Penne Carbonara

Penne Carbonara

I think just about everyone loves a creamy pasta dish – at least everyone in my family does! Now, how do I get a creamy, decadent pasta sauce without butter, oil, or cheese? Well, it can be done my friends. It can be done very well. In fact, so well that you won’t even miss the artery-clogging fat or dairy! This basic white sauce gets its creamy texture from soaked cashews – add in some aromatics and spices and you get a lovely, versatile white sauce. You can use this sauce as a base for macaroni and cheese or an Alfredo sauce or mix it half and half with tomato sauce…give this sauce a try and get creative!

Penne Carbonara 2

Penne Carbonara 3

Basic White Sauce

2 cups raw cashews
4 to 6 cups warm water

In a medium bowl, soak the cashews in water for 3 to 4 hours to soften. Strain, reserving the cashews and discard the liquid.

1 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp onion granules
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of white pepper
1 tsp sea salt (optional)

Heat a saute pan to medium heat. Add the onions to the dry pan and continue to stir well until the onions begin to turn translucent and stick. Try to keep the onions from browning, adding a little stock or water if needed. Add the garlic to the onions. Remove from heat. Transfer the cooked onions and garlic into a high-powered blender. Add the cashews, vegetable stock, white wine, nutritional yeast, onion granules, nutmeg, white pepper, and salt (if using). Blend on high speed until smooth. Add more liquid if you want a thinner consistency.

Basic White Sauce

Penne Carbonara

1/2 cup leeks, thoroughly washed and minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup Basic White Sauce (above)
up to1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup smoked tofu, 1/4–inch dice (optional)
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 qt water
1 tbsp sea salt
1/2 lb gluten–free penne pasta (or whole wheat if you prefer)

To begin, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the optional sea salt. Next, add the penne and cook al denté according to package directions, stirring frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking. While the penne is cooking, bring a fry pan to medium–high heat. When hot add the leeks and stir until the leeks begin to stick to the pan. Deglaze with the white wine and continue to stir well for 1 to 2 minutes. Next, add the Basic White Sauce to the sautéed leeks, stirring well. Dilute the mixture slightly with a bit of vegetable stock. Depending on the thickness of the white sauce, you may need to add a bit more stock. Add the tofu and peas and mix thoroughly. Continue to cook until the sauce begins to simmer. At this point, the pasta should be al denté. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Toss well, making sure to fully coat the pasta. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and freshly–ground black pepper. Serve immediately. (Recipe Source: Rouxbe)

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