Sweet potatoes are one of my most favorite parts of late autumn/early winter, and seeing these irregularly shaped tubers show up at Salvatore’s produce shop on my corner just tickles me pink. I just couldn’t get enough. Yes, I’m sorry to see them go, but the verdant spring bounty will be here before we know it so that kind of helps mollify their departure.
Sweet potatoes are amazing just cleaned, dried, wrapped in foil and baked at 200 degrees for an hour or so. While I enjoy eating them as such post-baking, I just can’t get enough of a them in a velvety vellutata form. As the sweet potatoes die out with the arrival of the new year, I wanted to share a recipe of sorts for sweet potato vellutata that I couldn’t get enough of this fall that I can’t wait to make again next season. Apologies in advance for my measurements…or lack thereof. 😉
Ingredients for sweet potato vellutata with guanciale:
4 – 6 sweet potatoes (depends on the size; if they’re all large, use 4)
2 white potatoes
Bunch of sage
Diced guanciale (the amount depends on your taste; I’d say anywhere from 10 – 15 grams)
Goat cheese ricotta
Prior to making: Fry the sage leaves in extra virgin olive oil. This is super simple; it takes about a minute or so on each side, but really just have to to watch them to know when they’re done. The fry starts on the edges and makes its way into the center.
When I lived a Rome, a friend had told me that good Roman always keeps guanciale in the fridge. I’m Milanese now, but old habits die hard and it’s no big secret that crispy salty pieces of guanciale are dreamy in a velvety sweet potato soup.
Chop the leek and cook in a Dutch oven with some extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes; until the leek appears translucent and cooked.
Add diced guanciale and let the pieces cook for a few minutes until its crunchy. Remove half of the guanciale and set aside.
Add diced sweet potatoes and potatoes to the guanciale, leek and oil, cover the potatoes in oil and cook for about a minute. Then add one cup of vegetable broth and then water until everything in the pan is covered covered with a little room left over. Add salt. (Note: I always have vegetable broth on hand which always winds up very concentrated. Depending on how string your broth is, you can get away with just broth.
Cook for approximately 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft and mashable then take off the heat. Cooking times may vary, so keep checking. Season with salt to taste.
Once mashable, mix with a hand blender until the soup takes on the typical vellutata texture.
Place in bowls and add a dollop of goat’s milk ricotta and top with a dried sage leaf. Add a dusting of nutmeg on top.