Friday, October 23, 2009

Supper Wars: Spaghetti with Sweet Potatoes & Ricotta

Another recipe from the Real Simple magazine Month of Easy Dinners. We've tried four or five over the past two weeks, and I'm sorting through photos to post while I can still remember what the kidlets had to say about them.

The first was the Gnocchi & Roasted Cauliflower, which garnered three positive reviews, one neutral, and one "why are you trying to kill me?" The good news is that all three children have now decided potatoes can be a part of pasta, and have asked if I'll make gnocchi again. (Though only one wants it served with the cauliflower next time.)

This time, Spaghetti With Sweet Potatoes & Ricotta. Stuck very close to the original, aside from making a little extra pasta, since I'm feeding more than four, and adding a few more dollops of ricotta at the end. Knew adding extra sweet potatoes would be pointless, since the two boys weren't going to eat more than one or two token bites of that ingredient.

It took 10-15 minutes to get the ingredients together and prepped.
While doing this, the water was heating for the pasta. Means this
recipe completely avoids pushing one of my big frustration buttons ofsupper-prep, the hurry-up-and-wait stage. Kept busy the whole time, and not just because I was being bombarded with homework questions from third, fifth and ninth grader.

Once the spaghetti was drained and set aside, I rinsed the pot and put it right back on the stove, with olive oil for the sweet potatoes & shallots. That's correct, same pot, which hits another high point of an "easy" meal... less cleanup!

While the potatoes & shallots cooked, I prepped broccoli for steaming, shaved parmesan, and chopped rosemary. (And came up with a 3rd grade level interpretation of wikipedia's entry on metamorphic rock, checked a math worksheet, and repeated "no, you may not watch tv" at least three times.)

By the time for adding pasta back to the pan, along with rosemary and scoops of ricotta, the kidlets were clearing away homework and setting the table. About the same time the last napkin was placed , the first plate was ready for the table.

Like with most meals which the adults like, this met with mixed reviews from the kidlets. B1 & B2 LOVED the ricotta, liked the flavor, but HATED the sweet potatoes. (This is after saying they liked the flavor of the pasta which had been tossed with the sweet potatoes... Ack!) DD was not a fan of the ricotta. Something about the texture when the ricotta is on it's own - she likes it as a filling for lasagna or in ravioli. She did like the sweet potatoes very much, though.

General kid consensus - neutral, leaning toward good-ish. If I want to make it again, that's okay, but could I please not give any of them the parts they don't like. Since this is a little difficult to do with something cooked all in the same pot, TOUGH. I will make it again, and they will eat exactly the same way as they did this time - token bite or two of the least favorite part, then scarfing down the rest.

The recipe in Real Simple says this meal takes 25 minutes. I didn't get it prepped and cooked in 25 minutes. In a perfect world, working in a perfectly ordered kitchen, quiet children studiously doing homework with nary a question, sure. But even at 35-40 minutes start-to-finish, this is still a keeper for easy suppers.

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