This is a great recipe for potlucks, as it travels well and can be cooked in advance. It is creamy, savory, and great dish to present to your omnivore friends and family to show them how tasty vegan food can be. Plus, could there be a more harmonious flavor combination than tomato and basil?
Substitution options: If you don’t like mushrooms, you can omit and add cannellini beans for extra protein. If you tolerate soy, try adding sauteed tempeh. This recipe is also good as, without any of these additions. Just omit the deglazing step.
1 (16 oz) package gluten free shell pasta
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
8 oz Cremini mushrooms, (quartered with stems removed)
2 TB cooking sherry (or vegetable broth)
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 2 hours or more)
3 TB tomato paste
1 (16 oz) can diced tomatoes
3 TB nutritional yeast (optional)
1 ½ tsp dried basil
1 cup vegetable broth, divided
1 TB fresh lemon juice
1 TB fresh italian parsley, chopped finely (optional)
fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1. Prepare gluten free pasta according to the directions on the package, Rinse, drain, and set aside.
2. Using a 10”, heavy bottomed 3 quart covered sauce pan (or any large, covered sauce pan you have), saute yellow onion on medium heat with one tsp extra virgin olive oil, cover and stir occasionally for 5 minutes, until translucent. If you are using ceramic non-stick cookware, cook for up to 8 minutes to further develop the flavor of the onion. Uncover and saute garlic for another 1-2 minutes, lowering heat to medium-low.
3. Remove onions and garlic and add to blender or food processor. Add cashews, diced tomatoes (water drained), nutritional yeast, and ¼ cup vegetable broth. Blend for about 5 minutes on high, scraping down the sides with a spatula intermittently until cashews are completely smooth and blended in with all of the ingredients. Set aside.
4. Using the same saute pan you used to cook the onions and garlic, add another tsp of olive oil and pre-heat pan on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add quartered mushrooms, and season with a little bit of fine sea salt. Cover and saute for about 5 minutes, making sure to stir the mushrooms. The mushrooms will start to decrease in size and release liquid; at this point, add 2 TB cooking sherry to deglaze the pan, and cook for another 2 minutes until the alcohol cooks off.
5. Add the cashew-tomato cream sauce directly to the pan with the mushrooms. Pour the rest of the vegetable broth into the sauce, and reduce heat to low-simmer. Stir and reduce the sauce for 5 more minutes, adding basil, and fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Stir in cooked shell pasta until the sauce covers all of the pasta and add 1 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice. Add TB fresh italian parsley as a garnish right before serving.