Monday, 27 February 2012

Pumpkin-Portobello Pasta Sauce With Garlic and Thyme

I present to you another weeknight dinner for your cooking pleasure. This one is also pretty easy and very flavourful. Don't let the colour of the sauce put you off - because of the mushrooms the sauce turns out to be a kind of alien colour, but it's the taste that counts, right! The pine nuts add a much-needed crunchiness, and the mushrooms infuse an extra earthy flavour into the sauce. Makes about four serves.

  • pasta of your choice (I used bowtie)
  • about $3 worth of your choice of pumpkin
  • 3 large portobello mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • about 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme + more for garnish
  • Nuttelex
  • splash of balsamic vinegar
  • splash of dark soy sauce
  • splash of lemon juice
  • 2 drops of liquid smoke (optional)
  • pine nuts
  • a few shakes of onion powder
  • pepper
  • salt

Slice the pumpkin and wet-roast in the oven on medium until tender. Whilst the pumpkin is roasting, slice your mushrooms. Melt some Nuttelex in a fry pan and add garlic and thyme. Cook for a few minutes then add the mushroom and splash of dark soy and splash of balsamic vinegar. Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are well-cooked and no liquid remains in the pan. 

Put your water on to boil and, once boiled, throw in the pasta!

When your pumpkin is tender, cut off the rind and throw in your food processor, along with a cup of stock. Blend until smooth. Next add the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, olive oil, onion powder, one teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and blend until combined. Add more vegetable stock, whilst pulsing the food processor, to reach your desired thickness. Taste, then add more of what you need to to reach your desired flavour and consistency. I found that I kept adding salt and more salt and more salt, and it took a bit of adding of more ingredients to balance the sauce.

Once your sauce tastes awesome and the mushrooms are cooked, add the sauce to the frypan with the mushrooms. Stir gently to combine, but not too much that your sauce is too brown! Let cook on very low heat for as much time as it takes to toast a few tablespoons of pine nuts. 

Drain your pasta and stir through it some more Nuttelex, about a tablespoon's worth. Plate and pour a good amount of sauce on top. Top with pine nuts and a sprinkling of fresh thyme. Again, not the most attractively-coloured sauce, but if you're looking to make it more pretty, you could always throw the mushroom mixture on top of the pumpkin sauce, rather than stirring it through.


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