I love gnocchi. And there are days when the chilly weather creeps up my spine that I will obsess about gnocchi in all shapes and sizes. But for the rest of the year, I'd take a textural pasta any day. I love tossing and pairing ingredients that will add a hefty bite to the smooth silky pasta and the creamy sauce. Like nuts, charred veggies and fried cheese. Elevated only by the zest of citrus and the billowy softness of herbs. A Italian smorgasbord if there was one, where you get to pick what your next mouthful will be from a plate of pasta and al its tiny delicious elements. An adventurous plate, a peek-a-boo of flavours.
Inspired by a recipe from a past issue of Donna Hay magazine, I first made this only yesterday after tweaking the ingredients to have a more robust flavour as opposed to the original recipe which would turn out to be quite flat. Cooked in two parts where the sweet potato does its thing in the oven while the pasta simmers away on the stove, this dish is a dinner time lifesaver - very much like some recent ones I have shared.
The sweet potato and halloumi baked in the oven is a multi-tasker. I have topped many a salad with this exact same recipe. You will find your hand wandering off to nick a golden cube of halloumi or a perfectly charred piece of sweet potato. Then you will grab a couple of toasted almonds and before long, you will be admonishing yourself to step away or else there won't be anything left to go on the pasta.
A quick kitchen hack for when you don't have pappardelle (really, how many of us ever do?) is to slice fresh lasagna sheets into thick ribbons. I tend to have a couple of packets of fresh lasagna sheets in the fridge. Woolies does a completely natural, additive and preservative-free version which is the only one I use. Or if you have another half hour on hand, it is quite easy to whip up fresh pasta sheets. If you don't have either, any regular pasta will do.
Remember that if you are using dried pasta, it will be half the amount of fresh pasta. Always cook pasta in salted water. Nothing tastes more horrid than bland pasta. You could make this gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta and vegan by using a vegan substitute for cream, like this amazing sour cashew cream sauce that I use as a pasta base, dip, salad dressing ... literally for everything savoury that needs a creamy dairy substitute!
If you are cooking from the blog or try this delicious pasta, remember to leave your comment/feedback below and rate the recipe. You can tag me with #cookrepublic on Instagram too if you wish, so I can see what you are cooking from the blog! x
BROWSE >> PASTA RECIPES
BROWSE >> SWEET POTATO RECIPES
Two Years Ago - Amaranth Coffee And Walnut Cake
Three Years Ago - Lemon Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes
Four Years Ago – Anzac Cookies
Five Years Ago - Indian Tomato Soup
Seven Years Ago - Hummingbird Muffins
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CREAMY SWEET POTATO AND HALLOUMI PASTA
for the sweet potato topping
- 500 g sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup (70 g) almonds, roughly chopped
- 180 g halloumi cheese, cut into cubes
for the pasta
- 400 g fresh cooked pappardelle pasta, or 220g dried pasta of choice
- 200 ml fresh cream
- zest of 1 small lemon
- microherbs, to serve
- sea salt flakes and black pepper, for seasoning
- Preheat oven to 240°C conventional (220°C fan-forced). Line a shallow rimmed baking tray with baking paper.
- Place sweet potato, olive oil, chilli, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Toss to combine. Spread on the prepared baking tray and bake for 10 minutes in the oven.
- Remove from oven. Add almonds and halloumi. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.
- Remove and set aside.
- While the sweet potato is cooking, cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup (125ml) of the cooking liquid and drain the rest.
- Return pasta and liquid to the pan on low heat. Add the cream. Mix to coat the pasta thoroughly with the cream. Cook for a couple of minutes until heated through. Adjust seasoning if needed.
- Remove from heat and top with the roasted sweet potato and halloumi mix. Scatter with lemon zest and micro herbs. Serve