The grey has come. The warm orange glow of the sunset leaves my kitchen window hours earlier than it seemed to last week. The rainy days are outnumbering the sunny. The leaves along the avenue are quickly turning brown, yellow, and ruby red. Last night, I sat by my backdoor and took as much of the night air into my lungs as humanly possible, and for the first time this year I smelled it. You know what I'm talking about, that unmistakable autumn scent, woodsy, spicy and a bit cool.
Today was an outnumbered day, a day of sun and blue skies. Still the cold has crept it, it's unavoidable this time of year, and thus I was craving some fall inspired flavors this evening for dinner. Enter, heavily peppered and salted oven roasted sweet potato, punchy arugula, and crispy fried pancetta all tossed with warm penne, a simple dressing, and a bit of pecorino. For me it wasn't a perfect bowl of pasta, but I can be picky, the boyfriend hungrily scarfed down two bowls and was happy to assure me it was 'amazing'. I'm not going to give up on this recipe though, while it may not have been my perfect bowl of pasta, I think next time I'll throw in a leek sauteed in butter and see what effect that may have on this dish.
Are you looking forward to the autumn days upon us?
Roasted Sweet Potato & Arugula Penne
serves 4 to 6
1 medium sized sweet potato, peeled
salt and pepper
5 slices of pancetta
1 small shallot - minced
1/8 cup cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 lb of penne
1 1/2 cup fresh arugula
pecorino and flat leaf parsley for garnish
1. Preheat your oven to 425 F cut your sweet potato into 1 inch cubes, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, season well with salt and pepper, toss, and bake for about 30 minutes until caramelized and soft.
2. While the sweet potato is cooking, fry the pancetta in a small skillet over medium heat until cooked and crispy. Place on a paper towel and reserve pancetta fat dripping for your dressing. Chop pancetta into large-ish pieces.
3. In skillet with the drippings add your olive oil, shallot, brown sugar, and a touch of salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, allowing all the flavors to melt into each other and the vinegar to reduce a little.
4. In a large bowl toss your fried pancetta and fresh arugula.
5. Cook pasta until al dente, 8-10 minutes drain.
6. Top fresh arugula with hot pasta, then dressing, sweet potato, a bit of cheese and parsley. Toss until well mixed.
7. Relax and eat a generous bowl (perhaps with a little more cheese?)