Pleasing Mac & Cheeze

by Sherri Koehler on May 21, 2012

** Update May 25, 2012 **

Wow! I’m blown away that this recipe won the Lunch/Dinner category for the So Much to Love Givaway from So Delicious Dairy Free! I’m being treated to a BIG shopping spree as my prize – there’s sure to be a blog post about my purchases later.

The last of my recipes for the So Much to Love Givaway from So Delicious Dairy Free this May! A This recipe is a soy and gluten-free take on a good comfort food.

Since the cheezy sauce for this dish is already soy and gluten-free, choosing a brown rice pasta just continues the theme. While I’m fortunate not have an intolerance or allergy to either soy or gluten, I like to have some recipes to rely upon to make for others. I also really enjoy brown rice pasta, so I use it in most of my pasta dishes.

The richness of the sauce comes from blending raw cashews that have soaked in hot water. I think of this as something of a special occasion dish, but when it is paired with a big pile of veggies it makes for just the kind of hearty, rich meal I want on a cold winter’s night. Sometimes I like to make a little extra of the tasty sauce and add a bunch of steamed broccoli in when the pasta gets mixed in and make a casserole.

The Stuff

  • 1/2 c raw cashews soaked in 1/2 c hot water
  • 1 c almond milk
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 c fine flake nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 t granulated garlic
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1 t dried marjoram
  • 1/8 t mustard powder (a nice pinch)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 oz brown rice pasta (elbows, penne, rigatoni, etc.)
  • 1 t chickpea miso (soy free)

The Making

Start cashews soaking in the half cup of hot water in your blender jar. Cashews need to soak for at least 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 Fahrenheit.

Bring water in a larger saucepan to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to the directions on the packaging. Once pasta has finished cooking, drain and rinse in cold water to stop it cooking. Retain 2 tablespoons of the pasta water in the saucepan.

In the blender jar add almond milk, miso, and spices. Begin blending on a medium speed until the cashews are incorporated with the almond milk and water in a smooth mixture. About 3-5 minutes depending upon the type of blender you have.

With the blender still processing, remove the center cap of the lid and add in the cornstarch. Once the cornstarch has incorporated add the nutritional yeast in a slow pour. Continue to process for at another minute longer.

Return saucepan and 2 tablespoons of pasta water to a medium heat. Pour in sauce from blender and stir. As the sauce heats it will begin to thicken, keep stirring at regular intervals to make sure it doesn’t stick. Once it reaches a thick consistency, about 2-3 minutes, pour back in the pasta and stir to cover. Let pasta sit in sauce on medium, for an addition 5 minutes to thicken, stirring occasionally.

Pour pasta and sauce mix into a 8×8 baking dish that’s been lightly sprayed with Canola oil. Bake casserole for 5 minutes at 325. Then flip on low broil setting and broil for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and very lightly spray top of casserole with Canola oil. Return to low broil for another 4 minutes, tuning half-way through, until golden on top. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

You can skip the last step of baking/broiling if you’re in a hurry. Just be sure the pasta and sauce are thoroughly heated through in the saucepan before serving. It really takes about the same time and the sauce thickens up very nicely in the oven. I sometimes throw 3-4 cups of steamed broccoli in along with the pasta and serve it once the sauce thickens, after about 7-10 minutes.

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 429
Total Fat: 15 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Sodium: 75 mg
Carbohydrates: 63 g
Dietary Fiber: 6 g
Sugars: 5 g
Protein: 19 g

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