Tasty taters

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Pasta and sweet potato: what could be a more satiating combo as we sink into the cooler months. Sweet potatoes have fewer carbohydrates and calories than their counterparts.

Sweet potato pasta bake with spinach and pine nuts

Ingredients

  • 350g penne or other pasta
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 400g sweet potato, peeled, coarsely grated
  • 1 small zucchini, coarsely grated
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup salt-reduced beef stock
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 50g baby spinach leaves
  • 100g ricotta
  • 1/2 cup (40g) grated parmesan
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts

Method

  1. Cook pasta in a large pan of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium pan or medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add beef and cook until browned, breaking up lumps with a spoon. Add sweet potato and zucchini. Cook for 2 minutes until softened slightly.
  3. Add paste, tomatoes, stock and thyme. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes until thickened slightly. Stir through spinach leaves until wilted.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 220C/200C fan-forced. Combine pasta and beef mixture in an 8-cup capacity ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with ricotta, parmesan and pine nuts. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.

Sweet potato gnocchi with spring vegetables, herbs and Persian feta

Serves: 4

Ingredients

For the gnocchi

  • 500g sweet potato
  • 125g ricotta cheese
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • 10g salt
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 150g ‘oo’ pasta flour(more for dusting)

For the sauce

  • 50g blanched green peas
  • 50g finely diced white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 100g peeled asparagus, woody part of stem removed
  • 50g shelled broad beans
  • 50g sugar snap peas
  • 50g spinach
  • 50g picked mint leaves, plus a few extra for garnish
  • 100ml vegetable stock
  • 1 lemon juice plus zest reserved for garnish
  • 50gbutter
  • 25ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt for seasoning
  • 100g persian feta to garnish

Method

Gnocchi

  1. Spike the unpeeled sweet potato a few times and bake in the oven at 170°c for 45mins-1hour or until the potato is soft.
  2. Scoop the flesh of the sweet potato into a mixing bowl. Discard the skin. Mix the ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg and salt until well combined and almost completely smooth. Add the flour ½ cup at a time, kneading very gently after each addition (don’t overknead it–you don’t want it to get tough).
  3. Eventually, as the dough becomes easier to handle, transfer it to a clean, floured surface and form it into a loaf around 25cm x 8cm. Slice a thin slice off the loaf and roll and stretch the slice on a floured surface until it forms a long, skinny rope-like shape. Cut the rope into 1-inch segments and transfer to a bowl: this is your gnocchi.
  4. For a professional look, you can press the top of each gnocchi with the back of a fork.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the gnocchi and simmer until the gnocchi rises to the top.
  6. Drain and toss gently with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. At this point, you can make the sauce.

Sauce

  1. Warm a large, flat-bottom frying pan gently then add 2tsp of olive oil.
  2. Gently sweat the onions and garlic until soft
  3. Add the asparagus, broad beans, peas and a pinch of salt, and continue to cook for 1-2mins
  4. Add the sugar snap peas and spinach, followed by the vegetable stock and lemon.
  5. Add your cooked gnocchi back to the pan before whisking in the butter and remaining olive oil to thicken the sauce.
  6. Finish by adding the picked mint leaves and season to taste.
  7. Divide between the serving dishes. Serve with more picked mint leaves, lemon zest, crumbled Persian feta and grated parmesan or hard ricotta cheese.

Recipes courtesy Australian Sweet Potatoes [australiansweetpotatoes.com.au]

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