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.
(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
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.