Friday, March 04, 2011

Garlic-Cream Pasta With Asparagus and Mushrooms

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").

I'm happy to say, the 'vegan' title didn't scare anyone off - the dish was licked clean. (Yes, I think literally...)

Farfalle Pasta in Garlic Cream Sauce
with Asparagus and Mushrooms

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
Soy, other plant milk, just a little, as needed - I really like the texture and creaminess of So Delicious UNSWEETENED Coconut Milk here

Other Ingredients:
1 lb. box farfalle (butterfly) pasta or other of your choice
1 bunch (1 lb +) pencil-thin asparagus
2 cups sliced button or crimini mushrooms
2 Tbsp. cornstarch whisked with 2 cups soy or other plant milk
(OPTIONAL) 1 cup buttered breadcrumbs, cracker-crumbs, crushed potato chips, or other crunchy, yummy topping


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.

If using macadamia nuts: After soaking overnight, grind in food processor until smooth, adding as much boiling water (See specifics in paragraph above) as needed to make a creamy, thick sauce.

Add all the rest of the sauce ingredients and process in food processor until smooth and creamy. This will take a while.
If it's too thick to process, add plant milk as needed. Taste and add salt or pepper as needed.

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.)
Mix sauce with pasta.

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.

When sauce is done, and mixed with pasta:
Mix vegetables into pasta and sauce.
Put pasta and veggies in a baking dish.
You can refrigerate at this point until ready to bake.

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.
Bake another 15 minutes. If breadcrumbs are not crispy-browned after 15 min. , broil for a few seconds, but watch carefully!

OH this is SO GOOD! Enjoy!!!


celyn said...

This sounds absolutely spectacular!

Mama said...

That does sound delicious. I will for sure be bookmarking this for the hubster to make after baby#3 arrives. Thanks!

Karyn said...

This pasta dish looks delicious. I am in need of some comfort food right now after having my food choices attacked and ridiculed by supposed friends of mine. (whew, thank you for letting me vent that)

This looks like just exactly what I need!

Thank you for sharing another great recipe, dear friend.

sallyomally said...

Let me tell, this recipe is OUTSTANDING! What I won't tell you is how much of the stuff I ate! I used a combination of broccoli, cauliflower and baby carrots since there was no asparagus in the house. I could not stop eating this lovely, creamy concoction; comfort food at its best. Wonderful wonderful recipe.

Gail for So Delicious Dairy Free said...

Wow! That looks sensational, and I can't wait to share it with our FB fans and twitter friends! Thank you so much for posting this delicious recipe!

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Gail, that'd be AWESOME!!! Thanks!!