For Christmas I received a couple of new cookbooks including one by famed Italian chef, Lidia Bastiaich. She has a fabulous restaurant here in Pittsburgh but I was happy to try out some of her recipes in my own kitchen.
Since the holidays I’ve made three things from the cookbook-a simple yet decadent flourless chocolate torte, mint green beans (these were really good), and a pasta dish coupled with sweet potatoes and parsley (among other things). I think I’ve mentioned before that while I like marinara sauce, it often gets tiring after a while, so I’m always interested in trying out non-red sauce pastas. This one did not disappoint. Although I initially wondered how the pasta wouldn’t come out tasting “dry,” the olive oil combined with the cooking of the vegetables and herbs and then ultimately the addition of pasta water worked out fine and gave it an excellent taste.
So far, I’ve been pleased with all the recipes I’ve tried out from this cookbook and look forward to making more dishes in the future.
Pipette con Patate Dolci y Prezzemolo e Capperi
recipe courtesy of Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking by
Lidia Matticchio Bastiaich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 ounces thick-sliced bacon, cut into julienne strips
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 fresh sage leaves
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, sliced (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup rinsed small capers (optional)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1 pound pipette or elbow pasta
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
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, garlic, and the sage. Cook until fat has rendered, about 3-4 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 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 7-8 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 id 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.