Creamy Fettucine with Squash Sauce

January 21, 2007 at 7:03 pm (B_, Pasta, Ron Pickarski, Soymilk, Starches, Vegetable dishes)


I have fond memories of this creamy vegan squash sauce from my co-op days in college. It was a regular on our menu, and always popular. It’s from the cookbook Friendly Foods by Brother Ron Pickarski.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, diced (3 cups)
  • 2 cups soy milk (I use unsweetened)
  • 2 Tbs. arrowroot or cornstarch (I used cornstarch)
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil (I used 2 Tbs.)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery, cut on th diagonal
  • 1/2 cup peeled and thinly sliced carrots, cut on the diagonal (I didn’t peel mine)
  • 1.5 cup broccoli florets (optional) (I omitted)
  • 1 cup quartered mushrooms (optional) (I used)
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 2 tsp. dried rosemary (I omitted this)
  • 1 Tbs. dried savory (I used 1.5 tsp.)
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic (I forgot this so add 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)
  • 1.5 tsp. salt (I used 3/4 tsp.)
  • 2 Tbs. chopped basil (or 2 tsp. dried basil) (I used 1.5 tsp. dried basil)
  • 6 cups cooked pasta (recommends whole wheat fettucine)

Instructions:

  1. Use a steamer basket to steam the squash until soft (about 8? minutes).
  2. Blend the steamed squash with the soymilk and the arrowroot or cornstarch until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pan (needs to hold about 4 quarts). Saute the celery, carrots, onion, and seasonings for about 5 minutes. Add the squash mixture and continue cooking, stirring constantly until the sauce has thickened. Spoon the sauce over the cooked pasta.

My Notes:

The final sauce is very creamy, a little sweet, and very rich tasting, although the whole dish is actually quite low fat. This is a great recipe when you’re craving a comfort food type of pasta, but still want something very healthy.

I tasted the butternut squash and soymilk puree and I expected it to taste kind of like a pumpkin smoothie but needing sweetener. But it didn’t taste anything like a pumpkin smoothie made with canned pumpkin puree. It was so much brighter and sweeter tasting. I could easily drink it by itself with no sweetener at all.

The large amounts of dried spices made me nervous, so I cut them back a bit, and omitted the rosemary.  Even so, this recipe has a pretty strong “dried herbs” taste.  Definitely suboptimal.  Maybe next time I’ll just use 1/2 the savory and the rest fresh herbs.

I was nervous about mixing the cornstarch directly into the hot squash mixture, so I first mixed it with a little cold water to make a paste, before adding it to the pan.

I only cooked up about 2 cups of pasta (4 ounces dry whole wheat linguine from whole foods–my favorite brand of whole wheat pasta) since that was all I had on hand. It clearly wasn’t enough. I poured it into the sauce (for a silly reason–I wanted to blend the squash in the pan I had used to boil the pasta, and didn’t want to dirty another bowl). So the pasta was just floating in a sea of squash sauce. It obviously needed more pasta, although I’m not sure all 6 cups would be necessary. Four cups might actually be plenty.

With my 4 ounces of linguine, this made about 6 cups total, so about 4 cups of sauce I’m guessing. Add another 2 cups of pasta and this would serve 6 I think–each person would get 3/4 cup of pasta (1.5 ounces), and 2/3 of a cup of sauce. Serve it with a cold bean salad and you have a complete, tasty meal. Here are the stats for 1 cup of the sauce mixture (1/4 of the recipe I think):

Amount Per Serving
Calories 176
Total Fat 8.8g
Saturated Fat 1.2g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 537mg
Carbohydrate 22.4g
Dietary Fiber 4.8g
Sugars 4.6g
Protein 5.8g
Vitamin A 270% Vitamin C 42%
Calcium 24% Iron 11%

A very common way to make a vegan cheesy sauce is to add nutritional yeast, so I was curious how that would work with the creaminess of the squash. I added some to one bowl and it was okay. I didn’t think the flavors worked well together, and so the yeast didn’t add much, but it wasn’t terrible.

Rating: B

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