I am in love with quick and easy meals. Busy families need access to healthy food that doesn’t take hours to prepare. This recipe falls into the quick and easy category. To make it even faster you can always use a jar of your favourite pasta sauce instead of making your own. The addition of the cashew cream adds a little sweetness and creaminess to the sauce and also a bit of texture. We have started our own little herb garden in our kitchen window. If you aren’t growing your own herbs, basil can be purchased at your local grocery store in the fresh produce department. I love the smell of fresh basil and the pop of flavour that it adds to a pasta dish. The topping on the pasta is a sautéed kale. I chose to sauté it in a flavoured red pepper chili oil. This added a bite of heat to the kale. Mary Mattern, the original inspiration for this recipe, suggests trying Swiss chard, collard greens or kohlrabi in place of kale if you want to try something different. Not only is this meal delicious, it presents beautifully with the contrast of texture and the bright green on top of the pasta nest. Hope you love it as much as we did!
With thanks to Mary Mattern of the cookbook Nom Yourself
Makes three cups of sauce
2 Tbsp coconut oil
4 shallots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28oz) can chopped tomatoes*
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp organic granulated sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Kosher salt**
1 cup raw cashews, soaked and drained***
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 package spaghetti, cooked and drained
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 cup kale, lightly sautéed
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp nutritional yeast****
- Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the shallots and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, pepper, and kosher salt.
- Simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.
- In a blender, add soaked cashews and water and blend until the cashews are smooth.
- Add the cashew cream to the pot of tomato sauce.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked spaghetti and half the sauce. Toss until the pasta is well coated.
- Add the basil. Then plate it by using a ladle and large fork (I used a meat fork). Twirl a heaping amount of spaghetti around the fork. Place the spaghetti and the fork inside the ladle and continue to twirl. Once the spaghetti had formed a nice “Nest”, transfer the pasta to a plate.
- Place the spaghetti on the plate and pull the fork up carefully (you may need two hands for this).
- Pull the spaghetti from the center, making a nest-like shape. Add extra sauce to the center of each nest.
- Place the sautéed kale on top of the extra sauce and sprinkle with red pepper flajes and nutritional yeast.
*I used six Roma tomatoes and a handful of heirloom cherry tomatoes. I prefer to avoid canned tomatoes when possible or to buy cans that are labelled BPA free.
**I used coarse sea salt.
***Cover the cashews in boiling water and let soak for at least 30 minutes. This softens them up so you can purée them.
****If you are not eating dairy this is your cheese topping option. If you do eat dairy then you can use freshly grated Parmesan.