Saturday, April 18, 2015

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta



Cheese and dairy-based sauces can be difficult to recreate within a vegan diet. Sometimes we can get close to the original, but we need to be extra creative in order to convince ourselves and others of our mock-milk dishes. 

One dish that I miss from my dairy days are cream based pasta sauces.  They are velvety, creamy and savory (also incredibly unhealthy but so worth it).  There are several kinds of cream sauces such as a simple Alfredo, a smokey Carbonara, and the humble North American cheddar cheese sauce.  

This recipe may look like cheddar sauce, but is made with a healthier orange ingredient: butternut squash.  It has a lovely roasted flavor and a savory aftertaste from tahini and olive oil.  

Add nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.  You can sprinkle it over top, or mix it into the pasta itself.  

Sauce:
  • 1 medium sized butternut squash
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tahini 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 2 teaspoons salt (add more to taste) 
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper (add more to taste)

Pasta ingredients 
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast 
  • Pasta 
  • Water for boiling 
  • pinch of salt 


Sauce:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 Degrees F. 
  2. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise.  
  3. Remove seeds and place skin-side-up on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until the squash is soft. 
  4. Once cooked (and cooled), the skin will peel away easily.
  5. In a food processor, add the squash, oil, tahini, water, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and pepper.  Process until smooth.  If you want a thinner sauce, add more liquid of your choice.  For a nutty taste, add tahini; for a savory taste add more olive oil; and for a neutral taste add more water.  Your choice. 
  6. Boil a pot of salted water and prepare pasta until al dente. 
  7. Once cooked, drain and toss with the squash sauce. 
  8. Serve with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.  It gives the dish an extra 'cheesy' flavor. 


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