‘Tis the season! Sweater weather, leaves changing, and the most amazing food. The versatility that gourds provide in recipes make Fall such a fun season for cooks. They can be sweet or savory, make an excellent side or a show stopping main event, and there are so many to try. On a recent grocery trip I discovered a pasta sauce full of Fall favorites including butternut squash and pumpkin. Unfortunately, the sauce was also packed with preservatives and other ingredients I know make me sick.
After weighing the pros and cons of just trying to sauce and dealing with the consequences and re-reading the ingredients a few times I realized the sauce really was not that complicated. I gathered the main ingredients that initially intrigued me and replaced the undesirable with some healthier options. Then it was time to experiment.
My desired sauce is gourd forward with an earthy, herby after taste. It was thick enough to hold up to any noodle but not over power them. I achieved that right off the bat but was still missing something. The addition of cayenne in this recipe finishes it perfectly. It adds a warming flavor without a true spice.
I completed my meal with orecchiette pasta, roasted butternut squash, arugula, and shaved parmesan cheese. Next time I think I will add some walnuts for crunch but for a first try this meal was stellar. I cooked the pasta until al dente and used pre-cut and cooked butternut squash from TJ’s. After draining the pasta I added it back to the pan with the squash and about half of the sauce. I stirred it all together and warmed through for about five more minutes. Finally, I added the arugula, parmesan, a bit more pepper on top and served warm.
Try the sauce with the add in’s I chose or create a meal of your own with this versatile sauce. I can’t wait to see what you make!