Cashew Cream Sauce with Mushrooms and Peas

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I wanted to start with some oldies-but-goodies from my previous blog. This one definitely takes the cake! “I don’t like rich, creamy sauces and pasta” …said no one ever. So here you go guys!

This recipe is my go-to crowd pleaser for vegans and non-vegans alike. Its super easy and delicious and a simple recipe to make for the masses. Once you have the basic idea for the cashew cream sauce, you can add anything to it. This particular time I used mushrooms and peas, but you can also use asparagus, veggie chicken, broccoli, the list is endless!

Ingredients

1 lb brown rice fusilli

1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight

2 cups water

1 tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup dried mushrooms, reconstituted and chopped (this is what I had, you can also use about 2 cups fresh mushrooms. I like to use a variety: cremini, porcini, button, oyster, etc)

1 cup frozen peas – I prefer baby peas in this dish

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg (a pinch)

salt

Fresh parsley for garnish

Cook pasta according to package directions. While the pasta water boils, put the cashews and water into a blender and blend until smooth – make sure there are no nut pieces left. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and sauté the shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until they are cooked down, about 5 minutes. Add the cashew cream and stir in the peas and nutmeg. Cook until heated through. Add salt, a little at a time, tasting as you go. I must admit, the key to this dish is the salt! (Which tells us something about dairy products – the more salt you add, the more of a “cream/cheese” flavor you get). If the sauce begins to thicken too much, just stir in a bit of pasta water (the heat from the stove can cause some of the moisture from the sauce to evaporate and the sauce can become too thick). If your pan is big enough, you can transfer the drained pasta right into the sauce. If not, put a little of the sauce in your pasta bowl, add pasta, then the rest of your sauce, and stir. Garnish with fresh parsley. I love fresh parsley with most pasta dishes. It adds a bite of freshness! Serves 4-6