Growing up my mother made food journalist Craig Claiborne's version of pasta primavera, a cream, butter, and cheese laden dish with vegetables. Given my addiction to all things dairy at that time, I loved it! With a rainbow of vegetables, I've recreated it here as a fast, simple, and healthy dish perfect for using up whatever vegetables may be lurking in your crisper drawer! With its mild cashew cream sauce kids will love it too.
Easy Pasta Primavera
6 ounces whole grain pasta (I like brown rice spaghetti for this)
3/4 cup quartered onion slices
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 large carrot, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 of a red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup water
a few fresh basil leaves, optional
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and keep warm. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick fry pan saute onions and mushrooms until mushrooms release their water, about 5 minutes (if no non-stick pan just add a little water to prevent vegetables from sticking). Add the remaining vegetables (carrots through red pepper) and continue to cook while preparing the sauce.
Make the cashew cream sauce by blending cashews, garlic and water in a high speed blender (see note) until slightly warm (1-2 minutes).
When vegetables are crisp tender and broccoli is still bright green (should take about 7 minutes), remove from the heat and pour the cashew cream sauce over the vegetables in the pan. Divide pasta between two plates and ladle the vegetables with sauce over each. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serves 2.
Raw cashews are unroasted and unsalted. If you can't find them, you can use roasted/salted cashews but should rinse the salt off first.
If you do not have a high speed blender (Vitamix or Blendtec), soak the cashews in water for 2 hours before blending with fresh water.
You can use any vegetables you have available. Asparagus, zucchini, and spinach are also nice in this.
This recipe is easily doubled or tripled.