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
- 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
- Cook pasta in a large pan of salted, boiling water until al dente. Drain well.
- 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.
- Add paste, tomatoes, stock and thyme. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes until thickened slightly. Stir through spinach leaves until wilted.
- 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
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
- 25ml extra virgin olive oil
- Salt for seasoning
- 100g persian feta to garnish
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- For a professional look, you can press the top of each gnocchi with the back of a fork.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, add the gnocchi and simmer until the gnocchi rises to the top.
- Drain and toss gently with a little olive oil to prevent sticking. At this point, you can make the sauce.
- Warm a large, flat-bottom frying pan gently then add 2tsp of olive oil.
- Gently sweat the onions and garlic until soft
- Add the asparagus, broad beans, peas and a pinch of salt, and continue to cook for 1-2mins
- Add the sugar snap peas and spinach, followed by the vegetable stock and lemon.
- Add your cooked gnocchi back to the pan before whisking in the butter and remaining olive oil to thicken the sauce.
- Finish by adding the picked mint leaves and season to taste.
- 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]