Cashews, Pasta, Mushrooms and Other Things I LOVE

When the Good Earth Market was having their going-out-of-business sale we quickly snapped up all the cashews that were available.  There is no such thing as too many cashews.  We love nuts, but cashews are the favorite in our household.  Toasted with a little spice or salt makes a yummy snack.  Heck, even raw and unsalted I find them to be tasty. 

Cashews are also a critical "secret" ingredient in awesome vegan cuisine.  With the Vitamix we can make cashews into a heavenly creamy sauce in a matter of minutes.  (It can be done with a standard blender, too, but only if the cashews are soaked 12-24 hours in advance.)  Cashew sauce is very versatile, being able to fill in for all sort of things requiring a decadent mouthfeel.  Its perfect for, say,  creamy desserts (cheesecake!), or rich, satisfying casseroles and, in this case, an amazing pasta sauce.

This was the recipe that inspired the recent non-dairy milk post.
Pasta in Creamy Cashew Sauce with Marinated Mushrooms
1/3 C tamari (or soy sauce)
1/3 C maple syrup
1/8 C apple cider vinegar
1/8 C olive oil
1 t sesame oil
Creamy Sauce:
1 C cashews
1 C non-dairy milk
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1 C silken tofu
The Rest:
1 pint mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
3 C seasonal veg of choice, chopped
1 T vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
short pasta, such as penne, fussili, or shells
parsley (optional garnish)

Combine marinade ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  
Place sliced mushrooms into the marinade for at least 20 minutes, but the longer the better.
Add mushrooms, onions, and any other veg to a skillet preheated with vegetable oil and saute until all are nearly cooked.  Vegetables such as green beans can be parboiled prior to this if a more tender texture is desired.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta as directed on the package.
When the vegetables are cooked remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the garlic to the skillet and saute until aromatic.  
Take off heat.
Puree the creamy sauce ingredients in a Vitamix or blender until very smooth.
Add the creamy sauce to the garlic oil and let set a few minutes to thicken and absorb the garlic flavor.
Stir the cooked pasta and the veg into the cream sauce until well combined.
Serve garnished with parsley 


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