It's a repeat, but I'm posting the recipe again because I'm making it for a family birthday dinner tomorrow. It's a favorite of mine, mainly because (if I do say so myself,) it's totally awesome, fairly easy, my kids ask for it over and over, and I've served it to vegan-skeptics many times; ALWAYS a raving success.
Last time, the hostess kept saying "Would anyone like the VEGAN dish?" (in a very nice way, but as if she really couldn't bring herself to call it "Pasta with rich-decadent-CREAMY Sauce").
1/2 cup raw cashews or macadamia nuts (not roasted - if using macadamia nuts, soak overnight!)
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice (I don't measure, just a good squeeze)
1 cup boiling water
2 cloves garlic (or more to taste)
2 Tbsp. extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Tofutti 'Better-Than-Cream-Cheese'
1 tsp umeboshi plum vinegar (or rice wine vinegar will be OK)
2 Tb. nutritional yeast (optional)
salt to taste
If using cashews: Pulverize raw cashews in the food processor until very fine powder. Add 1 cup boiling water. (*The BEST way to do this, is to make the sauce while the pasta cooks - scoop out 1 cup of lightly salted pasta-cooking water and use it - the starch from the pasta-cooking water thickens the sauce PERFECTLY!) Add water to cashews and process until smooth... this will take several minutes.
Add all the rest of the sauce ingredients and process in food processor until smooth and creamy. This will take a while.
Cook enough pasta to go with the sauce. (Different people prefer "less" or "more" sauce depending on their tastes and how creamy they like their casseroles.)
WHILE PASTA COOKS:
Rinse asparagus cut the tender parts (not the tough stem ends) into 1 inch pieces.
Stir fry asparagus and mushrooms in a bit of olive oil until tender but not overly soft.
Mix vegetables into pasta and sauce.
When you're ready to bake the pasta:
Mix 2 Tbsp. cornstarch with 2 cups plant milk, mixing well with a wire whisk.
Pour over pasta until liquid comes 3/4 up side of dish.
Top with 1 cup buttered breadcrumbs, cracker-crumbs, or other topping, if desired.
Cover with foil and bake for 40 min. at 350. Remove foil. If it looks like it's drying out, add more milk.
OH this is SO GOOD! Enjoy!!!