I love pasta and pizza, but marinara gets old sometimes. This sauce is incredbly easy to make and can be used with pasta, in lasagna (like last week's butternut squash and spinach lasagna), or on top of pizza. Honestly, it's so easy to make, and holds up really well for about a week in the fridge, or freeze it for later use. And... it's vegan! Pairs really well with pinot grigio or a hard cider.
Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce
1 Butternut Squash; peeled, seeds removed, and chopped into pieces
1Tbsp Rubbed Sage (you can use fresh if you like)
1 Tbsp Garlic; minced
1 Tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
Put the squash into a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until squash is well done (approximately 15 minutes). Drain, and save the cooking liquid. In a food processer place the cooked squash, sage, garlic and salt. Add about one cup of the cooking liquid and puree until well mixed. You can add additional cooking liquid if you prefer a looser sauce, but we like our thick.
Keeps for about a week in the fridge, or it can be frozen for longer storage.
This week's menu includes several dishes with an Asian theme. Although I was trained in classical French techniques, I've always been drawn to the flavors and ingredients of Asian cuisine.
One of my favorites is an herb called Shiso, or perilla frutescens. A member of the mint family, this particular herb has an almost peppery flavor. The green leaves are most commonly known as the liner for wasabi paste on sushi platters, but I grow the red variety. Why? Because it's a great way to add a slightly pink hue to the foods you cook it with. Most notably, umeboshi, or pickled plum, is made pink by including shiso in the brine. I put a few leaves into rice and it makes it a beautiful rose color that I find really attractive.
Shiso was originally cultivated in China, but is used throughout Asian cuisine. Fortunately for me, it's easy to grow, even in Wisconsin. I plant it from seeds that I purchase from the Kitazawa Seed Company. I broadcast the seeds in my grow boxes in spring and get huge bushes of the plant. Like mint, it's tough to kill these babies and they spread, so it's a good idea to be careful if you plant them in your garden beds, or they tend to take over. The red leaves are beautiful in planters though, and you'll most likely have more than enough for your culinary endeavours.
This week's Miso salmon has some chiffonade of shiso as a garnish. I also put some into the Udon Badger Bowl. You can eat the leaf in salads, but be careful the flavor is intense - a little bit goes a long way! I use shiso with my mint when I make mojitos - which might need to be a recipe of the week at some point. The plant is said to have antibacterial properties, so basically that makes that mojito medicinal in my book!