It’s been a long, long time since I reviewed a Dave’s Gourmet product. In fact, anyone who knows me well has heard the Insanity Sauce/Chili Cookoff story and that alone was enough to keep me at bay for a while. Of course, since then I have built up an incredible tolerance, but that’s a lasting memory. Anyway, most of you who are familiar with Dave’s Gourmet know that it isn’t all about the heat. In fact, Dave is making huge strides with his line of products with regard to healthy and organic ingredients. It’s brilliant since many people are heading that way with their diets. Quality ingredients combined with fantastic taste is what led me to this product.
Ingredients: Butternut Squash, Water, Tomato Paste, Red Bell Pepper, Evaporated Cane Juice, Butter, Celery, Onion, Garlic, Sea Salt, Citric Acid, and Black Pepper.
I always love when I see a product which I am drawn to seek out. That was the case with this sauce. Now, since I write for a spicy food blog and this isn’t spicy I gave a lot of thought about what I wanted to do. I looked around the house and found all the Dave’s products I have that could make something spicy and said, “Bring it on.”
I am a huge butternut squash fan. It’s a comfort food for me. They are harvested in the fall and they are just so wonderful served warm on a cool autumn evening. This pasta sauce utilizes the butternut squash very well and the experience of the aforementioned in a pasta sauce really thrilled me.
I admit that I’ve never thought of using butternut squash with pasta, so it was a new experience. Of course the first taste was sweet. Now, butternut squash is fundamentally sweet, but the red bell pepper, onion and cane juice added more sweetness; and you could taste those individual flavors within the sauce, which was nice. I was wondering how this sweetness was going to be with pasta. It was also smooth…blended kind of smooth. Smooth is a texture I’m not used to with pasta sauce in addition to it being a bit on the thick side, but I continued on. I didn’t want to add anything wild to the sauce since I wanted pure taste. However, I have to admit that some Dave’s Ghost Pepper sauce just seemed to sneak in there. I had to add in the heat.
I wanted to choose a meat that went well with both pasta and butternut squash and at the risk of overuse, chicken was perfect. I blackened some chicken and mixed in sautéed peppers and onions for the veggies and protein. I used blackening because I thought it would be a nice balance with the sweetness of the sauce. It was perfect! The savory flavor of the chicken and veggies were perfect with the sauce and made this pasta dish very different, but wonderful.
I have to add that if you’re a pasta sauce purist, you may find this sauce TOO different for your taste. But if you want to step outside of the tomato based pasta sauce box, definitely get this. It’s amazing.
The next time I buy this sauce, I will do something different. For my own taste, the sauce was a bit thick. I adored the flavor, but would have loved to have it a bit thinner. Most likely I would do this with stock, but it depends on the pairing. If we’re talking the same meal I described above, I would use a bit of chicken stock. However, if it were just a vegetable pairing I may add juice, wine or even tomato sauce. For those who like a lot of heat, you could simply add hot sauce and some water to thin it down.
All in all, I highly recommend this. This is the perfect pasta sauce to buy for having people dine with you who can handle varied heat levels since you can tailor the heat to your exact specifications. You know the saying, “You can always add the heat, but you can’t remove it once it’s there.” Dave’s Ghost Pepper sauce will be written about at a later date, but it was a fantastic addition both by taste and heat level with this sauce.