Basil-Avocado Pesto Fettucine

Pasta is one of those foods that has become synonymous with vegetarian and vegan cuisine.  For restaurants, it’s often the go-to option when hungry vegetarians show up at a table.  It requires very little effort to modify, and unlike something like the standard garden salad, it’s substantial and filling.  Even at home, it’s often prepared as a hasty dinner solution when you have a big appetite but are short on time.  With the frequent spaghetti dinners of my childhood, plus years of eating boringly prepared pasta, I had developed an aversion to it.  But pasta is an art form that requires more diligence and time than we often give it.  God is in the details, so to speak.  It’s in the accompaniments, the freshness of the sauce ingredients, and the perfect texture of the pasta itself that comes from achieving precision cooking time (overcooked pasta is one of the great culinary sins).  

Cashewsforsauce

I’ve been making more pasta lately.   As I explore more complicated but potent flavour combinations, I’m happy to say I’ve recovered almost fully from my aversion.  This recipe delves into a subtle blend of spice and sour.  The sauce on its own has an understated flavour, but becomes very potent as it mixes with the sour cream and the red pepper flakes.  The slight spicy kick of the German sausage (made by Montreal based Gusta) works really well with this dish, but feel free to omit or substitute for your preferred brand.

Cashewsourcream

Ingredients:

Sour Cream
2 cups of cashews
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tsp of salt
¼ cup of water
1 tsp of red pepper flakes (optional garnish)

Sauce
1 can of 400ml of coconut milk
¼ cup of nutritional yeast
1 tsp of garlic
1 tsp of salt
2 avocados
1 cup of basil
¼ cup of water (plus salt)
1 tsp of oil

Pasta
1 package of german Gusta sausage (Optional)
375g of Fettuccine pasta
grape tomatoes (for garnish)

Directions:

  1. Prepare the sour cream.  Soak the cashew in water, for at least 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Drain the cashews.  In a food processor, blend the cashews together with the lemon juice, salt, and water.  Transfer to a bowl or Tupperware dish (you’ll need the food processor again!)and set aside in the fridge while you make the pasta and sauce.
  3. I would suggest that unless you tend to eat all the pasta at once, that you only cook as much as you need.  The sauce and sour cream recipes will give you enough of each for an entire 375g box of pasta, but pasta doesn’t keep well – it dries out fairly quickly.  For an entire box, boil about 5 cups of water in a large pot – and add a tablespoon of salt.
  4. When the water boils, add the fettuccine and cook until al dente.
  5. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.  Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. Strain the water from the pasta.  Mix the sauce with the pasta in the pot.
  7. Add the grape tomatoes and vegan sausage (optional)
  8. Top each serving of Fettucine with a generous portion of the sour cream and sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

 

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