The combination of potatoes and pasta in one dish is not unusual in Italy. In this pasta recipe, sweet potatoes makes the recipe nutritionally more balanced.
– 2 TABLESPOONS -EXTRA–VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
– 4 OUNCES -THICK–SLICED BACON OR PAN-CETTA, CUT INTO JULIENNE STRIPS
– 4 GARLIC CLOVES, PEELED AND CRUSHED
– 4 FRESH SAGE LEAVES
– 1 POUND SWEET POTATOES, PEELED, CUT INTO -½–INCH CUBES
– 2 LEEKS, WHITE AND -LIGHT–GREEN PARTS ONLY, SLICED (ABOUT 2 CUPS)
– ¼ CUP RINSED SMALL CAPERS (OPTIONAL)
– ½ TEASPOON KOSHER SALT, PLUS MORE FOR THE POT
– ¼ TO ½ TEASPOON CRUSHED -RED–PEPPER FLAKES
– 1 POUND PIPETTE OR ELBOW PASTA
– 3 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED FRESH ITALIAN PARSLEY
– 1 CUP GRATED GRANA PADANO OR -PARMIGIANO—REGGIANO
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta. In a large skillet, over -medium–high heat, heat the olive oil and add the bacon or pancetta, the garlic, and the sage. Cook until fat has rendered, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and leeks, and cook, stirring continuously, until both begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
Add the capers, if using. Season with the salt and crushed red pepper. Ladle in 1 cup of pasta water, and simmer rapidly until the sweet potatoes and leeks are very tender but the sweet potatoes retain their shape, about 7 to 8 minutes, adding more pasta water if necessary to keep it saucy.
Meanwhile, cook the pipette until al dente. When the pipette are done, remove with a spider directly to the sauce. Add the parsley, and toss to coat the pasta with the sauce.
Increase the heat and boil a minute if the sauce is too thin, or add a little more pasta water if it is too thick. Remove the skillet from the heat, sprinkle with the grated cheese, toss, and serve.
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