Less really is more… it’s a lesson I don’t think I’ll ever fully learn. For example, I often get flustered about what to make to post here. I’ll change my mind on my way to the grocery store and then change it another few times on my way home. This is a ridiculous (& expensive) habit because I end up buying way too much so I have options on hand to suit my indecisiveness. (Although, it all does get eaten eventually).
Every now and then I come up with something out of nothing, and those almost always end up being my favorite recipes. This one came about one chili night when I didn’t feel like leaving the house. It’s largely a pantry meal, if you count the fact that sweet potatoes, shallots and garlic can be stored for quite a while. And, surprise, surprise, it’s a new favorite.
I knew cashew cream and pureed sweet potatoes would be a winning (and warming) combo, but I thought I’d take it a step further by roasting the veggies first. The slightly smoky flavor is subtle but worth the extra step. The sauce is the star here, but feel free to add in whatever additional veggies you like. You better bet this would have been packed full of green stuff had it been more convenient at the time. But I can’t complain, this was the perfect plate of creamy comfy food all on it’s own.
- 1 medium sweet potato
- 2 shallots
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup cashews, soaked (ideally) overnight, then drain
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- salt & pepper
- 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
- 1/3 cup water, to thin (more as necessary)
- 1 lb brown rice fettuccini (or any pasta you like)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup chives
- a few pinches of red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel the sweet potato and slice into quarters. Peel the shallots and slice in half. Leave the garlic in it's paper, and place the sweet potato and shallot pieces on a foil lined baking sheet. Toss it all with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast, removing the garlic after the first 15 minutes. Roast until the sweet potatoes are tender and the shallots are browning around the edges, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, cook your pasta until al dente, reserving some of the starchy pasta water.
- Drain your cashews and place them into a high speed blender with the sweet potato, shallots, (peeled) garlic, olive oil, balsamic, tomato paste, rosemary, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Puree, adding water as needed to get the blade moving. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- In a large skillet (or a bowl) toss the cooked pasta with some of the sauce. Add pasta water as needed to loosen, and add more sauce to your liking Add chopped chives, toasted pine nuts and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust seasonings and serve.
Feel free to toss in more veggies... steamed spinach, kale or roasted broccoli would be all be delicious additions.
Make ahead tip: store finished sauce in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you're ready to serve, boil pasta and toss it all together.
For the smoothest sauce, a vitamix-like high powered blender is recommended. In a pinch, I can get away with soaking my cashews only 30 minutes.