Let’s set the scene for the night: Imagine, it’s your second date, and you just remembered your date requested a home cooked-gourmet meal.
YIKES, you only have 2-hours to get busy in the kitchen! No worries — chill and spice up the night with an enticing, vegan pasta dish. It’s time to show off your cooking skills by serving up a savory, smooth, and exciting meal. I forgot to mention, preparing this dish is pretty fun; pull your date into the kitchen — spice up the night!
Before you get started, make a quick run to the nearest store and grab a bottle of red wine! Now let’s get to cooking!
Penne Pasta Facts
Embraced across Italy, Penne pasta is known as one of the most influential noodles. Did you know Penne, means “pen” in Italian? The name derives from its pen-like shape — shaped like a quill, an old-style ink pen.
When selecting a pasta, I recommend whole grain pasta: whole-grain pasta contains an immeasurable amount of fiber, manganese, and selenium. Refined pasta is higher in calories, carbs, B vitamins, iron, but profound in fiber.
Recommended Pasta Noodles
I’m a huge fan of Barilla® Penne noodles. They are made with non-GMO ingredients and top of the line.
Penne Preparation-20 minutes:
First, bring a large pot of cold water to a quick boil. Coldwater is the trick! For a faster boil, cap the pot of cold water with a lid. Make sure the water has come to a full boil before adding the pasta.
Next, shake all the pasta to the boiling water. Stir in the salt, while at a high boil. (This process prevents the pasta from sticking together). You want to help the pasta to cook by stirring while boiling. Keep the pasta boiling at a fast boil until cooked.
Once the noodles are cooked, drain immediately, rinse under cold running water and transfer noodles to a clean glass bowl.
Add: 1 garlic clove, for flavor and one tablespoon of vegan butter or olive all, combine thoroughly. Set aside.
Cashew Cream Preparation:
First, soak your cashews in a bowl of cool water.
Cover cashews and set in the refrigerator for 24 hours. (This method softens and adds flavor to the shell.) After 24 hours, drain cashews (thoroughly) and pour into a food processor or blender.
Reserve juices drained. You can also boil water and let them soak until soft. I recommend soaking for 24 hours; boiling can reduce the cashew’s nutritional value.
Place the cashews and starch in the blender. Add water and nutritional yeast, blitz until you notice a smooth, cream-like texture. The texture should resemble a soft queso texture.
Pour your cream mixture (from the blender) into a small saucepan; simmer on low. Stir (with an R & B rhythm), smooth, Simmer for 10 minutes. Add garlic clove (minced), white pepper, and salt to taste.
Heating enhances the flavors. The taste is intensified when combined with heat. Simmer and stir for another 5–10 minutes. Adjust the texture (gradually) by adding water or milk substitution (unsweet).
(Thick to thin.) Set aside cream.
Cashew Cream Ingredients:
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- ½ lemon balances the flavor
- ½ cup unsweetened milk substitution or warm water
- ½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon starch
(Optional) Spicy Sauce Preparation. Let’s Sauce Up!
- 1 cup hot sauce (Frank’s Red Hot) or Sriracha
- 1/2 cup vegan butter melted
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon of lemon pepper
- 1 teaspoon of basil
In a large saucepan, combine two parts hot sauce to 1 part melted butter. Toss in the garlic, lemon pepper, and basil. Pour Whisk until combined.
Now let’s layer!
Combine spicy sauce and cream. Next, pour combine sauce over top of your (cooked) noodles; mix evenly. Reserve about 3 tablespoons of cream.
Top off with your favored topping: bread crumbs, tomatoes or any other veggies. Drizzle with reserved cream.
Serve and garnish with sides.
Serve as a baked dish.
Place in oven, bake for 15 minutes (broil for another 3–5 minutes until the top is a toasted brown. Serve with a tomato. Garnish with basil flakes or red pepper flakes.
If you have peanut allergies, exclude cashews and substitute the cream recipe with one block of tofu the same preparation process applies.
Happy date night! How did your dish turn out?
Jessica is a rising new face of vegan culinary cuisine who takes pride in her craft as a recipe designer and holistic lifestyle educator. New Living encouraging others to shift towards a wholesome lifestyle; in addition, cultivating the common mindset into understanding that healthy living is a lifelong process, not just a diet plan.