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Sweet Potato and Miso Mac and Cheese

Elena Besser
Cook Time:
20 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins
Servings:
4
AVERAGE RATING
(19)

Put a fun spin on your typical dinner routine by upgrading a childhood favorite — macaroni and cheese. This genius recipe uses two unexpected ingredients — miso paste and sweet potatoes — to bring the cheesy flavor to a whole new dimension. 

Miso is a fermented soybean paste that's rich with umami flavor. You probably know it best from its use in East Asian soups, sauces and marinades, but it’s a powerhouse addition to other staples like pastas and salad dressings. Here, it’s the star of the sauce, balancing the naturally sweet notes from the sweet potatoes, allowing you to transform an iconic kid's dish into an elevated adult version with a touch more pizazz. 

Chef Elena Besser loves this recipe because it comes together quickly, yet still feels special. She starts by cooking the sweet potato in the microwave instead of in the oven to save on time before blending the cooked potato into a sauce with miso, butter, milk and sugar. After combining the sauce with the pasta in a baking dish, the mac is topped with parmesan cheese, baked and then finished with toasted breadcrumbs and chives along with furikake, a Japanese rice seasoning which is composed of ingredients like toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, herbs, salt and fish flakes. You’re going to love it. 

Technique Tip: Poking holes in the sweet potatoes before cooking will allow air to escape and prevent the sweet potatoes from exploding in the microwave. 

Swap Option: Feel free to use ghee instead of butter and pecorino instead of Parmesan cheese. Pecorino is saltier than Parmesan so keep that in mind as you season. If you don’t have furikake on hand, you can combine 1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds and 1/4 cup finely chopped seaweed. 

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound large shells
  • 6 ounces Parmesan cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, divided
  • 1/4 cup white miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown or granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped chives
  • furikake rice seasoning, for garnish

Preparation

1.

Using a fork, poke holes in sweet potatoes on all sides. Wrap each potato in a damp paper towel and place in the microwave. Cook for 6 minutes, turning halfway through, or until the flesh is tender. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, peel the potatoes and roughly chop.

2.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

3.

In a high-powered blender or food processor, grind the Parmesan cheese into a fine powder.

4.

Add half of the butter into a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the miso and sugar and stir until combined into a saucy paste. Slowly whisk in the milk until the miso and butter emulsify. Add in the sweet potatoes and blend until smooth using an immersion blender. Alternatively, you may transfer the mixture to a high-powered blender. 

5.

Add the cooked pasta to the saucepan with the sauce. Add a splash of reserved pasta water, followed by a handful of Parmesan cheese, alternating back and forth until the cheese has melted and the sauce reaches your desired consistency. Adjust seasoning to taste.

6.

Melt the remaining butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the panko breadcrumbs and toast, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.

7.

Divide pasta among bowls. Top with breadcrumbs, chives and furikake.