Consistent readers will know about my obsession with sweet potatoes, but if you’re new here perhaps you haven’t been initiated yet. I could (and sometimes do) eat sweet potatoes with every meal, and they are definitely one of my favorite autumn flavors. I’m not dissing pumpkin by any means, but the sweet potato is an extremely versatile flavor and I love it equally in both sweet and savory dishes.
When the weather cools most of us gladly welcome the cozy comfort foods like pasta and chili, and I’m no exception. Pasta is a wonderful meal on a cold day, and a good creamy sauce is hard to beat. However, most of them are rather heavy (both in calories and in experience) and it’s not always what I’m looking for. This sauce was somewhat of an experiment born of Pinterest inspiration, but I have a feeling I’ll be meal-prepping it often for lunches this year. The picture might look like mac and cheese, but it’s actually a sweet potato Alfredo.
The thick and creamy experience of a quality Alfredo sauce is typically reached with, well, heavy cream. In this case it (obviously) comes from the sweet potato, which admittedly surprised me in how excellently it works. Honestly, it kind of blew my mind. The flavor is also fantastic, and not just for die-hard sweet potato fans. Smooth and creamy like a sauce should be, a wonderful fall flavor, and quite a bit lighter than your standard heavy cream experience.
Personally I think it’s delightful all on its own, but for a little crunch some toasted walnuts are a great addition. It’s hard to go wrong with cheese, so I added some parmesan as well; I also think chèvre would be a welcome addition and I’ll be trying that next time. If you feel the need to add a meat, a sprinkle of crumbled bacon or pancetta would complement everything nicely. I’m also excited to play with some different flavor profiles in the coming months, and I’ll be sure to share them all as I have time.
Next time you need a comfort food with maybe fewer calories, give this pasta a shot – be sure to let me know what you think!
Sweet Potato Alfredo
1 lb (ish) dried pasta
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups sweet potato puree1
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 Tbsp dried sage or rosemary
salt and pepper, to taste
toasted walnuts or pecans
parmesan or goat cheese
crumbled bacon or pancetta
- Cook pasta according to package directions; reserve 1 1/2 cups of water, drain, and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. For added flavor, continue to heat until it begins to brown.
- Vigorously whisk in flour until smooth, about 30 seconds.
- Add milk and continue to whisk until mixture bubbles and thickens; this will take a few minutes.
- Stir in sweet potato, and 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water. Optionally, use an immersion blender to get the sauce nice and smooth. If sauce is too thick, add water about two tablespoons at a time until desired consistency is reached (I usually add about 1 cup total).
- Add sage or rosemary, salt and pepper to taste, then let simmer for a couple of minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
- When sauce is ready, stir into pasta and continue to simmer until everything is well combined and heated through.
- Serve immediately, optionally topped with nuts, cheese, and/or protein of choice.
- Pro tip: Reheats well if you add a little extra water to the bowl before microwaving.
1 You can puree ahead of time in a blender or food processor, or just mash it well and then use an immersion blender while making the sauce to smooth it out.