Monday, 8 August 2011

Meatless Monday - Cheesy Tomato Vegetable Sauce for Pasta

This is a delicious vegetarian sauce that can even be suitable for vegans if you use a vegan cream cheese. Rich and delicious, it works well with any pasta, including the spinach ravioli in the photograph above. Canned passata (sieved tomatoes) means the sauce doesn’t take a long time to make, but still tastes fresh and delicious. In fact, many of the Italian cooks I have spoken tell me they prefer good canned tomatoes or passata to fresh tomatoes, both for ease, and in terms of flavour. If you prefer you can make the sauce a day or two ahead and keep it in the fridge - as with so many sauces the flavour develops with keeping. 
4 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
1 large white onion, very finely chopped
about two to three cups of chopped vegetables
(may include zucchini, red, green, yellow or orange peppers)
2 - 14 ounce cans passata (sieved tomatoes - organic if possible)
1 teaspoon oregano
¼ cup basil pesto
¼ cup cream cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Place the vegetables in a roasting dish and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Roast at 375 to 400℉ (180 - 200℃) for twenty to thirty minutes, stirring once.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Saut√© the onion gently for five to ten minutes until it becomes tender and translucent. 
Add the passata and oregano and simmer the sauce over low heat until the roast vegetables are done. Transfer the hot vegetables into the sauce and add the pesto. Stir the cream cheese into the sauce, making sure it all melts in. Simmer over low heat for about five more minutes.
Taste the sauce adding salt and pepper if necessary. Serve over pasta.
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