This pasta is a personal favorite of mine and I hope you'll give it a try. I created the recipe for a canned sweet potato competition, and although I didn't win the prize, I walked away triumphant because now I have this easy, lip smacking, addictive recipe in my arsenal.
The recipe uses the grill, microwave, and stove stop. Don’t let that stop you though, it comes together quickly and is well worth the extra steps. The pasta has a wonderful balance of sweetness from the sweet potatoes, onions, and peas; creamy from the butter and half and half; and salty and smoky from the parmesan, bacon, and char on the onions.
1 LB penne pasta
9 slices thick sliced Bacon
2 Medium sized yellow or sweet onions, plus olive oil for coating
1 stick (1/2 cup) Butter
1 (15oz) can sweet potatoes in light syrup
1 cup half & half
1 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
1 teaspoon sea salt
Grated fresh nutmeg, to taste
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 cup frozen green peas
Onions: Turn on the BBQ to medium high heat. Slice the ends off the onions and slice in half from the top. Discard outer skin. Cut each half into 4 slices. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked pepper. Toss to coat. Lay onions on the BBQ and cook until grill marks form, turn and repeat. This takes about 10 minutes.
Bacon: Line a plate with paper towels. Place strips of bacon in a single layer on the plate and cover with another paper towel. Microwave on high heat about three minutes per side turning once cooking until crispy. Pat grease from bacon. Repeat with the rest of the Bacon. Break bacon with your hands into pieces.
Cook pasta according to package directions adding salt to the water. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, strain and set aside.While pasta cooks melt butter in a large saucepan on medium high heat, add sweet potatoes with juice. Bring to a boil and reduce sauce until thickened (about 8 minutes) stirring often and breaking sweet potatoes up with the back of a spoon.
Turn temperature to medium low and add half and half, let warm and reduce for about 4 minutes stiring frequently. Add parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Add 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and fresh grated nutmeg; stir together and remove from heat.
Pour pasta, sauce, peas, bacon (reserve some for garnish), and grilled onion slices into a large serving bowl. Toss to coat and add pasta water a bit at a time if needed to make creamy. Serve immediately.
Serves about 6
Recipe by Laura Flowers