Valentine’s Day Pasta

Ok, I’ll admit I’m a lil’ late with this post, but just think how well prepared you’ll be for next year. I think the best way to describe this sauce is that it’s like a rosée, but with less acidity. It was perfect for our Valentine’s Day supper – especially since it hardly takes any time at all to prepare. It even takes on a pinkish hue thanks to the smoked paprika! I’d suggest something acoustically smoky to accompany the dish, something like Adele’s 21 or Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me, and see where the night takes you.

Sigh, another one of those "really, it's not much to look at but it's really delicious" dishes. I either need a new camera, or I need to start cooking during daylight hours. Why do I only get the urge to "get my chef on" once the sun goes down?

Throw the following ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth:

  • 1.5 cups soy, almond or rice milk (keep an extra 0.5 cups handy in case you want to thin out the sauce at the end)
  • generous 1/3 cup cashews (raw unsalted or roasted salted – it doesn’t really matter – just watch the saltiness if you used the salted ones)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (a little less if you’re using the powder as opposed to the flakes)
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard or 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp Earth Balance butter
  • 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp smoked paprika, depending on how paprika-ish you like it
  • 1 healthy pinch nutmeg
  • 2 to 4 oven-roasted garlic cloves (peel and throw them into a baking dish drizzled with a teeny bit of cold-pressed olive oil for about 20 minutes at about 350 degrees F or until sort of soft but not mush)
  • sea salt (smoked if you have it) and cracked black pepper, to taste

Depending on your taste, you might want to work the sauce through a fine-meshed sieve with a spatula to get it really smooth, but I think the little bits of cashew add interest and depth to the dish.

If you’re making this sauce for pasta, drain the pasta and return it to the saucepan. Pour the sauce over it, place over medium heat, and stir until it’s heated through. Feel free to add some vegan parmesan or freshly cracked black pepper when serving for some extra pizzazz, and wait for your Valentine to say: “I love y………our sauce”.

Oh, try adding oven-roasted shitake mushrooms (shown above) to the sauce right before throwing it onto the pasta – the pairing is really nice. Just toss the mushrooms with a little bit of olive oil and bake them in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Of course steamed or oven-roasted veggies are a natural side to this as well. If you want to really go nuts, try throwing the sauce on top of some fikken or into a dragon bowl and forget the pasta altogether!

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