to 5 minutes or according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, place 1 Tbsp. oil and garlic in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is sizzling and fragrant, 2 to 5 minutes. Add sweet potato, bell pepper, tomatoes and water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is tender-crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.
3. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot. Add vegetable mixture, the remaining 1 Tbsp. of oil, parsley, tarragon, vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and cheese; toss to combine. Add reserved pasta water, 2 Tbsp. at a time, to achieve the desired consistency.