Monday, October 17, 2005

Oddly Nutritious Pasta

I found this recipe in a place where I would ordinarily not dare to tread: The webpage of the Friedman School for Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts.

There was a sweet potato lurking in my veggie drawer (is that where one ought to store sweet potatoes, I wonder?) and not much else in the house besides the usual stockpile of dried pasta. A google revealed an excruciatingly large number of sweet potato recipes that begin "Start four hours ago...", but then this one popped up and saved the day.

I tweaked the recipe (surprise!) and doubled it, since the Human Vacuum believes that pasta should never be prepared in quantities of less than one pound. See my play-by-play below:

Oddly Nutritious Pasta

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Peel and cut into 1/4 inch slices:
2 large sweet potatoes
(This is the fastest way to cook 'em, and it maximizes the crunchy roasted outside surface area.)

Spread the potatoes on a baking sheet with:
6-8 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
1 red onion, sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil, drizzled
A few sprigs of whatever fresh herb you've got on hand (I used rosemary), or 1 Tablespoon dried sage (optional)

Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes soften and start to brown.

Meanwhile, boil:
1 pound pasta (I used bowties, but any compact pasta would do)

Right before the pasta is done, toss into the boiling water:
2 cups frozen peas

This is the major innovation gleanable from this recipe. Throwing the peas into the water right before draining ensures that the peas get cooked, without dirtying an extra pot. Those wacky Friedman School nutritionists --what will they think of next?

Drain the pasta and dump it back into the pot. Scrape the potato combo in after it, making sure to squish the now-soft garlic cloves. Add a little more olive oil if the pasta seems dry.

Serve with lots of cheese crumbled on top. The nutritionists say you can use a half cup of bleu cheese for a half pound of pasta. So you have carte blanche to go really cheesy as far as I am concerned.

I had mine with Roquefort, and the Human Vacuum had goat cheese. Mine was better.


For a bizarre and probably never-to-be-repeated treat, here are the nutrition facts for the recipe above, per serving: Calories: 280, Protein: 11.5 g, Carbohydrate: 36 g, Total Fat: 10 g, Sat. Fat: 4.3 g, Cholesterol: 14.2 mg, Fiber: 3.9 g.


mzn said...

Funny, just yesterday my family was debating whether sweet potatoes are a starch. Apparently when my 20-month-old kid eats them, they're a veg. When the grownups eat them, they're a starch. Thus was I cautioned against making stuffing AND sweet potatoes for an ordinary Sunday night dinner, since this would have amounted to starch with your starch. Starch with your starch, it would seem, is fine for Thanksgiving and is to be expected when eating in Greek diners (our nearest one serves its greasy Moussaka with potatoes AND rice) but not for our Sunday night dinner. Now I say that the nutritionists must be right--they're the professionals. If they say eat pasta with sweet potatoes and call it nutritious, I'm with them.

I store sweet potatoes in the pantry but they start to rot after a couple of weeks. I try to eat them before this happens.

Katherine said...

My family members are great believers in having starch with your starch, actually. Many traditional dishes in our household (of vaguely Romanian origin) feature noodles and potatoes.