Special Tomato-based Pasta Sauce with Mamey Sapote

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The mamey sapote (Pouteria sapota) is a popular tropical garden fruit in Central American and the Caribbean.  It’s not so well known in other parts of the world (where in some places it is known as the red mamey) but it is increasing in popularity in many other tropical countries because of its unique peachy-apricot flavor. But where I like to use it most is in my home-made tomato-based pasta sauce that all my friends rave about.

This is a flavorsome, fresh pasta sauce which goes well with all types of pasta. The mamey sapote adds a sweet intense back-note to the flavor, similar to tomato paste. In fact, if mamey sapote is not available, you can substitute a good quality tomato paste, but that sweet back-note won’t be there.

The paste is gluten-free and dairy-free but thanks to the pumpkin seed meal and olive oil has a creamy texture.  It can also be used as a salsa or dip, or added to tacos, tortillas or salad rolls. If you want to deepen the red color of the sauce, add a teaspoon of annatto or achiote powder.

Mamey sapote pulp freezes well, so if you have a very ripe fruit, consider freezing it in small batches. You can also use it as a tomato paste substitute in other recipes. 

Ingredients

2 medium tomatoes, briefly blanched, peeled and finely diced

1/4 cup very ripe mamey sapote pulp

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, ground finely

1/4 cup olive oil

1 and 1/2 teaspoons celery seed salt

1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary (about 2 tips)

1/4 cup finely sliced sweet basil (about 3 sprigs)

12 garlic chive leaves, finely chopped (substitute with onion chives if needed)

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)

Method

Mix all ingredients together, cover, and leave to stand at room temperature for an hour or so for flavors to develop prior to serving.  Makes about three cups of sauce, enough for 2 – 3 people when used as a pasta sauce.

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