I've been doing this thing lately where I pretend that making a pasta sauce out of vegetables makes up for the fact that I am eating pasta. Leave me to my delusions, I'm not ready to face the truth. I have three such recipes for you today, and the first is this gorgeous roasted beet sauce that will make your pasta intensely fuschia. Simply roast some beets, allow to cool slightly, peel, and puree with some starchy pasta water. Toss with cooked pasta, season, and serve. I topped mine with ricotta and fresh oregano.
Next up is a broccoli sauce - what could be more healthy than broccoli? I am not really used to broccoli because my father is allergic and we never really had it growing up. My poor husband loves broccoli (shocking since he is NOT a veggie eater), so I am trying to familiarize myself.
Did you know that you should peel broccoli? I didn't. Apparently the outside part is tough and bitter. Anyway, peel and chop the broccoli, steam, and then saute with butter, onion, and garlic. Add some cream, puree, and toss with pasta and a bit of that magical pasta water. Top with a gratuitous amount of Parmesan. And before you start yelling at me - know that many vegetables need to be eaten with fat in order to allow the body to fully absorb the nutrients - FACT.
Lastly we have a roasted red pepper alfredo. I think this one might be my favorite - super creamy and cheesy with a ton of roasted pepper flavor. I topped it with grilled chicken that I marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, rosemary, and oregano.
They sell roasted peppers in jars at the grocery store, but it turns out that it is super easy (and cheaper) to do at home - just pop them in a 500 degree oven for 30 minutes, allow to cool, then remove the stem, seeds, and core. Toss the roasted peppers into a mixture of onion, garlic, half and half, herbed goat cheese, and Parmesan; puree and enjoy.
Roasted Beet Sauce
1 lb red beets
1 lb whole wheat pasta, shape of your choice
1 cup ricotta
a few sprigs of fresh oregano
Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Wrap beets in foil and roast until tender, about an hour.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente. Drain, reserving a cup or so of the pasta water.
Unwrap the beets, allow to cool (but not completely), and rub off the skin. Place in a food processor or blender and pulse, adding pasta water as needed until you like the consistency.
Toss the pasta with the sauce, reheating as necessary; season with salt and pepper to taste. Place into four individual bowls, top each with 1/4 cup ricotta and some fresh oregano.
Broccoli Cream Sauce
Deb from Smitten Kitchen says this is great for getting kids to like broccoli - I think it works for adults, too.
1 lb broccoli
1 lb whole wheat spaghetti
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
wedge of Parmesan, or 1 cup grated
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
Remove broccoli florets from stems and chop into medium florets. Peel stems with a vegetable peeler and slice them into 1/2-inch segments.
Steam the broccoli over the boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes, (or par-boil for 3 to 5 minutes) until just tender, then drain if needed and set aside.
Add pasta to the same boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water.
Wipe out the pot and place over medium heat; melt butter and olive oil together in pot. Add onion and reduce heat to medium-low, sauteing it until tender, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add steamed broccoli, salt and pepper (can use red pepper flakes if you like) and turn the heat back up to medium-high, cooking it with the onion and garlic for a few additional minutes. Pour cream over mixture and let cook for 30 seconds.
Transfer broccoli mixture to a blender or food processor and blend in short bursts until it’s finely chopped, or use an immersion blender, it will look a little dry.
Add the broccoli sauce back to the pot with the drained spaghetti and a splash or two of the reserved pasta water. Cook over medium-high for 1 to 2 minutes, tossing the mixture so that it evenly coats. Add more pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding more salt or pepper, and scoop into a serving bowl. Top with Parmesan and serve.
Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo
adapted from Lauren's Latest
2 whole red bell peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fat free half & half (I used full fat heavy cream)
4 oz garlic & herb goat cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
12 oz whole wheat linguine, cooked to al dente
salt & pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Place red peppers on foil lined baking sheet and bake 20-30 minutes until peppers are charred. Remove from oven, wrap the foil over the peppers, and let sit 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, saute onions in olive oil until tender, about 7 minutes, add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add in half & half, goat cheese, Parmesan, salt & pepper. Stir to melt cheese into sauce and keep warm over low heat.
Uncover peppers, peel off skin and remove stem and seeds. Chop into large pieces and place into sauce. Pour sauce into food processor or blender and puree, or use an immersion blender. Place back into hot pan and toss with cooked pasta. Taste and adjust seasonings.