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Sweet Potato with Sage Cream & Benton's Country Ham filling
Preheat oven 350 F. Cut off the ends of the potatoes. Wrap individually in aluminum foil with a little butter (4 tbsp. total). Bake until soft, 1 - 2 hours, depending on size. Unwrap cooked potato and cut a slit lengthwise in the skin of each. Pull the skin away and discard. Rinse the potatoes with hot water and place in a saucepan.
Render the bacon until golden. Drain the bacon and add to potato. Stir the potatoes over low heat, season with the spices, salt and pepper. Mix in the remaining 4 tbsp. of butter. Should make about 1 2/3 cup filling. Cool and refrigerate.
Fill the agnolotti.
For the sage cream, blanch the sage leaves not reserved for garnish in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain, cool in cold water. Squeeze dry.
Heat the crème fraiche, beurre monté and salt over low heat until hot, do not boil. Place the sage in a blender, chop. With motor running, add the hot cream and blend. Strain into a large skillet, keep warm on low heat.
Deep fry the leaves for garnish.
Cook the agnolotti in boiling water. Drain. While the agnolotti are cooking, make some brown butter.
To serve, toss the agnolotti in the warm sage cream, put on a heated serving dish, drizzle the brown butter over the top, garnish with the fried sage leaves and the country ham.
Recipe by Mark Rosenstein of The Market Place Restaurant, an acclaimed downtown Asheville establishment that proudly serves local produce and meat.