Who likes Sweet Potato Pasta? Raise your hand. Or, who likes sweet potatoes? Raise your hand. Or, who likes potatoes? Or sweet anything? Raise yo mo’ fo’ hand, ‘yo!
I’m not exactly a picky eater when it comes to vegetables (or sweets for that matter). That’s why whenever our Saanich Organics CSA box would show up each week it was like Christmas – a package loaded with fresh, local, seasonal fruits and veggies that I drew inspiration for the blog from. It was an adventure in cooking each and every day – even with particularly uninteresting vegetables like parsnips, turnips or sprouts; There are only so many places you can stick sprouts without causing a serious bacterial infection.
Most of you already know this (the next bit – not the unhygienic sprout action), but in an effort to find new inspiration now that I’m in the unfortunate position of not having a CSA, I needed to find a new way to get excited about ingredients – particularly in my near-food-desert neighborhood. So I assign myself a vegetable each week and then have to create a new dish. This week? Sweet potatoes. But here’s the thing…
I’m not exactly the biggest fan of sweet potatoes. I don’t mind them, but they aren’t usually something I reach for at the farmer’s market. I tend to lean more toward fresh new baby potatoes or rainbow carrots or the oh-so-now-and-glamorous bunch of kale. But that was reason enough to try something new with a vegetable that probably doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves… At least in my kitchen. Enter Sweet Potato Pasta.
I’m not even kidding. This isn’t your Nona’s run of the mill pasta (but it’s pretty darn close).
It was interesting doing research for this recipe because about 98.4% of the people out there who’ve made Sweet Potato Pasta were really posting about how to thinly slice sweet potatoes, saute them and serve them up as “noodles”. I don’t know about you, but as someone who lasciviously adores Italian food, I wouldn’t exactly call that pasta. Give me the flour!
Having a bit of experience with hand-making pasta in the past between my Scratch Ravioli with Lemony Ricotta, Chard & Caramelized Onion and even Basic Gnocchi, Garden Beet Gnocchi or other Italian bases like Basic Polenta or Polenta Fries…
I felt like I could handle this shit. And as I well documented it on Instagram, handle it I did. This pasta ended up tender, flavorful, brilliantly colored, loaded with the nutritional goodness of sweet potatoes and so unbelievably silky… It was heaven on a plate. Topped off with a demi-glace of the Balsamic Slow Braised Grass-Fed Beef Short Rib liquid I tossed it in (though you could just use olive oil or any veggie or cream based sauce to keep it veggie friendly), it was an orgasm on a plate. And in my pants. You want this.
- 2 Lbs Tipo “00″ Flour (very fine sieved flour) + Extra Flour for dusting
- 3 Large Free-Range Organic Eggs
- 1 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 1 Lb Sweet Potatoes
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Coarse Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
- Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- As it heats, stab the sweet potatoes a few times on each side to allow for steam to escape (and to avoid a giant exploding mess in your oven). Drizzle a little olive oil over the sweet potatoes, be sure to rub all over and then season with coarse salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Wrap in foil, place on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake in the oven for 35 - 45 minutes or until cooked through and soft. Remove from the oven, set aside to cool to touch.
- When you can grab them without too much burning on your little hands, scoop flesh into a food processor, puree until smooth. Set aside; Discard skins to the compost.
- Now make the pasta! Dump 1 1/2 lbs of flour and fine sea salt on the counter. Starting from the peak, take your fingers and make a well in the center, gently pushing the flour out as your hand moves in careful circles. You want to make sure you have walls all the way around.
- Crack your eggs in the center of the well – this is fun! And dump in up to 1 C of the cooled, pureed sweet potatoes.
- Now, gently and patiently mix little bits of flour into the eggs until all the flour is incorporated. Use your hands.
- Once all the flour is incorporated, knead the dough. Kneading is very easy and a great arm workout! Pretty much bang, massage, flip and rotate the dough until it has the consistency of play-dough all over. If it’s drier than that, add a little bit of water. If it’s too wet (and it likely could be depending on your altitude and sweet potatoes) add a little bit more flour, 1/4 a cup at a time until you can knead without it sticking to your hands all over the place. Only add as much as is necessary though so your pasta isn't too wet or too dry. As soon as it reminds you of play-dough – smooth, elastic, firm – cut into four to eight equal sized pieces, wrap well in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
- Remove dough from fridge, 1 piece at a time. Unwrap and run it through your pasta maker at the most open setting (mine is 1). Fold it in half and then again put through the machine. Repeat 6-8 times until you have a rather rectangular looking piece of dough. Flip to the next setting (2). Put through the machine. Now move to 3, then 4, etc… Until it's of the desired thickness. For this particular pasta - linguine - I went up to 6.
- Separate and hang from a drying rack until ready to cook.
- To cook: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt well (it should taste like sea water). Dump in the pasta, stir, cook for 3-4 minutes or until el dente. Drain and serve with sauce of your choice – i.e. Keep it veggie friendly with Saucy Tomato Sauce topped with a good helping of finely grated Parmesan, or use brown butter, a cream sauce, meat ragù or whatever else tickles your fancy!
- * If your dough starts getting too long to handle comfortably cut it and work with it as two pieces.
- * If your dough seems to be getting caught in the machine and is making your strips rough, dust machine and section you're working with, with a little extra flour.
Have you ever infused pasta with anything? Tried Sweet Potato Pasta? What dishes do you refuse to compromise on? Have we met on Instagram yet?