Recommend alternatives to tomato paste in spaghetti sauce

The way I usually make my spaghetti sauce, I mix tomato paste, lots of lean ground beef, carrots, zucchinis, mushrooms, various peppers, spices and sometimes some marble cheese, cooked on low heat for 3-4 hours with vertical stirring every 15 minutes. It’s convenient to make a batch during the weekend while watching something else. It’s quite tasty and consistent enough to be a meal.

I don’t have tomatoes, tomato paste or tomato juice right now. This would be a good time to try a different substrate that allows the other ingredients to mix and have a semi-liquid consistency. I’m also not that much of a fan of tomatoes generally given that most of their taste comes from sugar which decreases the ability to taste anything other than sugar.

Yet I need something with both liquidity and some consistency for the ingredients in sauce to mix and hold together.
What else might I use instead of anything tomato-related?

I’m fine if replacing tomatoes and tomato-derivatives with something else makes spaghetti purists sneer and declare it to be unworthy of the name.

Northern Italian dishes are noted for their cream sauces. I would omit any ground beef if making a cream sauce, though. Some seafood (white fish, scallops, shrimp) would be a nice substitution, if you have any on hand.

Sounds like your homemade recipe is a Bolognese-type sauce. If you don’t want to go too far off the reservation, you could go for a more southern Italian Neapolitan sauce, and simmer equal parts tomato sauce and water with some spices and some porkchops and/or pork bones to get that meaty flavor infused.

If you’re going completely tomato-free, I’m personally fond of a simple alfredo sauce of butter and grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano, in roughly equal parts. (Alfredo Di Lelio, the inventor of the dish that bears his name, didn’t use cream in his sauce, and neither do I.) I just throw the butter and cheese into the bowl with the cooked pasta (fettucine or linguine) and toss it until it’s all mixed together, with a tablespoon or two of the pasta water if necessary to get it to mix evenly. I’d recommend shrimp sautéed in butter served on top of the plated pasta rather than any kind of red meat, and some bread and butter on the side.

Some ketchup mixed with chillie sauce my get you there. But you’ll need to add lots of Italian spices to make it work. Extra bay leaves, red wine, and oregano should do the trick!

Stroganoff. Brown your meat as usual, drain and set aside, reserve a couple tablespoons of the fat in the pan with the brown bits (fond for you foodies). Whisk in flour equal to the fat and cook for a minute or two. The longer you cook the roux, the more flavor but less thickening power it has. Whisk in the stock if your choice, add back the beef and your veggies. Cook until tender, season as desired. Herbs are nice, dill is traditional. Finish with a healthy dose of sour cream, mix in pasta of your choice. I use egg noodles, but anything will work.

You get a thicker consistency in a sauce by cooking it down from proper ingredients, not trying to mix it to serving consistency and warm it up. Most sauces that are simmered start pretty liquidy - you learn to control the starting point to get to a thoroughly cooked end point at a consistency you like.

My basic recipe for a marinara is a large can of crushed (the kind with little or no salt added, and no herbs and other stuff - add your own!) and a regular can of diced (ditto on the bare-naked tomato kind). Then I wash out the cans to add about a half of the bigger can of water. This is on top of any meat, onions, garlic, etc. that’s been sauted in the pan already. A half hour to forty-five minutes of simmering and all the flavors are finished and maximized, and you should be at a proper serving consistency.

If you start thick, you can’t simmer it properly, and you end up warmed-through instead of “cooked.”

I stopped using half-prepared tomatoes like sauce and paste years ago. Too much crap in them, and no control over how they get cooked down. Try starting with “fresher” tomatoes - they’re often cheaper, they don’t take as much trouble as starting with real tomatoes, and it’s absolutely no harder to get to that finished pan o’sauce. Really.

Another option would be a chili verde. Instead of tomatoes throw a ton of peppers in and cook them down with some masa and all of the other vegetables you mentioned. Totally different dish but it’s the perfect time of year fir it.

You could use what’s essentially a Swedish meatball recipe. Make a roux with the pan drippings (or some butter) then add some beef stock and let it simmer a while. Add the meat and vegetables back in and let them warm up. Stir in some sour cream right before you serve it.

Pesto comes to mind as something very Italian for pasta, but without any tomatoes whatsoever.

Essentially a paste of basil, pine nuts (or walnuts), Parmesan cheese, garlic and olive oil.