Thursday, October 23, 2008

PastaPigs, or: Lolo's cashew cream pasta

I recently read ZuckerBaby’s fabulous blog in which she said that her fallback meal position was pasta-and-(ingredient). I am also of the pasta-is-my-friend/mother/secret-lover cooking variety, but unlike ZB I am rarely bold enough to venture outside the Holy Pasta Trinity of tomato-onion-garlic with bits of other things, usually eggplant or zucchini, thrown in. With that in mind, I have every intention of making her lemon sauce penne very very soon … I must be brave! (Although lately I have become totally enamoured of tinned cherry tomatoes … I feel like I’m having an affair with something new, young and saucy.)

But recently I did get very excited by a new recipe by Lolo at – cashew cream tomato sauce. Buzz and I gave it a whirl with mixed results but many plans to try, try again. The recipe itself was fantastic, I should add – it was mostly our own inexperience that led us astray.

Our first problem sprang up when I decide to use El Crappo the Food Processor (see previous posts on the deranged activities of my food processor and its massive, uncleanable bowl) to make up the cashew cream sauce. Naturally, the bowl was far too big and so it took much much too long for me to properly mash up the cashews, which meant that the timing of pasta-to-sauce-preparation was all shot.

The sauce did taste great raw though – the recipe calls for one large, cored and roughly chopped tomato, and the fresh taste really came through the cashews in a way that tinned tomatoes never can (excuse poor tinning/canning punning).

We put the sauce in Magic Pan to sauté up, and added a little extra olive oil to soften it. We added the cooked pasta to Magic Pan to mix through and coat, something that makes everything look very professional and taste very delicious but that I rarely
do in a desperate attempt to get myself to reduce the pasta-to-sauce ratio and thus, hopefully, also my calories consumed-to-calories burnt ratio.

At this point we both peered at the contents of Magic Pan, decided it was just not enough food for us, and began discussing what else we could make afterwards. Hence this post’s title: Pasta Pigs. We really do eat a lot.

Upon serving, I substituted coriander for Lolo’s suggestion of fresh basil, mainly because I had none. It was a good call to swap, though, as the smooth and creamy sauce really needs a pungent herby punch to amp up the taste-sizzle factor. Buzz was keen to blend the coriander into the cashew cream sauce next time, but I’m not so convinced that this would deliver the necessary kick. It might be good to do as Lolo suggests with the basil and tear it up and mix through, rather than just dump it on top as we did! I also added a little more black pepper than called for, having been seduced by the addition of this new condiment to my pasta-garnishing repertoire.

Although this dish might be prepared very quickly by some, for those of us who abhor washing up of any kind, the addition of food processing to any cookery adds an extra element of complexity all on its own. I would prefer to make this dish very slowly on a Saturday night (God what a slow life I lead!) with a nice cold beer, sit down to a long dinner and chat, and round it off by leaving the washing up until morning.


a vegan about town said...

I wanted to tell you how adorable you are re: the cajun salad, but it has disappeared! Should I not mention it? Was it fairies?

Miss T said...

Oh giggle! No, not fairies ... I just took it down until I can post a photo to accompany ... I'll put it up tonight and then you can feel free to tell me how adorable I am again! :)
Miss T

I'm Philippa O said...

this looks good, i want to try it! it was really nice meeting you at the potluck too, hopefully I'll see you at the yum cha bike ride? can you get hold of the beetroot salad recipe for me???? I'm in love with those colours and I really don't eat enough quinoa!

Lisa Dempster said...

Email me about the bike and yum cha-ing! I don't have your email address.