Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potato and Beurre Blanc


Of course, I have been discovering all the classic French sauces with the help of my copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and am scandalized by the amounts of butter and fats they require. I just have never cooked (aside from baking) with that much butter before. My immediate thoughts: was I really eating that every time I went to a French restaurant? Was that why it tasted so good and…French? So when I felt like coating my pasta in butter and parsley for this dish I went to the book for the recipe of tasty beurre blanc, infused my butter in wine, vinegar, and shallots, and used only half the amount of butter they called for in their beurre blanc recipe for a lighter, not-quite-sauce.

I had some sweet potatoes to use up at home and thought about grinding them into a gnocci. But that would be so much more work than simply roasted them and tossing them in with the pasta. The roasted potatoes were very flavorful and ended up being a nice complement to the buttery pasta. Its unique, sweet and slightly smoky taste with its crispy outside texture more than made up for not having meat, cheese or other veggies along. I’d try this simple dish again with almost any vegetable.


Pasta with Roasted Sweet Potato and Beurre Blanc

(Makes 2 servings)

1 large sweet potato or yam, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes and coated with olive oil, salt, and pepper
Pasta of any type for 2 servings, cooked
3 Tb white wine, cooking wine, or sherry
1 Tb white or red wine vinegar
4 Tb butter
1 Tb minced shallot or the white part of a green onion
1 generous handful of coarsley chopped fresh parsley

Bake the seasoned sweet potatoes in a preheated 375-degree oven for about half an hour, or until tender and slightly browned. While it’s in the oven, heat 1 Tb butter, the wine, vinegar, and shallot/onions in a saucepan over medium heat. Let reduce to about a half, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit a moment. Stir in additional butter, one tablespoon at a time, until fully melted. Add cooked pasta to pan and stir to coat evenly. Toss in parsley, a few dashes of salt, and cooked sweet potatoes and serve immediately.

Cost Calculator:
(for 2 servings)

1 large sweet potato (at $0.79/lb): $0.70
Pasta for 2 servings: $0.60
4 Tb butter: $0.50
3 Tb cooking wine: $0.30
1 Tb vinegar: $0.04
1 Tb shallot/green onion: $0.10
1 handful parsley: $0.22

Total: $2.46

Health Factor:

Five brownie points – this dish is on the fence. On the one side, it has a very vitamin-rich and low-fat roasted vegetable; on the other, a very buttery sauce. It’s a fair exchange, a compromise of sorts that shouldn’t leave you pulling for one side or the other.

6 Responses

  1. Aurore

    I confirm that the butter is what makes French food taste different in France. It is also because the French butter has a higher fat content then the regular American one… The secret is not to eat to much of what you are being served. See what Julia Child thought about it in this post from the Amateur Gourmet :

    Also, you should write it “beurre”.

    Really nice recipe by the way 🙂

  2. Yvo

    Yummy! Half a stick of butter, eh? =T

  3. cathy

    Thanks for the tips, Aurore. Fat does add more flavor but somehow I’m less frightened by bacon than dairy fat. And for the mispelling…it’s amazing I get paid to copy edit, talk about separating your blog from your job!

  4. laura jane

    Lovely meal…

  5. Jessica Brown

    Very nice article!

  6. Linda Kox

    To make this a meal for a VERY hot day, I used a sweet potato that I’d already roasted whole. The flesh was very soft, so I folded it directly into the beurre blanc with the parsley. Mixed in the pasta and let it cool to room temp, then served it on a bed of mixed greens with a slightly smoky hot fresh tomato salsa. I used tomatoes, lime juice, olive oil w/ a little chipotle. Thanks for the inspiration – I’ll try it the original way when it cools off around here!

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