Monday, November 15, 2010

Spicy Pasta with Sweet Potatoes

I decided to make dinner during lunch today, to free up my evening a bit.  Perhaps I'd want to go to the gym right after work.  Perhaps I'd want to run by the post office.  Perhaps I'd want to do laundry.

Well, instead I went to the grocery store and bought a frozen turkey, a bag of salt and two 2 liters of Diet Dr. Pepper.  I'm a recent convert from Diet Pepsi.

All beside the point.  Here is the point:

When you try to make a full meal in the last half of your lunch break, you're going to leave a mess behind.

I knew it would happen, and I did it anyway.  I would like to mention I didn't just make this pasta-sweet potato dish.  I also made sweet and spicy tilapia.  That's what made me late back to work...

Back to the recipe, though!  Spicy Pasta with Sweet Potatoes.  I found it in Better Homes and Gardens' November 2010 issue.  Why did I choose it?  It might have had something to do with the fact that it boasts a $1.25 per serving cost, and we love sweet potatoes.

Peel one reeeeally big sweet potato and chop it into 3/4" cubes.  This should be about 2 cups.  Toss the sweet potato with a decent drizzle of olive oil and 1/2 teapoon each sugar, chili powder and cinnamon.

Put these in a baking dish and bake at 450 for 20 minutes.

Then boil water and cook your pasta.  The recipe calls for rigatoni, I used rotini because I'm forever substituting.  Rigatoni would be better.  When you drain it, reserve 1 cup of the water, please.

Now here comes the fun part - make the spicy sauce!  I don't love Thai-inspired sauces, but this was delish.

In a saucepan, combine 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used smooth), 3 oz. cream cheese, cubed (I used 1/3 less fat), 2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce (Sriracha), and 1 Tablespoon soy sauce (I used reduced sodium).

Add the 1 cup of reserved pasta water and whisk it all together.  Heat over medium heat.  While that's happening, take a look at your green onions.  I like them as much for their looks as I do for their smell and flavor.

All right, enough looking.  Thinly slice them.  A diagonal might be more aesthetically pleasing, if you want to get pretty with it.  Dump half of the green onions in your spicy sauce.

Your sweet potatoes should be about done by now.

Dump it all together.

Top with the other half of your green onions.  They really add a nice pop of color, and the bright, fresh, light taste the pasta needs!

I am so thankful for a husband who will try just about anything!  He liked this dish a lot.  Next time, I'll only use 1/2 the Sriracha, though; I will add a little more water so my sauce isn't quite so thick; and I'll serve it topped with chicken.  Yum...

Here's the recipe in a format that's a little easier to follow.
Spicy Pasta with Sweet Potatoes
(Better Homes and Gardens November 2010)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4" cubes (2 cups)
1/2 tsp. each sugar, chili powder, and cinnamon
8 oz. dried rigatoni
1/3 c. peanut butter
3 oz. cream cheese, cut up
2 tsp. Asian chili sauce, such as Sriracha
1 Tsbp. soy sauce
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1. Preheat oven to 450.  Oil a rimmed baking pan; set aside.  Place sweet potato cubes in bowl.  Toss with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and the sugar, chili powder and cinnamon.  Spread in prepared pan; bake 20 minutes or until tender.
2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
3. In saucepan, combine peanut butter, cream cheese, chili sauce, and soy sauce; whisk in 3/4 cup of the hot pasta water.  Stir over medium heat until heated through.  If too thick, stir in additional water.  Stir in most of the green onions.  Serve sauce over pasta with sweet potatoes and remaining onions.
Serves 4

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