Sweet Potato and Chive, Parmesan & Garlic-Coated Ravioli

This recipe was inspired by a quick, tasty dish thought up by my little brother Peter. He used penne for the pasta, and asparagus and carrots for the veggies (which he cooked on the stove in the garlic olive oil since they don’t take as long to cook as sweet potatoes).
His version didn’t have chives, and it honestly didn’t need them– it was delish enough that I went to cook up my own version with what I had in my fridge for supper that night.

The recipe below is how I made the pasta shown in the picture, but go ahead and use any pasta and veggies you have!
The only thing you need to ensure is that you coat the pasta with the Parmesan before mixing it in with the garlic & olive oil veggies.

Buon appetit!

Ingredients:

  • approx. 450 g peeled and diced sweet potatoes– about one-inch thick (I bought mine pre-packaged that way)
  • approx. 300 g ravioli (I used whole wheat broccoli and cheese-stuffed ravioli)
  • olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
  • small bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 4-5 heaping tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper for serving (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In an oven-proof dish, place sweet potatoes.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for half an hour.
Put water on to boil for pasta.
Pour enough olive oil to cover bottom of medium skillet, and mix in garlic.
Turn on stove heat for skillet to medium low heat. Heat until garlic begins to cook and aroma fills the air.
Stir garlic around in the oil. Add cooked sweet potatoes and chives. Gently stir around to evenly coat potatoes with everything. Turn off that stove element.
Finish cooking ravioli and drain water. Place pasta back into pot, add the Parmesan and gently mix so that cheese sticks to and coats pasta.
Add the now Parmesan-coated pasta to the skillet with the sweet potatoes and mix to coat everything evenly.
Serve (with freshly ground black pepper if desired).

Serves 3

Shrimp Spaghettini with Tandoori Almonds and Honey Dates

For this recipe I used canned Tandoori almonds and pitted honey dates that I had in my snack cupboard. You could probably use other seasoned almonds and dried fruit to get the same sort of cool mix of flavours. The mix of spicy with sweet, and the different textures (including the crunch of the almonds) make this a really pleasant dish to eat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb shrimp (frozen or not)
  • whole wheat spaghettini (or other long pasta) (a small handful per person)
  • small handful tandoori almonds (or other seasoned almonds)
  • small handful dried honey dates (or other dried fruit?)
  • approx. half teaspoon sage (I froze my sage and used it after a few months, which worked out just fine!)
  • approx. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • fresh Parmesan (to taste)
  • Fresh pepper (to taste)

Assuming you use the same ingredients I did, here’s what you do:

  1. Defrost and remove shells from frozen shrimp (I fill the bag with hot water to defrost quickly), or prepare fresh shrimp for cooking.
  2. Place a pot of water to boil, then cook  spaghettini while you prepare the rest of the meal:
  3. Roughly chop up the almonds so that you don’t have any pieces larger than a quarter almond.
  4. Chop the dates to the same size.
  5. Finely chop the sage.
  6. Finely chop the garlic, or push through a garlic press.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the garlic. Heat for about 30 seconds and add the sage. Stir. Cook until the aroma of garlic fills the air.
  8. Throw in your almonds and dates. Grate in your Parmesan and pepper. Stir to mix and coat all ingredients with the oil and garlic.
  9. Add the shrimp, stir around to coat, remove from heat once shrimp are cooked.
  10. Dump the shrimp mixture into the pot with the cooked pasta, getting all the bits and oil you can into the pot (I used a rubber spatula to do this).
  11. Stir everything around to coat the pasta and serve!

Pasta al Vongole (Baby Clam Pasta)– a Sicilian Specialty

This is a dish I’ve grown up with and love it every single time it’s made. It’s so utterly delicious and easy (and healthy!) that it should be enjoyed by all.

The whole process takes about 15 minutes!

Here’s how my mom and I do it:

Pasta al Vongole

  • Olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of a big pan)
  • Half a large bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cans baby clams
  • ½ chicken stock cube
  • big pinch black pepper
  • ½ cup white wine (optional)
  • Spaghetti or spaghettini pasta (as much as you prefer)

Prepare a pot of  lightly salted water to boil for pasta, add pasta and cook until ready (until “al dente”—not hard in the middle, but still slightly chewy).– Cook the “sauce” as you wait for the water to boil:

Open clam cans, save juice aside in a separate cup
In a large skillet with high sides, heat olive oil on medium heat, add garlic and
Add chicken stock and pepper. Stir.
When you smell the aroma of garlic, dump the clams into the pan and stir.
Once clams are hot, add the clam juice (and add about half a cup of white wine if you like for added flavour).
Add the parsley, stir, cook for only about a minute (the fresher the better for taste and nutrients).

When pasta water is drained, add a few spoons of the skillet juices into pasta and mix (so pasta is not sticky).
Put pasta into each plate, spoon on the clam “sauce” (with some more of the juices) and enjoy!
You can add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese if you like.
Serves 4