Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Sweet Potato Cream Pasta with Crispy Kale
When I was a kid, my parents started planting a garden each year in our yard. They would plant the normal vegetables like tomatoes, green beans, and corn. Unfortunately, they also planted some pretty weird stuff like squash, swiss chard, and kale. My nine-year-old self was pretty freaked out by the latter.
Needless to say, my brother and I were pretty much forced to eat everything that came out of the ground during the summer. My mom did a good job trying to hide it with salt, or some other seasoning, but we still knew what we were eating; we were picky kids.
It's upon reflection that I am surprised that I now love the vegetables that I hated as a child. Maybe they are now comfort foods because they remind me of those summer dinners when I was a stubborn child. If it were possible, I would serve this recipe to my nine-year-old self. I'm pretty sure she would love it.
Sweet Potato Cream Pasta
Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is
2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon flour
About 2 cups heavy whipping cream (you can also use skim milk)
1/2 cup freshly grated romano cheese + 2 tablespoons
1/2 pound spaghetti noodles
1 head of kale, leaves torn from stems
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add kale, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons romano cheese, salt and pepper. Toss to coat with your hands and massage kale for 1-2 minutes, until flavors are distributed. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy. Remove and set aside.
Bring pasta water to a boil and prepare pasta according to directions.
While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil and butter over medium-low heat in a large skillet. Add shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt, cooking for 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Increase heat to medium and add in flour, whisking constantly to create somewhat of a roux.
Once the roux has turned golden, add in mashed sweet potato and milk, whisking to combine. It will take a few minutes of whisking to bring the mixture together, and it’s okay if a few small bits of potato remain. Don't let it get too thick or it will be harder to toss with your pasta later. If it becomes too thick, simply add a little cream or milk to thin it out. Reduce heat to low and stir in romano, salt, and pepper.
Once pasta is finished cooking, drain, and add sauce to the noodles and stir to coat. Top with crispy kale and toss to distribute.