Legumes and pasta aside, the tuber is quite possibly the frugal singleton's gastronomical soul mate. The following recipe is a tasty, tuberous two-for-one. Who can resist potatoes on top of more potatoes?
I've served this dish to friends who claimed to dislike sweet potatoes and became instant converts. On the other hand, sweet potato enthusiasts may find them too savory here, so feel free to tone down the spices if you prefer your sweet potatoes canned and covered in marshmallows.
You can make this dish even more economical by making your own gnocchi. Lidia Bastianich's recipe is a good one: http://www.recipelink.com/mf/31/43239
Recipe: Gnocchi with Spicy Sweet Potatoes
Prep time: 5 minutes; Total cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 4 as side dish or 2 as hearty main course
2 sweet potatoes (if using yams, which are much larger, one will do)
1 small onion
2 T olive oil, divided
1/4 t ground cayenne (red) pepper
1 t ground nutmeg
1 t ground sage (dried rosemary is also delicious in place of sage)
1 13 oz. package of fresh gnocchi (I like Trader Joe's)
2 T half-and-half or light cream
1 T butter (optional)
2 T grated Parmesan (optional)
2 T chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel sweet potatoes and chop into pieces about 3/4 in. Grease a small baking dish (9" x 9" works well) with about a tablespoon of the olive oil; spread chopped sweet potatoes evenly over dish. Coarsely chop onion and add to dish. Brush with remaining olive oil and add cayenne, nutmeg, and sage. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft and browned. Meanwhile, bring water in pasta pot to a boil. Add gnocchi and boil until all gnocchi have been floating at top, about 4 minutes. Drain, but not too thoroughly. Return gnocchi to pot and add half and half, butter, parmesan, and parsley. Toss with sweet potatoes, adding salt and pepper to your taste.