Alfredo Sauce

Being gluten free, dairy free, and vegetarian tends to make it difficult to eat when going on vacation. When we headed off to Florida at the end of May, we stayed in a condo, so I could cook if necessary. One of the dishes I went prepared to make was this cashew based pasta sauce, because it’s fast, easy to make, and requires little in the way of fancy kitchen equipment. I took a few supplies which could have been tricky to get hold of (including nutritional yeast), and was delighted to find that the condo was equipped with a cheap blender which had probably only previously been used for making margaritas …. except that it didn’t work, and it took housekeeping nearly an hour to get a replacement, so the cashews got to soak for quite a while before I blended them. You won’t need to wait for so long, but if you have the time to soak the cashews, it certainly wouldn’t hurt!

This recipe is an adaptation of one from Miyoko Schinner’s Artisan Vegan Cheese. The recipes in this book look gorgeous, but I’ve only managed to execute one of them so far, as most of the others require an ingredient called rejuvelac, which I’ve attempted to make 4 times, but not been confident enough about the outcome to use. I’m not giving up, though; I’m just starting.

Anyway, the adaptations I made to this recipe were because a) I don’t have a high speed blender, so I have to be more careful about how I tackle blending sauces, and b) as a relative newcomer to nutritional yeast, I tend to need to moderate recipes developed for/by seasoned vegans. Nutritional yeast is an acquired taste. It’s quite delightfully addictive after a while, but I haven’t yet got to the stage where I want to use 1 tbsp per serving in a recipe. I fed this alfredo sauce to some of our omnivorous friends yesterday, and they liked it too.

Be sure to use fresh garlic. If your garlic is starting to stink, it will be really obvious here.

As a last aside: make sure that you like the wine you use for this. If you wouldn’t drink it for pleasure (or at least find it acceptable), then you probably won’t eat it for pleasure either! I know this from experience!

Cashew Alfredo

Pasta with alfredo sauce, served with Lima Bean Salad

Alfredo Sauce

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/2 cup dry or medium dry white wine (or water plus 1/4 tsp salt)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
4 cloves fresh garlic
1 tsp salt
shake of black pepper

Put all the ingredients in a blender with 1 cup of water.

Optionally, allow to soak for 1/2 an hour before continuing.

Blend until the mixture starts to thicken. Keep blending, and gradually add another 2 cups of water as the mixture continues to thicken, adjusting to keep it thick, but not so thick that the blender can’t do its job. Continue until all the water has been added, and the sauce is smooth.

Scrape the sauce into a saucepan, and gradually bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until thick and creamy. Check seasoning.

This sauce is sufficient for about 1 lb of dry GF pasta, cooked, and serves 4-6.

Variation: Thickly slice 1lb of mushrooms, and fry in 2 tsps oil or margarine, sprinkled with 1/4 tsp salt until brown. Either stir into the sauce before serving, or pile on top.

I’ve also enjoyed pasta with alfredo sauce on a bed of lightly steamed (~ 2 minutes and then well drained) chard. About 1 – 1 1/2lbs of fresh chard would work for this amount of sauce and pasta.

alfredo sauce

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