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Grammy Virmin's Carrot Sauce-capade.

An impish little vixen in an orange dress. Very orange. Like, "Maritime Rescue Equipment" orange.


Grammy Virmin's Carrot Sauce-capade.

by ValenceMagi

As you all already know, tomatoes are native to the Americas. Meaning that for the overwhelming bulk of their existence, Europeans and everyone else had to make due with what they had. This explains most wars, and Norway. This also means that Italian food only ever included tomatoes for the last few hundred years; next time Nonna Rosalia starts talking about her 'secret family recipe' for tomato sauce, you tell her she's a goddamned liar right to her face. It's fine, I got your back.

So what Europe did have was carrots. Which is a good thing, because if you give someone a few thousand carrots and enough time, they're going to find a way to make it delicious. In this case, they came up with baby food. But for grown ups.

Here's what you will need:

3lb of carrots

1/4c olive oil

1c chopped yellow onion

1/4c minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red peppers

1 tablespoon fresh oregano

1 tablespoon fresh sweet basil

1/2c dry red wine

2lb spicy sausage (optional)

Awww yis. Note the block of fresh Parmesan. It's not required, unless you don't hate yourself. Ignore that I have basil there twice. If you mention it to me, I'll deny everything.

This recipe does call for sausage, but if that's not your thing I suspect you could replace that with a pound or so of chopped mushrooms and no one will be the wiser. If you're going to go with the sausage, I would suggest a leaner build would be ideal.

All total, this cost me about $25 to buy everything I needed, including $5 for the meat. In terms of actually used ingredients, It's probably closer to $10-15. If you are in the habit of having wine and olive oil in the house anyways, you're golden.

ALSO: I will mention that carrots both can and will stain plastic if you give them the chance. If you have any plastic utensils or bowls that you care about, maybe don't use them. If you soak the plastic in hot water with a good de-greaser immediately after use, you should be fine. But heads up.

Take the carrots, skin them and cut them into smaller pieces (say 2" long) and dump them into a large pot. Fill with water until the carrots are just covered, and place it on the heat to a rolling simmer. If you noticed above, I like to cheat and use baby carrots. They're all ready to go, and "baby carrots" are just normal carrots the farm thought were too ugly for you to buy, so they chop them and shape them. You get yummy food, save time, and validate an apiaceae. I don't know about yall, but that's a win in my book.

You're going to want to simmer those until they get nice and soft. It's going to take a good while for that to come up to temp and cook, so now's a good time to deal with the rest of your prep.

Take your onion and your garlic, and chop them up. One good sized yellow onion should be about a cup once it's chopped up, and I found a whole clove of garlic is the right size. Be sure to get a "yellow onion" onion, not a white or vidalia (vidalias are also yellow in color, so check the label). It won't ruin the sauce if you use something else, but it will change the flavor.

Heat up a reasonably sized pan to medium-low, add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and red pepper, and saute the mixture until the onions go clear and soft. You don't want anything to start to really brown here, so play it a bit conservative with the heat. Add salt and pepper to the veggies if you so desire.

IF you are going to use mushrooms, this is also the point where you will want to chop them up and add them to the saute.

The dark bits are the pepper: I would never lie to you about not browning things!

When you can poke a fork through one of the carrot pieces without any meaningful resistance, they're done. Remove the carrots from the water, but save some of the carrot water. You won't need it all, but if things turn out a bit dry, you can add a few splashes of it to the sauce.

Now, you need to puree the cooked carrots. This is easiest done with a stick blender or a food processor, but if you don't have those you can use any mashing contraption you can dream up. If you're not imaginative, you can just mush them by hand. You might wanna wait a while for them to cool off first, though.

I mentioned baby food before, and this would be why. That is about the consistency you're looking for here.

IF you're going the sausage route, now would be a good time to get those cooking. I boiled mine, in the hopes that it would help prevent any toughness in the skin, and it makes it easier to set and forget. Get them good and fully cooked, then take them out to cool off some before you slice them up.

I found them easier to slice at an angle, rather then trying to slice straight down.

With your carrots purees and your veggies cooked down, pour the carrot into a large sauce pan, and bring up to a low simmer. It shouldn't take too long; depending on your timing the carrots are probably still warm, but still occasionally to keep the temperatures even.

Once the carrot puree is warmed, add the sauteed vegetable mixture, along with oregano, basil, and red wine. Stir it together well. Let the mixture simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, and add the sausage slices. Salt and season to taste. This is also the point where you can add more carrot water to the sauce if you find things are drying out, though that shouldn't be the case.

And there it is. This makes 5-6 servings worth of sauce, and goes on pretty much any thing you want. I recommend a pasta that holds well, like a medium shell or farfalle.
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