The Savory Side of My Pumpkin

(continued from previous pumpkin post - alliteration totally intentional)

So, after making all sorts of baked goods with that pumpkin, I still had a bunch of pumpkin left! [Note to self: buy smaller pumpkin next time...]

Feeling that I'd done a pretty good job of venturing into the world of baked goods pumpkin-style, I thought I'd peruse the internet for pumpkin meal recipes (low fat, healthy, non-spicy recipes of course - making the internet recipe search quite an adventure as always). I found this lovely recipe for pumpkin-sage pasta sauce.

The little voice in my head instantly started screaming:
Pumpkin pasta sauce? Wow - you mean, I could actually eat pasta with sauce again? No way! I gotta try this!

Unfortunately, the recipe wasn't quite something I could eat, so I wrote down the main parts of the recipe and the amounts, and then made some notes about how to manipulate the ingredients so that I could eat it. And I thought I'd try adding some apple puree to it... because, hey, pumpkin and apple taste good together, right?

[You may get the sudden impression that there's a little sarcasm behind my words...and that perhaps this idea went a little awry? If that was your sense, you were right! Gold star.]

Here are the ingredients from my first attempt at "amazing pumpkin pasta sauce":

1 cup veggie broth
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 apples - pureed
1/2 cup soy milk (plain)
1 1/4 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried onion flakes
1/2 tsp garlic granules
salt to taste

I tried making it on a Thursday evening. All I can really say about this endeavor: EPIC FAIL. I cooked it all together - the sauce was rather thick, so I added a bit of water, a few more drops of veggie broth, a little olive oil (something that was in the original recipe). The flavor was all off - so I tried adding a bit more onion flakes, some more of the garlic granules, some more pumpkin. But no, it really didn't work at all. It was horrible! It had turned this sickening green color... I realized that the real problem was that I'd put too much apple in it, which overpowered the subtler flavor of pumpkin, and for every one's future reference: apple + sage = ew. And once there was too much apple, trying to cover it with more of the other flavors was a recipe for only one thing: DISASTER.

Right. Dumped that out. Ate something else that night. Ew.

I waited 'til the weekend to try again - needed a few days to nurse the wound of creating something that hideous on my beautiful stove.

This time, I decided to follow the recipe a little closer - and under no circumstances would I be adding any apple to it this time.

The updated recipe ingredient list:

1/2 cup veggie broth
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup plain soy milk
1 1/4 tsp dried sage
1 tsp onion flakes
1 tsp garlic granules
salt to taste

This time, it worked. Tasted pretty nice on the stove. So I cooked up some pasta, and poured some sauce atop the pasta with some meatballs I'd also made that day (see future post for meatball recipe). And it tasted... bad. [What? This is supposed to be pasta sauce!!!]

The problem this time: the meatballs were herbed up with some oregano and basil - and totally powered out the sage and pumpkin. *sigh*

And now we come to the second part of this adventure: what this sauce actually tastes good with?

Obviously the meatballs were a no-go. So the next night I tried the sauce on just pasta - whole wheat rotini. Yeah, no. This time, it was missing something!

I also tried it over my grain mixture (Grandma's Grains). And that ended up working as a really nice chip dip. But chip dip is not a meal.

My next thought was to pair the sauce with a very simple baked white-meat fish. So, I bought some tilapia fillets, and broke out the Joy of Cooking - the real hero of this story. I found a very simple way of baking the fish, and then topped it with my warmed up pumpkin-sage sauce. SUCCESS!!! It was so delicious, I made it two nights in a row. And my stomach loved me for it!

And so, to wrap up, I offer the recipe for this pumpkin-sage sauce, and the uses I found worthwhile. The bottom-line: it's a subtle blend of flavor, so it must be paired with things that will enhance but not over-power it.

Pumpkin Sage Sauce

1/2 cup veggie broth
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup plain soy milk
1 1/4 tsp dried sage
1 tsp onion flakes
1 tsp garlic granules
salt to taste

1. In a medium-sized pan, simmer first 6 ingredients (all but the salt) over low heat until well-combined. (About 8-10 minutes, perhaps 12 - depends on your stove. Taste it, you'll know when it's "well-combined.")
2. Add salt to taste.

My favorite ways to use this:

Chip Dip
Mix about 3/4 cup grains with a little more than 3/4 cup sauce (I didn't measure these exactly). Basically, add sauce to the grains until the consistency is similar guacamole. Microwave until warm (1.5-2 minutes?). Dip baked tortilla chips in it for a nice low-fat snack or appetizer.

As Sauce over Baked Fish
To bake fish (single-serving):

1 fish fillet - white fish like tilapia, cod, halibut, about 1-inch thick or less
1/2 tsp of olive oil
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

1. Grease bottom of glass baking dish with butter (I use non-dairy butter).
2. Rinse fillet and pat dry. Place in baking dish.
3. Brush top of fillet with olive oil. Sprinkle salt to taste on top. (I realize that "salt to taste" on raw fish doesn't really make sense. I used a salt shaker and sprinkled lightly back and forth twice over the fillet.)
4. Bake 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness, until fish fillet is opaque in the center. (Check Joy of Cooking for doneness factor of different types of fish. This time span and check for doneness comes straight from my copy for white fish fillets.)

Place fish on plate, and spoon warmed up pumpkin-sage sauce over top of fillets. I paired this with a serving of grains sprinkled with raw sugar, and a serving of steamed green beans with a few drops of my "fake" butter.


[PS - For the actual pasta sauce recipe, go here. Maybe you'll have better luck with is as an actual pasta sauce?]

1 comment:

  1. If you can eat potatoes... I bet this would be good over gnocchi too. Also, I bet that it would be good over butternut squash ravioli (not sure if there's cheese in there or not) or mushroom ravioli. :)