Squash Pasta Sauce

Life is so cozy at this moment. The snow is falling, there is vegetable broth simmering on the stove, I’ve got spaghetti sauce steeping low-n-slow in the crock pot, and the house is covered in Christmas decorations.

…also I’ve been forced to downshift because my son is sick. This is the second day in a row I’ve kept him home from school, so I’ve needed to focus on what I can do at home.

It occurred to me that I have a huge backlog of photos of recipes that I’ve made recently, but I haven’t taken the time to post about them. I’ll start here and then queue up some further posts for you to enjoy over the course of a few days, while I slide into the last-week-before-Christmas prepping madness.

Since I’ve got regular marinara sauce going in the crock pot right now, let me tell you about the delicious pasta sauce I made the other night.

I’ve still been working my way through the remaining squash from the stock-up share. For this recipe, I used the front-most squash in this picture, which I’m fairly certain is a hokkaido squash. The squashes in the stock-up share are tricky, because I don’t get the benefit of a label. There are SO MANY winter squash varieties! 

I roasted the squash. The easiest method (in my opinion) for roasting winter squash, when you are just aiming for puree, is to cut the squash in half, seed it, and put it cut-side down in a pyrex dish with about 1/2 inch of water. Cook the squash in a 400 degree oven until it is tender – usually about 45 minutes, though that varies with the size of the squash.

Once the squash was roasted, I started sauteeing some garlic in some EVOO. I then proceeded to make a roux… though I made it with Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Almond Milk instead of regular milk. I’ve been shying away from dairy, and I had  this open in the fridge. The flavor combo seemed obvious, too.

You can make a vegan roux by using olive oil and almond milk instead of butter and milk. Follow the same method you would for a traditional roux.
This is delicious in coffee, as well.

I stirred in the squash puree, along with some spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, paprika.

I’d intended to use diced tomatoes, but it turns out I’d run out of them. I used crushed instead, and it worked out fine. I used half of a large can of crushed tomatoes, and then added salt and pepper to taste.

The final product! I boiled some pasta – in this case, trio italiano veggie pasta. I also sauteed chicken and apple sausage in a chef pan before adding the pasta and sauce. If you forego the sausage, the meal is vegan. I recommend saving some of the starchy pasta water in case you need to thin the sauce; I did add a splash at the end.

This dinner was delicious, and my experiment actually yielded enough sauce to freeze some to use another time. It reheated well the next day, as well.

Off-The-Cuff Buckwheat Noodles

I’m ridiculously proud of myself for my dinner creation tonight.

Tuesday is CSA day, of course, so usually dinner can go two ways – either I plan ahead and have something cooking in the crock pot, so I can focus on prep and planning for the rest of the week, or I scramble to figure something out from my share. The problem with the latter is that I usually freeze – an abundance of options can make it hard to focus!

Today should have been a disaster. I got a migraine headache early this afternoon. I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. Somehow, I managed to follow through on a previous commitment to pick up my friend’s son, as well as tutor him, with a stop to pick up my farm share along the way. After he left, I took advantage of my baby-sitter’s presence and decided to lay down for a while.

No joke, it was 5:40 when I finally returned to the main floor of my house, and my husband has to be out of the house on Tuesdays for an appointment at 7. The pressure was on if I didn’t want to resort to take out. Luckily, between some pantry staples and some gems from my share today, I came up with something delicious.

Luckily, I’d impulse-purchased some tempeh while I was out the other day. Tempeh is a soy-based protein that is fermented and pressed. Some, like this, have other things added, and I’m partial to the flax variety.

It comes in a solid brick like this. I cubed it up…

… and started it frying in the wok with some sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic vinegar, and soy sauce.

Added some German White garlic, as well as some red onion from today:

And one of the summer squashes from the share today, as well.

I let this all cook up together in the wok while I broke out the soba noodles. I added chopped up radishes closer to the end of the cooking time. They’re in this picture, though I missed an in-process pic.

Buckwheat soba noodles are fabulous. I go on at length about my love for the Thug Kitchen recipe Eggplant with Soba Noodles. I’m still working through the gigantic package of noodles that I bought at my local Asian market.

This particular brand came packaged like this, and two bundles seems to be the right amount for my family of 3.

These boil up quickly – about 5 minutes. I washed the greens from the radishes and chopped them up to finish off the veggie mix.

After they started to wilt, I added the cooked soba noodles. My husband and I added hot sauce to ours after plating, since we have to accommodate a 3 year old. If you’re in a spice loving house, I’d give it a good splash during this stage.

By 6:15, dinner was making its way to the table. Healthy, delicious, locally sourced, and almost totally pulled out of thin air.

I give a lot of credit to the Eggplant and Soba Noodle recipe as well as this Pad See Ew recipe (which is a GREAT dinner choice) for my general template for how this was going to go down.

And, with that, and well fed… I’m off to tackle the rest of this week’s share.