Sweet Potato Alfredo

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

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

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

optional toppings
toasted walnuts or pecans
parmesan or goat cheese
crumbled bacon or pancetta

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions; reserve 1  1/2 cups of water, drain, and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. For added flavor, continue to heat until it begins to brown.
  3. Vigorously whisk in flour until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add milk and continue to whisk until mixture bubbles and thickens; this will take a few minutes.
  5. 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).
  6. Add sage or rosemary, salt and pepper to taste, then let simmer for a couple of minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  7. When sauce is ready, stir into pasta and continue to simmer until everything is well combined and heated through.
  8. Serve immediately, optionally topped with nuts, cheese, and/or protein of choice.
  9. Pro tip: Reheats well if you add a little extra water to the bowl before microwaving.

Notes

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.

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Tortellini Tomato Soup

Guys. Guys. It’s not summer anymore! I need gloves and a hat for my bike ride to work! It’s a miracle! And very convenient because I happened across this soup recipe and it sounded so delightful I made it the next day. I would have made it that same day but I had a Halloween party to attend. I went as two-eyed Leela from Futurama this year.

Leela

Aaaand it’s winter. I wrote this last week and then left for my 6th and final half marathon of the year in Nevada. I got back last night and this morning I woke up to snow. A far cry from the 84 degrees at the finish line. But I got first in my age group! First time ever placing, so that’s fun.

In any case, soup. This one has a chunky tomato base with a hearty dose of tortellini and spinach to switch it up a bit from your average tomato soup recipe. Don’t get me wrong, Pacific Food Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato soup with a side of grilled cheese is one of my go to meals any time of year, but it’s nice to have a homemade option to add to the mix. Even better, this soup has great flavor, is very filling, and is easy to make vegetarian so long as you pick a package of tortellini without meat.

Tortellini Tomato Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

Spaghetti sauce is a key ingredient and flavor in this soup so make sure you pick one you like (or make your own if you’re into that sort of thing.) Adding diced tomatoes, onion, and garlic step it up a notch while the vegetable broth takes it into soup territory. I added a diced red bell pepper as well but that is totally optional. Add several big handfuls of baby spinach and a package of tortellini and you’ve got a quick healthy meal to add to your repertoire.

Tortellini Tomato Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re in need of a nice warm meal, this one is perfect. Serve with a side of bread (like whole wheat beer bread) or grilled cheese sandwiches for an extra hearty meal. It would also be great topped with a little shredded cheese.

Tortellini Tomato Soup {{Baking Bytes}}

Tortellini Tomato Soup

Adapted from DietHood
Makes about 3.5 quarts

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 small-medium yellow onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced

2 (14.5oz) cans Italian Diced Tomatoes
4 cups spaghetti sauce

4 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper, to taste

1 package frozen tortellini1
10 oz fresh baby spinach2

Directions

  1. Over medium heat, heat oil and butter in a large pot until butter is melted.
  2. Add onions, garlic, and bell pepper, and cook for a few minutes, or until onions are soft.
  3. Increase heat to medium-high and add tomatoes and sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in vegetable broth and return to a boil.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  6. Add tortellini and spinach and continue cooking until tortellini is done (check your package instructions), about 10 minutes.
  7. Serve hot and refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.3

Notes

The original recipe called for 10 oz of tortellini, but I like a lot of pasta and the package I on hand was 20 oz so that’s what I used. Anything in that range would be great.

I buy spinach at Costco in the giant containers so I just added several large handfuls. Add more or less to suit your tastes.

It reheats great but it’s definitely thicker the next day (especially if you put in lots of pasta like I did because that is what soaks up the liquid.) If it doesn’t seem soupy enough, add a little water when you microwave it.