Oo la la! Ruby Red Pasta Sauce

Here is a pasta sauce that really defies description: It is piquant, delicious, ruby-red, but no tomatoes! C’est possible? Oui! Inspired by a recipe that the amazingly-talented chef and blogger Christy Morgan says she learned at Austin’s Natural Epicurean Academy in Austin, it is a delicious new entry into your sauce repertoire. I read the original recipe in Christy’s book, Blissful Bites. If you haven’t already, please purchase this book. It will delight your senses!

Oo la la Ruby Red Pasta Sauce

4 cups cooked pumpkin (Christy used butternut, but pumpkin was what I had)
3 big carrots, cut into two-inch pieces
2 rutabagas, peeled and cut into hunks (the size of the carrots)
Simmer the rutabagas and carrots in water until they are soft (15-20 minutes). If using fresh squash, peel and simmer that, too. Everything needs to be ready to be pureed.

In the meantime, saute in a teaspoon or two of oil:
1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced, and
3 cloves garlic, minced

When the vegetables begin to get soft, sprinkle on
1 T dried oregano
2 T vegan pesto (I puree basil when it is in season and freeze it in ice cube trays)
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt

When the squash, carrots and veggies are soft, puree them in the food processor. I used about 1/2 cup red wine and 1 cup of the cooking water. But start off conservatively. You don’t want it runny.

Put your puree in with the celery/onion/garlic mixture. At this point, it looks like a pumpkin puree. Hmmmmm. I think this is so brilliant! Christy adds grated beet (peel it first!) 1 T at a time until you get just the right color. I ended up using close to 1 whole beet for this lot.

Now it is time to start balancing the tastes. You want to marry the sweetness and tartness of tomatoes to this lovely veggie sauce.
Start with:
2T tamari
2 T umeboshi plum vinegar (available at Harvest Health)
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T maple syrup

Stir this all together and let the flavors meld. Then taste. Try to figure out what your sauce still needs. Spicy, sweet, salt? I found myself adding more red wine and umeboshi vinegar. I probably added about 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes here, too.

I plan to use this sauce in every marinara application I can think of… next up, pizza!

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