Sun-Dried Tomato Penne with a Creamy Cashew Sauce

Sun-Dried Tomato Penne with a Creamy Cashew Sauce

Pasta may not appear on my menu all that often, but because most pasta dishes are easy to put together and provide a creative template for flavors that suit one's tastes, I focused on some of my favorite flavors in this attractive penne dish. And accordingly, this one is bursting with strong and intense flavors. Tart sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil and spinach, plenty of tangy lemon juice, and some heat from some hot chilies, all nicely balanced by a creamy and all vegan cashew sauce. This dish takes very little time to prepare, and if you are liberal with your choice of garnishes, then each mouthful is a veritable taste experience of intensity that you won't soon forget. This recipe just might end up on your monthly rotation of easy favorites.

Sun-Dried Tomato Penne with a Creamy Cashew Sauce

Notes: Jarred oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes may be used instead of the dried ones that require re-hydration — simply drain the jarred tomatoes and chop. And for even more variation and intensity, add some chopped Kalamata olives as a garnish. Other pasta shapes and types such as rotini and fusilli can easily be substituted for the penne.

Sun-Dried Tomato Penne with a Creamy Cashew SauceSun-Dried Tomato Penne with a Creamy Cashew Sauce
Recipe by
Cuisine: Italian
Published on September 3, 2020

Easy, hearty and colorful vegan pasta in a creamy cashew sauce with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and basil

Preparation: 30 minutes + soaking time
Cooking time: 15 minutes

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Cashew cream:
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 2 hours or overnight in cool water, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, divided
  • 1/2 cup water or reserved sun-dried tomato liquid
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 16 oz (450 g) dried penne or other pasta
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or as needed
  • 2 teaspoons champagne or white vinegar
  • 1 to 2 red chilies, seeded and minced
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Optional garnishes:
  • vegan Parmesan cheese
  • cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • black olives, pitted and chopped
  • Begin by soaking the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 1 hour. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid, and chop.

  • To make the cashew cream, combine the cashews, 1/3 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, sun-dried tomato soaking liquid or water, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a food processor or high speed blender, and process until well-combined and smooth. Add more olive oil or a bit of water as needed. Set aside.

  • To make the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

  • Place the spinach in a large strainer, and pour the cooked pasta over the spinach. Drain well. Return the pasta and spinach to the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low.

  • Stir in the basil, remaining 2/3 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, cashew cream, olive oil, vinegar, chilies, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine and gently cook for another 5 minutes.

  • Serve hot with desired garnishes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Sun-Dried Tomato Penne with a Creamy Cashew Sauce

Other pasta dishes to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Mushroom Spaghetti Bolognese {Vegan}
Zesty Green Pea and JalapeƱo Pesto Pasta
Spinach Pesto Pasta
Penne with a Spicy Eggplant and Mushroom Tomato Sauce
Vegetarian Lasagna Soup

Audio accompaniment: Robert Fripp - Music For Quiet Moments 18 - End Of Time (Barcelona 25 Jul 2009)

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