Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pasta with Creamy Roasted Carrot Sauce

Another carrot recipe! I made this last week, on one of those nights before a huge grocery shop, when you seem to be out of almost everything. On this particular occasion, my vegetable crisper literally contained only a pound of carrots, a few sad, languishing cherry tomatoes, and an onion, while the cupboard's most appealing offerings were a box of pasta and a jar of red sauce. Since everyone loves roasted carrots, I decided to start there and then mess around; the outcome was a surprisingly substantial - it's the cashews, they're magical - cheerfully orange, autumnal-tasting sauce that I'll make again, even when I do have other options.

Pasta with Creamy Roasted Carrot Sauce
~ 1/2 cup raw cashews
~ 1 cup boiling water
~ 1 lb. organic carrots, sliced into 1" rounds
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
~ 1 tsp. each: kosher salt, thyme
~ 1 cup onion, chopped
~ 3 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 tsp. basil
~ 1/2 tsp. each: oregano, cinnamon
~ 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
~ A few generous grinds of black pepper
~ 2 cups plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 2 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
~ 1 tsp. hot sauce (optional; more to taste)
~ 1 lb. penne (or other totally tubular pasta, dude), cooked and drained according to package directions
~ 1 cup pasta cooking water

~ In a bowl or beaker, combine the raw cashews with the boiled water and set aside to soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
~ Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
~ On a large baking sheet, combine the carrots, salt, thyme, and 2 tbsp. of the olive oil. Mix everything together with your hands - it's fun! - making sure the carrots are coated with the oil and seasonings.
~ Roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, until carrots are tender, making sure to toss them around a few times during their cooking time. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
~ In a skillet, saute the onions, garlic, basil, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg in the remaining olive oil, over medium heat for about 20 minutes, until beautifully fragrant and golden. (Didn't I sound like Nigella for a second there? "Ooooh, they're so beautifully fragrant and golden!")
~ In a blender or food processor, puree the roasted carrots, onions, and garlic with the drained cashews and the soy milk.
~ Gradually add the marinara, hot sauce (if using), and enough of the pasta water to achieve a creamy sauce-like texture.
~ In a large pot or bowl, combine the hot, cooked pasta with the sauce, making sure everything is evenly coated. This will appear quite "saucy" at first (you minx!), but will thicken a bit as it stands.
~ Taste for seasonings, and serve hot.


  1. Cashews are magical and so are roasted carrots - this sounds like such a winning combo.

  2. great way to add carrots to pasta..and cashews are always a winner!

  3. This sounds so interesting and sooo tasty. MoFo is providing me with some great ideas to dress up pasta sauce. Love it!