Spicy Pork Meatballs with Creamy Sweet Potato Sauce



  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese (shredded, divided)
  • 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped, plus more for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage (rubbed)
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (divided)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (divided)
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 3/4 cup milk (or more as needed)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Bake the sweet potatoes until tender, 50 to 60 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine the ground pork, egg, 1/2 cup of cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, sage, red pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Form the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs, arranging them on a plate or platter.
  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil. Add the meatballs in a single layer, making sure they’re not touching, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate, cover to keep warm and set aside.
  5. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, cover to keep warm and set aside.
  6. Scoop the flesh from the sweet potatoes, place it in a food processor and pulse a few times. Slowly add the half and half and milk, processing until smooth. Set aside.
  7. Wipe out the skillet, place it over medium heat, and warm the butter and 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the sweet potato mixture, black pepper, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until the sauce is thickened and heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add more milk as needed. Whisk in 1/4 cup of cheese. Add the rigatoni, stirring until it’s heated through.
  8. Serve the pasta topped with the meatballs and garnished with chopped parsley.
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