The Sauce IS Boss.
Some of you know this, but I live with two boys. Yep, not one, but two – this being the case for basically the last year and a half. My husband [obviously] and my brother-in-law, Andrew. You may also know that boys – or men, rather, tend to have different “dietary” preferences and demands than women. I love vegetables. Love them. I don’t need to sauce them up, I love them “as is” – cooked or raw. My “boys” however, are a different story. A good meal means a good sauce. The sauce — is BOSS in my house. Can you relate?
One other thing you may or may not know – most sauces aren’t healthy or nutrient-dense [two guidelines for most food choices in my household]. Whether store-bought or borrowed from a blog, they are generally loaded with salt + sugar, and generally make no designation between high-quality, good-for-you fats and over-processed, nutrient-void ones. Marinara, BBQ, ketchup, Alfredo — you know the list.
In the summer, we don’t crave “heavy”, warm foods. The temperature is warmer, so our body desires light and cooling foods – like salads and smoothies. Come fall and winter though, our cravings for comfort and warm foods awaken. So, in the summer, creating dishes loaded with vegetables and fresh salads isn’t met with “too much” challenge from “my boys”. However, with the change of season, returns the desire for…sauces. So, what’s a girl to do? Create BOSS sauces, of course.
Below is my collection of what I’ve been working on. Each recipe blends seasonal foods and “traditional” recipes with my cleaned up, “health-ified” twist. I hope they’re as big of a hit in your home as they were in mine. Accompanied by the quote coined by my brother-in-law regarding every meal I cook — “Wow, this is actually really good.”
Acorn Squash Alfredo:
– Disclaimer: We eat high-quality dairy products and use them as a great source of good fat and protein in our diet. High-quality meaning it is #1: pastured (very different than pasteurized; meaning the cow was raised on grass in an open field) and #2: raw (which would be unpasteurized). Pasteurization (heating) actually destroys the enzymes present in raw milk: lactase – which digests and absorbs milk sugar lactose, lipase – absorbs & digests milk fats and phosphatase – used to absorb calcium (which allows allows lactose digestion).
2 cups each: raw milk and vegetable broth (or homemade stock)
1/2 cup raw whipping cream
1 cup raw sharp cheddar cheese
Juice + zest from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. each of nutmeg, salt & pepper
2 Tbls. raw butter
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 acorn squash, seeds & “guts” removed [could also use butternut]
- In a large glass bowl, add 1″ of water. Place the half of acorn squash face down, then cover with saran wrap. Microwave to steam for 10 minutes.
- In a large sauce pan on medium heat, add butter and garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes [careful not to burn]. Have milk & veg broth handy and add to pan when garlic’s done. Add lemon juice, zest and seasonings at this time also.
- Whisk sauce constantly for 4-5 minutes, until it starts to boil. Add cream and continue to whisk until it returns to a boil, then stir in cheese and mix until “dissolved”. Remove from heat.
- When done steaming, scoop squash meat out of shell into blender, then add sauce. Blend to puree all sauce ingredients together.
*I served this once over spaghetti squash for myself, brown rice pasta or fresh linguine for Regan. Flavor suggestion: Regan thinks that if you cook a “flavorful meat” like organic sausage that the sauce is fine “as is” – if you cook it with a milder meat, say organic, free-range chicken, he likes to add a little “heat” – cayenne pepper. I also served this over farro and kale [I cooked the farro, then in a separate pan, cooked organic sausage with kale added in the last 2 minutes].
Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo
*Inspired by Kris Carr’s Pumpkin Risotto Recipe
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight in 1 cup water
1 (15 oz. can) organic coconut milk [more if desired to make “thinner”}
1 cup organic coconut or regular water
1/3 sugar pumpkin, seeds & “guts” removed [stem cut off]
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. each: sage and thyme
1 tsp. each cinnamon and chili powder
Salt + pepper to taste
- In a large glass bowl, add 1″ of water. Place the half of pumpkin face down, then cover with saran wrap. Microwave to steam for 10 minutes. If desired, you can steam the whole pumpkin and use for other recipes like a pumpkin soup or smoothie through the week [I did this!].
- Once pumpkin is cooked, scoop the meat out of shell into a large food processor.
- Add all remaining ingredients and blend until desired consistency.
* This, I served on raw zucchini noodles with grilled game sausage over top [a mix of elk, venison & antelope].
Master Marinara Sauce
I got this recipe from a fellow instructor and friend’s husband, Mark Caggiano. I followed his recipe to a “T” the first time and the boys swooned over it. The second time, I add a few extra ingredients to make it more of a “vodka” sauce and they loved that one too! So this is really a 2-for-1 recipe deal!
1 can San Marzano Tomatoes [Mark tells me these make all the difference; and I now agree!]
1/4 cup extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or chopped fine
1 Tbls. each of oregano & basil
1 tsp. each of: thyme & red pepper flakes
Salt + pepper to taste
- Cook garlic in olive oil 1-2 minutes [careful not to burn]. Have tomato can open & ready to go.
- Poor tomato can over garlic and reduce heat to medium low.
- Add remaining ingredients, then cover and cook 20-40 minutes [I did 30-40].
- Blend sauce in blender.
*The second time I made it, I added 1 Tbls. red wine vinegar and 1/2 cup raw whipping cream.