Approximate nutrition information for one serving of sauce (1/8 recipe):
Foregoing red sauce forever is a fate I am not willing to accept gracefully but like many folks, if we eat tomatoes, onions, or garlic we are up during the night with wonky tummies. So, the hunt is on for a reasonable substitute and this sauce may fit the bill, even as just variety for those of you who are able to enjoy tomatoes with reckless abandon.
Butternut Squash and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce
1/2 cup Marsala wine (or other sweet or dry wine, or mild vinegar, to taste)
1/4oz Dried porchini mushrooms (rinsed to remove grit)
1/2 cup Water (heated to boiling)
2 tablespoons Olive oil (preferable one with a fruity or peppery taste)
1 heaped teaspoon Dried Oregano
1/2 teaspoon Black pepper (freshly ground)
1/2 teaspoon Salt (to taste)
Roasted Butter Squash
Allow about two hours for preparing the squash. May be done the day before and refrigerated.
Wash the butternut squash but do not peel. Poke with several holes to prevent bursting. Wrap with foil and place on a baking pan to catch leaks.
Bake for approximately one-hour in a 400F oven or until a fork poked through the foil goes into the squash easily.
Allow the squash to cool enough to handle, unwrap, and remove skin and ends and discard. Cut in 1/2 lengthwise and discard any seeds and fibrous membrane. Roughly mash the pulp and place in a large saucepan.
Roasted Red Bell Peppers
Set the oven broiler to high and and a rack in the top-most position. If using an electric oven, keep the oven door ajar to prevent the element from cycling off.
Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.
Cut the peppers in half. Remove the stems, whitish membranes, and seeds. Wash the peppers to make sure all seeds are removed.
Place the pepper halves skin side up on the foil and press with the palm of your hand to flatten somewhat. If some parts are folded under, break to unfold skin side up.
Broil the peppers on the top rack for 10 to 15 minutes or until the skins are almost completely blackened. If at 10 minutes, they have cooked unevenly, rotate the pan for any additional time.
Upon removing the tray of peppers from the oven, fold the foil in half and crimp the edges forming a bag in which the peppers will steam.
When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove and discard all the skin. It may help to rub off some of the blackened skin with a paper towel. The pepper flesh will be darkened from the charred skin.
Roughly chop the roasted bell pepper flesh and add to the saucepan with the butternut squash.
Rehydrating the Mushrooms
Place the dried mushrooms in the hot water and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.
Strain and reserve the mushrooms and their liquid, discarding any remaining grit.
Coarsely chop the mushrooms and add them and their liquid to the squash and peppers.
Assembling the Sauce
Place all ingredients, excluding salt, in a large, non-reactive sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to puree the ingredients in the sauce pan. Alternatively, cool the sauce somewhat and carefully puree in a standard blender or food processor and return to the sauce pan.
Simmer the sauce gently another 5 minutes, adding a bit of water, if necessary to prevent the sauce from boiling dry.
Taste the sauce to determine whether the flavors have melded and how much salt needs to be added. Add the salt and taste again.
When the sauce is done to taste, it may be used immediately, kept in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days, or frozen for later use.