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.
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!