Thursday, March 6, 2014

Vodka Sauce with Cashew Cream

I had both of my wisdom teeth removed today. Given I am less wiser now, I fear that I may not survive the remaining two months of what is left of the school semester. Hopefully I will not be affected that much ;-)

Well, I am still up for posting a recipe today, and this one is really good. There is a finicky eater in my household who is not vegan or vegetarian, and he liked this recipe immensely. Cheers! 

Vodka Sauce with Cashew Cream. 
Vodka Sauce with Cashew Cream 

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup shredded carrots (you don't have to be exact about this amount)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil (if using fresh basil, add it at the end, once the sauce is ready)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2-3 teaspoons raw cane sugar (I like my sauce tangy, and used 2 teaspoons of raw cane sugar)
1 (28-oz can) crushed tomatoes
1/2 to 3/4 cup vodka of choice (I used 1/2 cup)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cashew Cream
1 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked in water overnight or longer (I soaked mine for 2 days)
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened plant milk of choice (I used soy milk)

* Don't forget the pasta. I used 1 (16-oz package) of whole wheat penne pasta and cooked it according to package directions. Use pasta of choice for this recipe. 
The longer the cashews are soaked, the creamier they get when blended. 
Preheat a large pot or sauce pan over a medium heat. Add olive oil and onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and carrots and continue sautéing for another 3-5 minutes. Add a splash of water to prevent from sticking to the pan, if necessary. Now add crushed tomatoes, all of the spices including sugar. Mix well. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium-low, add vodka, and cook for about 30-45 minutes.

Stir once in a while. You may have to lower the heat a bit more if the sauce bubbles too much. The longer you cook the sauce, the better the flavor, however, it taste good at the 30 minute mark as well.

While the sauce is cooking, make the cashew cream. Drain the cashews, add them to a high speed blender or food processor along with the plant milk. Blend until very smooth. The longer you blend it, the smoother and thicker it becomes. You don't want it gritty, thus blend for at least 2-3 minutes.

Prepare pasta of choice according to package directions about 10-15 minutes before the sauce is ready. 

Once the vodka sauce is ready, turn off the heat. Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce before adding the cashew cream. You can use food processor or regular blender for this task as well. Be careful about transferring the sauce to a blending tool as it will be very hot. If you don't have any blending gadgets, that's ok. There will be some chunks from the onion and carrots, but so what?

Add the cashew cream to the sauce and mix well. The sauce looks like this when blended and once the cashew cream has been added.
Taste for seasonings. You may want to add more sugar, salt, or pepper if needed. Serve over cooked pasta and enjoy. 


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