Monday, August 31, 2009

Macaroni in a Cashew / Almond "Cheese" Sauce

Macaroni & Beet Greens

Macaroni in a cashew / almond "cheese" sauce with a side of sauteed beet greens.

I've been making a lot of cashew-based sauces lately and I think this is my favourite so far. It's a more delicate taste than your traditional heavy nutritional yeast sauces (I still like those). The reason why it doesn't look creamy is because this is a photo of the macaroni the next day after all the sauce has soaked in. The day of, it was beautifully creamy.

Anyway, here's the recipe I concocted. I'm not reinventing the wheel as there are so many cashew sauces out there and they are all pretty simple.

Notes: If you want a smooth sauce, pre-soak the nuts for a few hours, then drain.

For step two, if you have a large blender, then throw everything in. If you have a food processor though, ad the water gradually as I mentioned.

You can use just cashews if you want and you could probably cut the amount of nuts down too to a total of 1 or 1.5 cups since raw nuts aren't cheap.

Macaroni in a Cashew / Almond "Cheese" Sauce

1 lb macaroni, uncooked
yellow mustard (to coat cooked macaroni)

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and celery seed (to taste)
1 small red pepper, cooked until soft (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil (optional)
2-4 tbsps lemon juice (to taste)
4 cups water
  1. Cook your pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with enough yellow mustard to lightly coat each piece and then set aside.

  2. Put all the dry ingredients into your blender or food processor and process until it is a fine powder. For the seasonings, start with 1 tsp of everything except salt. For the salt, start with 1/2 tsp or go with 1 tsp if you like salt. 1/2 tsp probably isn't near enough but it's better to start undersalted and then adjust accordingly. You can adjust the seasonings later when it is simmering in the pot. When everything is processed, add in the optional red pepper, lemon juice and oil and process until the mixture is uniform.

  3. With the motor running, slowly pour in the water, a little at a time and process until nice and smooth. Stop if your blender or food processor is getting too full (you can always add the rest of the water in the pot). Taste and adjust seasonings.

  4. Put the entire sauce mixture in a large saucepan and heat on medium-high while whisking constantly. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Let the sauce cook until mixture is thickened

  5. Mix the macaroni into the sauce and serve as is OR put into a greased casserole dish, top with breadcrumbs and bake at 350F until bubbly (15 to 30 mins depending on how you like your baked mac & cheese).
Hope you like it! Here's a bonus pic of sweet summer corn from our CSA.

Sweet Summer Corn

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