Sunday, 18 May 2014

Guest recipe: Pasta with basil cashew cream and roasted tomatoes

I asked my mum if she wanted to contribute to this blog and I was very happy to receive an email today with photos and a delicious-sounding recipe. In my opinion roasting is hands-down the most delicious way to prepare nearly any vegetable, so I'm very excited about the roasted tomatoes in this recipe.

Pretty much everything I know about cooking I owe to my mum. When my brother and I were teenagers she had us cook dinner for the family once a week. I wasn't always keen on this responsibility, but most of the time I liked having the chance to experiment in the kitchen. By the time my brother and I moved out, we were both much more prepared to feed ourselves without starting fires than the vast majority of our peers. My mum is very much experimental and spontaneous in her approach to cooking, and as a consequence so am I. No planning ahead grocery lists or carefully following recipes for us! You can be guaranteed that the measurements in this recipe were approximated post-hoc, rather than carefully measured while cooking.

Without further ado, here is the recipe. I hope to try it out in the near future, because it sounds really good!

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I bought a large tub of cherry tomatoes on sale thinking that I would make a summer inspired tomato basil salad to celebrate the May long weekend.  Unfortunately Ottawa is still cold and damp. We were craving some warm comfort food after an afternoon of garden clean up.  Pasta fit the bill.  Roasted tomatoes fit the bill. Thus was born this recipe for pasta with basil cashew cream and roasted tomatoes.

I'm sure the recipe would work perfectly well with larger tomatoes. You could cut them in half, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 40-60 minutes.  Coarsely chop the larger roasted tomatoes before placing on top of the pasta.

Before roasting

After roasting - yummmmm...

Here's hoping for warmer weather to get into summer salads!


4-5 cups cherry tomatoes

1 onion
4 large cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil

1 c cashews

2 1/2 c water
1 bunch basil (about 30 large leaves)
3 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 cups chopped mushrooms

1 tbsp olive oil

4 cups penne or fusilli pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the cashews in 2 cups water for 1-4 hours.

Preheat oven to 375*F.  Place tomatoes on large baking sheet with a rim and toss with 1 tbsp olive oil. Toss the garlic cloves and quartered onion with 1 tbsp olive oil and place on a baking sheet. (You can use the same baking sheet, but will want to pick out the garlic and onion to use in cashew cream, so do not mix with the tomatoes.). Bake in oven for 30-40 min.

Drain the soaked cashews and place in food processor with 1/2 cup water, nutritional yeast, roasted onion, roasted garlic, juices that gathered on the roasting pan and fresh basil leaves.  Process until it is very smooth.  The mixture should have the consistency of table cream - add more water if too thick.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente.  While the pasta cooks, fry the chopped mushrooms in 1 tbsp olive oil over high heat.  Fry until the mushrooms have released their fluids and then dried - they will develop almost a caramelized look.  Once the mushrooms have finished  cooking then lower heat and toss with the roasted tomatoes.

Drain the pasta then return to the pasta pot and combine with the basil cashew cream.  Stir well to distribute the cream through out the pasta.  Place a serving of pasta on a plate and top with the mushroom-tomato mixture.


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