In case you've been wondering where I flitted off to recently, my nearly two-week hiatus was due to the start of my new and, I have to admit, amazing job. I guess I should begin referring to it as a career as the word "job" doesn't pay homage to the immense amount of fulfillment I get from it. It feels beyond awesome to be officially working in the role I had first aspired to be in so many years ago. While the long summer days of leisurely blogging, recipe concocting, and catching up with old friends have passed, the r&r they afforded me has left me full of inspiration and motivation as I graciously welcome the start of a new school year.
You might also be curious as to why the title of this post includes the word "vegan"....
No, no. You've guessed wrong -- or maybe I just tricked you -- I have not converted to veganism in my weeks without you. I'm still as vegetarian as ever but, trust me, this vegan dish is worth your time regardless of where you seek shelter on the food pyramid. There is something to love for everyone; simplicity, flavor, heartiness, quantity, etc. It's likely that this pasta can provide you with whichever comfort you are seeking in food at this moment.
The creamy richness of this sauce comes from the addition of raw cashews, which are commonly praised for being the ultimate dairy substitute in vegan fare. Being the biggest cashew lover I know, Dan watched (mouth watering) as I dumped a cup of the comma-shaped nuts into our food processor. Enjoying the finished product just 15 minutes later, he asked (sounding slightly disappointed) where the cashews had gone and was pleasantly surprised to find out they were the stars of the super creamy sauce. I'm now convinced that cashews were invented solely for the purpose of taking vegan food from good to awesome.
Creamy Vegan Bucatini (Serves 4)
Modified from Vegan Yum Yum
◊ 2 large tomatoes
◊ 1 cup raw cashews
◊ 2 tbsp tomato paste
◊ ¼ cup water
◊ 2 tbsp olive oil
◊ 4 garlic cloves, minced
◊ 1 tsp crushed red pepper
◊ 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
◊ ¼ cup dry white wine
◊ 1 large handful fresh basil, chopped
◊ 16 oz. bucatini pasta
1. Cook pasta according to package instructions, set aside, and reserve 1 cup pasta water.
2. Core and chop the tomatoes. Toss into food processor along with cashews, tomato paste, and water. Process until smooth.
3. Add olive oil to a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant and golden. Pour sauce from processor into pan and bring to a simmer. Add red pepper, Italian seasoning, wine, and salt and let cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. If desired, add pasta water to the sauce to thin it out to desired consistency.
5. Add pasta and basil to sauce pan and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately and garnish with additional basil leaves if desired.