One benefit on being put on a more restrictive diet (no dairy and no tomatoes), is that I discover new food. I personally have always loved a few ways of making pasta dishes that use either dairy or tomatoes. Going off of both of them, has put a damper on Italian food! But, to my pleasant surprise, I have found that there are many Italian recipes that can be made without dairy and tomatoes.
One method I have discovered, is making simple sauces with veggies. The basic method is stir frying or steaming veggies with added flavors, and either mashing, or blending the cooked vegetables to make a simple sauce. I loved the simplicity of that concept! As you know, I like simple food. And this is a great way to get in more veggies. I do miss my tomato sauce, but this is a nice change and I would eat it, even if I could have dairy and tomatoes!
I have made this butternut squash pasta sauce twice now using this method and we like it a lot! While I do still miss the freshly grated cheese on top of these pasta dish, it still is very good without it. I like anything with onions, garlic, and basil in it! I think that next time I make it, I will probably add a few dashes of white wine to it. If you can have dairy, a great way to make this more rich would be to hold back some of the broth, and finish the sauce with some heavy cream at the end. And, of course, all of you dairy people, can sprinkle with cheese to serve (which is how I would serve it if I could…..).
This recipe is so simple, it is easy to change around. Use fresh herbs, different herbs, mix with a tomato sauce, or, just keep it simple, and enjoy the simple, beautiful flavors as is.
I like to use Tinkyada’s Brown rice Pasta. It has a wonderful texture, is easy to cook and is low in phytates. I also served this with homemade sourdough pasta. That was very nice as well. I love how fast this sauce is to make. It’s a great last minute meal.
Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce (Makes enough sauce to go along with 12 ounces of pasta, uncooked)
About a 1 to 1 1/2lb butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and cubed
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon basil
salt and pepper
1 cup of chicken broth
A few dashes of white wine (optional)
Grated parmesan cheese to serve, for those who can…
In a large saucepan, heat the oil until hot and add onions. Cook over med-high heat, until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two, just until the garlic is releasing it’s flavor, but don’t brown (it can make it bitter). If you are using the white wine, add at this point (cook for about 30 seconds to a minute).
Add the butternut squash, the basil, the chicken broth, and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover, bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about ten minutes, until the squash is fork tender.
When this is accomplished, check how much chicken broth is left. You want enough to blend with the squash to make a moist sauce, but not to much, which would make a runny sauce. There are no hard rules here! Play it by ear. If there still seems to be a lot left, you can simmer uncovered to reduce.
Now you can to one of three things. 1- Mash to make a chunky sauce, 2- Put through a food mill to make a slightly chunky, slightly smooth sauce (method of my choice) 3-Put through your blender or food processor to make a smooth sauce. Once that is done….
Salt and pepper to taste, pour over hot pasta, if desired, topped with shredded cheese, and serve!
Simple food. Good food.