With warm notes of cinnamon and sweet Hungarian paprika, as well as sweet potatoes, red onions and Napa cabbage, this pasta has an exotic feel to it — and a totally welcome one, at that.
Tagines were really popular the holiday season that I moonlighted at Williams-Sonoma. The term refers to both the cooking vessel used in North African cooking (Morocco, specifically) and the stews that are made in it. I even had one at one time, though I found that it wasn’t a go-to for me.
But when I was developing recipes for One-Pot Pasta, my cookbook released in January, I was reminded of the flavors in tagine stews. Warm, comforting, rich. And that’s what inspired this recipe.
Sweet potato, red onion and Napa cabbage provide bulk in this pasta. It’s cooked in a mix of vegetable stock and apple juice and made fragrant with cinnamon, paprika and rosemary.
As far as vegetarian pastas go, this one is pretty unique. And special too.
Though I think it’s perfect on its own, you could add white beans to the recipe if you wanted a vegetarian protein source. Or diced, grilled chicken if you don’t mind it not being vegetarian.
Fragrant Sweet Potato and Red Onion Shells
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 sweet potato , ¾-inch dice (about ¾ lb)
- 1 medium red onion , diced
- 2 cups finely shredded and chopped Napa cabbage
- 1 ¾ cup vegetable stock
- ½ cup apple juice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 oz dried medium shells
- Heat the olive oil in a pot. Add the sweet potatoes and onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and beginning to brown, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add the Napa cabbage, vegetable stock, apple juice, cinnamon, paprika, rosemary, salt and shells to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-12 minutes until the shells are softened.
- Remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
This recipe comes from my cookbook One-Pot Pasta, published by Rockridge Press in January 2019. One-Pot Pasta is available where books are sold including indie bookstores. Signed copies are available from The Briar Patch in Bangor, Maine.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.