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Friday, February 7, 2014

Pasta with Creamy Cashew Sauce

Because I'm sick of doing homework.

Blog post is late... I've been really busy... blah blah blah.  I'm not gonna lie- school is kicking my butt this semester!  I'm actually taking a break from writing a paper to write this blog right now [just kidding! I haven't started that paper yet].  I'm going to try to make this post so super awesome deliciously cool that you will forgive me for not posting it last week and also not hold it against me that I likely will not have time to write a post next week since I have a major interview weekend/social event/ grad school thing that's way exciting but will eat up the majority of my free time, not to mention that my sister's baby shower is Sunday (!) and I will be driving home for that and I'm super pumped about it even though I still haven't had a chance to make that thing I was going to make and I'm supposed to make sandwiches but I don't know if I'll have time but if I don't make anything then there won't be anything for me to eat so I'll have to come up with something and I'm sure that I will, I'm just trying to plan ahead. 

Yep, I need more social interaction.

Soooo.... Moving on.  Here's another version of my cashew sauce that I found to be pretty fantastic and super easy to make.  I need to stop making pasta so often, but let's get serious- it's quick and easy, you can change it up any way you like, and it's always a crowd pleaser!  (Even if the "crowd" is just the bf and I.)  The cashew sauce here is very similar to this one, I only changed up the seasonings and omitted the olive oil.  But it's still awesome.  A note about the seasonings: I used herbs de Provence, a blend of savory, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, and oregano for a little different flavor than what I normally go with.  I really like this combination of spices but if you don't feel like going out and buying the blend, then you could just throw in a dash of each of those things I just listed (provided you have such things on hand), OR you could just throw in any spice you prefer.  Seriously.  This cream sauce is a blank canvas.  Decorate it with your spices any way you please!

OK, so also,I totally forgot to take a picture of the food when it was done.  So after I scarfed down my first bowl, I filled another bowl with pasta and hastily snapped a pic.  It doesn't look great but you get the point.

1 1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked*
1/3 cup white cooking wine
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
3 Tbsp cornstarch
12 oz pasta of choice
2 cups diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cups chopped carrots
1 large red bell pepper, diced

*To soak the cashews:  Place cashews in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with water.  Nuke for about 2 minutes and let sit while you collect the rest of the sauce ingredients.
In a high-speed blender or food processor, toss in the cooking wine, vegetable broth, herbs de Provence, and cornstarch.  Drain the cashews and toss those in as well.  Blend on high speed 5 minutes or more, until the cashews are well pureed.  Let that hang out for a sec.
Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook pasta according to the directions on the box.
In a large saute pan or sauce pan (you're going to want the sides to be tall enough so the sauce doesn't splash out), cook the onions and garlic on medium high heat for about 2 min, adding a little water if they start to stick to the pan.  Throw in the carrots and peppers and cook for another 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the carrots just start to soften.  Pulse the sauce in the blender once or twice and then pour it into the pan with the veggies.  **The sauce is going to thicken up quickly and is prone to burning to the bottom of the pan, so make sure that you're stirring constantly.**  Turn the heat up just a smidge until the sauce is bubbling and starts to thicken.  While still stirring constantly, turn the heat back down to medium-ish and let the veggies simmer in the sauce for 5-7 minutes.
When the pasta is done, drain it and return it to its rightful pot.  Add the saucy veggies and stir to completely coat the pasta.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

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