I’m a few days early posting this one, but it was just so delicious and simple, I couldn’t wait a second longer to share it.
This pasta is rich and earthy. People will think you slaved for hours, filling it with cream and butter, when in fact you’ll spend about 30 minutes making an entirely plant-based, mouth-pleasing meal.
The sauce would also be incredible over mashed cauliflower, homemade biscuits, grilled tempeh, or, if you’re a little more informal, right off your hot little finger.
If you don’t have za’atar on hand, feel free to substitute with a squeeze of lemon or a dash of sumac.
- 1 pkg brown rice or quinoa pasta, spaghetti style
- 3 Portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and de-stemmed
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
- 2 small shallots or 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked (see note)
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon za’atar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt + more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper + more to taste
- Sage leaves, optional
- 1. Set water to boil with a pinch of salt. Roughly chop the mushrooms, and then set a sauté pan on medium heat with the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and shallots, along with a strong pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for 7-9 minutes until the mushrooms are very dark, aromatic, and releasing their juice.
- 2. Once the water is at a full boil, add the pasta and cook according to package directions.
- 3. In a high-speed blender, add cashews, water, za’atar, salt, and pepper. Blend thoroughly. The cream will be very watery. Set aside.
- 4. Once mushrooms are done, turn heat to medium-low, and add the cream sauce. Stir occasionally, cooking for 5-7 minutes (perfect to do while the pasta is cooking). The sauce will thicken significantly as it cools.
- 5. Drain pasta.
- 6. If you’d like to really make this dish pop, at the last minute, put about 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small pan and get very hot (but not smoking). Drop in a few sage leaves for 10-15 seconds. They should immediately sizzle and start to stiffen and darken. Remove from oil.
- 7. Add pasta to serving dish. Top with mushroom cream sauce. Add sage leaves.
- * Soaking the cashews isn’t required if you’re in a hurry, and the meal will be perfect either way. However, there are a number of health benefits to soaking your nuts and legumes for 7-24 hours before consumption. Not only does it decrease enzyme blockers and increase nutrient absorption, soaking nuts and legumes (beans) is said to improve their flavor.
- If you want to soak your cashews, just cover them with water, add a dash of salt, and let them sit overnight. I usually throw mine together just before bed, and then they’re ready by the time I settle in to cook the next day.