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What unusual ingredients have you used to make pasta sauce?

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I wanted something other than a tomato-based or cream-based sauce for pasta the other day, so I stood there staring into the open refrigerator. I pulled out a baked yellow sweet potato, red miso and butter. While about 2 T butter and about 1/4 C water warmed in the micro, I mashed the sweet potato well with a fork. After dissolving about 1 T red miso in the hot butter-water, I stirred in the mashed sweet potato. (Results should be creamy; if too thick, add more water.)

The result had a distinct miso flavor from my tasting spoon, but when mixed with cooked pasta and some leftover veges, the whole thing seemed to come together nicely. I'd definitely do it again.

What unusual ingredients have you used in making non-tomato-based pasta sauce?

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  1. If you're straying away from Italianish pasta sauces and into Japaneseish pasta sauces they do all kinds of crazy sauces here. In my head I tend to differentiate them from "pasta" and consider them very different from Italian pasta and their own separate entity.

    There is a lot of pork belly used here in pasta, with ponzu sauce or with soy sauce. There is sea urchin or cod roe usually in a cream based sauce though.

    1. Roasted ripe red bell peppers, skin removed and made into a puree. The puree included some defrosted extremely incendiary chiles grown in last year's garden.

      1. Since we're barreling toward summer, corn and basil pasta is wonderful when you have great corn. Leave some kernels whole and blend some kernels with some of the pasta water for a sauce.

        1. Last winter I made stuffed shells but made the sauce from butternut squash instead of tomato. I think thy were filled with cheese or cheese and spinach. I used some warm spices in the sauce like cinnamOn and nutmeg as well. It really turned out well.

          1. Peanut Dipping Sauce

            4 Tbs peanut butter
            2 Tbs vegetable oil
            4 Tbs soy sauce
            4 Tbs granulated sugar
            4 tsp distilled white vinegar
            1 tsp sesame oil
            2 tsp sriracha sauce (or other red pepper hot sauce)
            1/4 tsp ground coriander

            Mix ingredients well. Serve over plain pasta, pot stickers, steamed, rice, Asian Noodles etc.

            OR

            Peanutless "Peanut" Sauce Dressing

            1 cup mayonnaise
            1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
            1 1/2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
            3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
            2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
            1 teaspoon soy sauce

            Combine ingredients. Mix well. Tastes like a peanut sauce dressing, but has no peanut products.

            1. I don't know about unusual, but I like to make a sauce out of sauteed/pureed zucchini with basil, garlic, and pecorino.

              And let's not forget pasta dressed in just plain good olive oil.

              1. I make what I would call a *vegetable bolognese*.......it has the similar texture of a meatsauce, and consists of any or all of the following:

                Fresh Green Peas
                Eggplant
                Green Squash/Zucchini
                Yellow Squash
                Artichokes
                Carrots
                Concasse Tomatoes
                Garlic
                Onions
                Herbs

                1. I've used leftover butternut squash soup to sauce pasta, canned pumpkin, pureed cauliflower (with cheese), even pureed fennel. All worked well.

                  1. Last night I made a Corn, Gorgonzola Dolce and Chive sauce for fresh fettucinne;

                    Zipped the kernels of some very juicy fresh corn, simmered the cob in a combo of water and heavy cream until it gave up it's flavor to the pot. removed the cobs, reduced. Added in diced gorgonzola and a handful of snipped chives, let it melt into a light creamy mix, added in the fresh corn to warm. Voila! Very springy, rich, yet not heavy. YUM

                    1. I've blended braising vegetables and liquid together and tossed it with pasta. It works OK. I prefer doing the same with fried polenta or mashed potatoes since it's more like gravy than pasta sauce.