Tuesday, May 28, 2013

For Pizza & Pasta: "A Plant-Based Cheese-like Sauce Recipe"

A frustrating aspect of writing a cookbook is all those tests, recipes, and ideas that for a variety of reasons, don't get done or included in time for publication.  Lord knows, there's so many brunch and dessert pizza concepts, tons of other cheese-like sauces, and additional neat ideas that didn't make the cut in my cookbook. After all, I spent over 5 1/2 years research recipes for this effort, and at some time, it hadda be released!

One of the more intriguing ideas was using my 60 published cheese-like sauces for purposes other than pizza (here's a link to the Recipes Index for all recipes). I was able to use left-over sauce to great effect with pasta, in quesadillas, as a crudite dip, on baked potatoes or steamed veggies, in spreads, and more. But, only having tried this with a couple of them, I was hesitant to promote the concept much more than a tacit reference here or there in the book itself.

However, since that time, I've successfully tested several of the recipes, made fresh for purposes other than pizza, and taking advantage of left-over sauce (most keep at least 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator). I've been wanting to document this online for awhile now, and today's the day:

The "cheese-like" sauce recipe I'm publishing here is a variation of one of my favorite "non-grain-based" sauces, the infamous "Cauliflower, Millet, Carrot, and Mustard" sauce.  Clearly influenced by the classic macrobiotic "faux mashed potatoes" recipe (using millet, cauliflower, and onions), it was one of the recipes that I deliberately set out to make work when writing the book. I also love this recipe as it's a "one-pot" process by which the cauliflower, millet, and carrot, are cooked together, then blended as a cheese-like sauce/topping.  In the case of this experiment, I thought that using 1/2 cup of peeled raw finely diced sweet potato would work as well as carrot due to color, similar density, like texture.  I also used a "spicy" mustard instead of plain to add a little "kick" to it all.

First up, I made a "whole wheat & rye flour" dough for the pizza crust, and topped it with raw chopped kale, sliced tomatoes, diced shiitake mushrooms, herbs, and sliced onions.  Then I made the sauce (recipe below) and put around half of it on the pizza (sprinkling on some ground black pepper) and baking as normal.  Here's some photos of the pizza while being constructed, after backing, and playing around with the camera to get a shot of "pizza in hand" (the idea from a photo here by Somer Vedge).

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"Want Some Fresh Pizza?" Click on for Larger Image
"Day-old Slice!" Click on for Larger Image

A few days later, I decided it was time to play with the roughly 1 1/2 cup of leftover sauce.  I added some dry vermouth to a medium "wok-like" cooking pan (sorry, I didn't measure anything, this is a basic cooking process), followed by crudely sliced onions, chopped garlic, dried red chili pepper flakes (from crunching the homegrown peppers,and dicing the skins as well), a lot of chopped mixed greens from the garden, leftover sliced/chopped tomatoes, and brought this all to a steaming simmer, stirring frequently, until the kale started to wilt (covered with a pan lid when not mixing).  I then added some sliced/diced mushrooms, a little balsamic vinegar. To keep it low sodium, no soy sauce or tamari was added, additional water if needed to keep veggies from sticking.

Then, when everything almost done, I added a little liquid cautiously, and then added a bunch of pre-cooked wheat/oat high fiber spagetti pasta, again, stirring deeply and slowly until the chill was gone. I added the leftover cheese-like sauce, stirring frequently and deeply, not adding liquid until it was too thick. Soon, the sauce begins to thicken to the desired degree, you'll need to turn off the heat, and cover until served.

Here's photos of the results!
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And now, finally, the cheese like sauce recipe for your enjoyment!

Cauliflower, Millet, and Carrot* Sauce

• 1 cups cauliflower (chopped/diced, 1/2" pieces)
• 1/2 cup uncooked millet
• 1/3 cup raw carrot (diced)
• 2 cups water (as needed)
• 1 t. garlic powder
• 1 t. salt (optional)
• 2 to 2 1/2 T. corn starch
• 2 T. wet mustard of choice
• 1 t. red Tabasco sauce
• 1 cup water

1. Bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a small pot, then simmer on lowest heat setting for 25 to 30 minutes. Turn off heat, and let sit covered for 10 minutes. Uncover and let cool to room temperature. If necessary, drain.
2. Put vegetable mixture into a blender or food processor (mash a little with the back of a wooden spoon)
3. Add remaining ingredients, reserving the water to add in small increments, gradually increasing the processing seed until the mixture is a smooth and thick pancake-like batter.
4. Pour on top of prepared pizza and back at 425 to 450 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes, or as preferred.

 Depending upon the type of pizza being made, fresh or dried herbs can be added and hand mixed into the batter when smooth.
 Mix in chopped canned green chiles and sliced black olives with leftover sauce to make nachos (pour over tortilla chips, etc., and heat) or in quesadillas.
* I used 1/2 cup raw peeled diced sweet potato, instead of carrot, for this test.  Cooked in place of the carrot.
• The addition of around 1/4 cup of raw unsalted sunflower seeds will add a nice extra creaminess to this sauce.  Be sure to allow for a little extra blending time to facilitate a silkier sauce texture. 

 This recipes makes around 3 1/2 cups of sauce.

The above is ©2013 by Mark Sutton, "Heart Healthy Pizza: Over 100 Plant-Based Recipes for the Healthiest Pizza in the World." You can order autographed copies of my book here.

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