Friday, June 6, 2014

Moroccan Pasta Sauce

If I could travel anywhere overseas, I'd go to Morocco. There is something about the exotic sights, sounds, aromas and flavours of that country that is unlike anything else in the world. Thanks to the heavy French and Arabic influences, the buildings are gorgeous and the food even more so. You can get a classic French croissant in the middle of the market, just down the street from a lavish tagine restaurant and a merchant selling mountains of spices, dates, figs and nuts. Although meat (especially chicken and lamb) is definitely a staple in the diet, there is a hefty use of legumes and vegetables too. Bread and couscous are essentially mandatory at every meal, which makes this carb-addict happy, and all this gustatory paradise is accompanied by the burble of the market, the music and the calls from the mosques.

Moroccan Pasta SauceAs an homage to all the flavours I love in Moroccan cuisine, last year I used up all the Summer's-end tomatoes and peppers and created this thick, exotic pasta sauce. The marriage of my garden's bounty and pure pomegranate juice was already beyond your standard marinara, but I took the base and really travelled to my favourite country with a medley of garlic, spices and the merest hint of floral saffron. We've used it for all sorts of things - over rice, couscous and pasta, as a bread dipper, and combined with cooked chickpeas, spinach and rice as an impromptu stew. I bet it would make a fabulous dip or topping for grilled meat or fish skewers too.  

Shared with Gluten Free Fridays

Moroccan Pasta Sauce
Makes 8 cups, 16 (1/2 cup) servings
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion
1 large green pepper
1 red Shepherd pepper (or large red bell pepper)
6 oz chopped carrots
1 lb 10 oz (about 4 ½ cups) tomatoes, cored and chopped
8 cloves garlic
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp sweet paprika
generous pinch saffron (or turmeric)
½ tsp ground cumin
1 cup low-sodium organic vegetable broth
½ cup pure pomegranate juice
1 packet stevia (or 2 tsp sugar)
3 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, peppers and carrots and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the garlic and spices and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, broth, pomegranate juice and stevia. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.
  6. Puree with an immersion blender or food processor, return to pot.
  7. If too thin for your liking, simmer, uncovered, a further 30 minutes.
  8. Otherwise, remove from the heat, stir in lemon juice and serve.
  9. You can also can this - process for 30 minutes in a waterbath. 
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 40.1
Total Fat: 1.1 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 71.6 mg
Total Carbs: 7.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 1.0 g