Spring. In the midst of soft rain and thunder booming, and an occasional peek of sunshine, we try to turn the page, lightening in mood and plate. And yet, this is spring in the midwest, so the page is equally likely to turn back and remind you that winter is not that far behind us after all. Cold winds blow in off the Lake, sending us scurrying back to hibernation, a bottle of cabernet popped and the oven cranked for roasting.
And so it is that this week has been a loopy roller coaster taking us from low 40s to 80 degrees and back again. If you’re sharing this springtime joy ride with me, pop a bottle of your own, and let’s have one last hurrah with our wintery root vegetables.
Have you climbed on the Inspiralized craze yet? Turning humble veggies into noodles is the de rigeur health craze of the moment, and being a lover of all things vegetal, I’m on board, maybe not for health reasons, but simply to enjoy veggies in a new way. But simple zucchini noodles with tomato sauce – that’s a little boring. Let’s talk about sweet potatoes, perhaps my favorite starchy veg. I love ‘em baked, roasted, gratined, hashed, sauteed, pureed, any way you can make ‘em, I’m in. So when it occurred to me that I could noodle AND roast them, I went all in, and you’ll find this dish gracing our table on a near weekly basis.
Let’s break it down – a quick, high heat roast on your sweet noodles leave them tender, sugars concentrated, with the occasional crispy, caramelized tendril to shatter against your teeth. Dress the bowl with a little spicy Cincinnati Chili, onion and extra sharp cheddar, and I think you’ll do as we’ve done, and forsake the traditional spaghetti with your Cinci chili from here on out. The sweet, roasted noodles are the perfect balance against the deep savoriness of the chili, and the sweet noodles highlight the hint of cinnamon and cocoa in the chili. Did I mention that a batch of Cincinnati Chili freezes in individual portions beautifully? With a well stocked freezer, you can have a bowl of these comforting noodles on the table in less than 30 minutes. Do it!
Roasted Sweet Potato Noodles
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, and ends cut off
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 good pinch of kosher salt
- 1 ¼ cups Cincinnati Chili
- raw onion and grated sharp cheddar for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 425F, convection roaring if you’ve got it. Throw a rimmed baking sheet in the oven while it preheats.
- Get out your spiralizer, peel and cut the ends off your sweet potatoes, and turn those taters into noodles. Put them in a large mixing bowl, and use your kitchen shears to snip the noodles into shorter pieces – maybe 10-12 snips should reduce them to manageable lengths.
- Drizzle 1 T of olive oil and a good pinch of kosher salt over the noodles, and toss them with tongs.
- Remove the sheet pan from the oven, spray with oil, and turn the noodles onto the greased pan in one even layer.
- Place the pan of noodles in the preheated oven, and roast for 10 minutes, then gently turn the noodles and roast for another 5 minutes.
- While the noodles finish roasting, reheat your chili, chop the onion, and grate some cheddar.
- Serve the finished roasted noodles in bowls, garnishing with chili, onion and cheddar. Enjoy!