During the winter months, we tend to crave warm, filing dishes, and satisfying dinners. This recipe merges fiber-rich pasta with seasonal, hearty veggies that will satisfy your cravings, without letting you deviate from your wholesome diet. Sweet potato is a great addition to the traditional cheese sauce, because provides a velvety texture and sweet flavor. Try this vegetarian recipe on Meatless Monday!
servings: 4 large portions
prep time: 30 minutes
cook time: 30 minutes
total time: 1 hour
- 1 medium sweet potato (2 heaping cups, peeled & chopped)
- 1 pound fiber-rich pasta (whole-wheat, spelt, brown rice, quinoa, or buckwheat)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 large shallot, minced (or ¼ of an onion)
- 5 sage leaves, minced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 ½ cups milk, divided
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 bunch of swiss chard, or spinach (about 2 cups, chopped)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup parmesan
- ½ cup panko (or whole wheat bread crumbs)
- olive oil spray
Step 1: Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Step 2: While waiting for the water to boil, peel and chop sweet potato into 2-inch cubes.
Step 3: When the water boils cook the sweet potato pieces until soft (approximately 10 minutes).
Step 4: Transfer cooked sweet potato to a bowl and add ¼ cup of milk. Mash with potato masher, or fork, until smooth. Set aside.
Step 5: Bring another pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta. Cook for 3 minutes less than package directions so that the pasta is slightly under-cooked. Drain and set aside.
Step 6: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Step 7: Prepare swiss chard: rinse, remove thick white stems, and chop into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
Step 8: In a sauce pan, melt butter. Add crushed garlic, minced shallot, minced sage leaves, and salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant, and shallot is transparent (about 5 minutes). Whisk in flour. Add 1 ¼ cups milk, continue whisking until milk thickens, and is clump-free. Add pureed sweet potato. Remove from heat, and add shredded mozzarella cheese and mix until well incorporated.
Step 9: In a large bowl, add pasta, sweet potato-cheese sauce and swiss chard. With a rubber heat-resistant spatula mix together all of the ingredients until pasta is evenly coated with cheese sauce .Pour mixture into a casserole dish, or oven-safe bowls. (I used two large oven safe bowls, each bowl contains 2 servings.)
Step 10: Over the pasta, sprinkle parmesan and panko bread crumbs. Spray a light coat of olive oil spray.
Step 11: Place in oven, and bake for 30 minutes, or until tops are golden and crispy.
Karen Biton-Cohen blogs at K. abc Food & Photography.