This dairy-free recipe is an adaptation of the Butternut Pasta from my book The Minimalist Kitchen using cashews instead of heavy cream. For a quick weeknight prep, make the pureed butternut squash ahead of time. See notes for guidance.
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 3/4 c. chopped sweet onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 3/4 c. stock, divided
- 1 1/2 c. pureed butternut squash (see notes)
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- a couple cracks fresh pepper
- 2 tbsp. heaping roasted cashews
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan (optional*)
- 3 cups short grain pasta
- 1 link of Italian sausage (We’ve been loving this plant-based sausage from Field Roast, pictured)
- fried sage
- crushed red pepper
- Make the sauce. In a large saute pan over medium heat, add oil and onions once warm. Sauté for 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the stock, butternut puree, sage, salt, pepper. Simmer on low for 10 minutes to develop flavor, stirring occasionally.
- Cook the pasta. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan filled 2/3 full with water to a boil. Liberally salt water before adding in noodles. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain.
- Remove sage sprig from sauce, and pour contents into a high powered blender, adding the remaining 1/4 cup of the stock plus the cashews. Blend on high speed until creamy and smooth. Return sauce to pan over medium heat. Stir in parmesan (optional) and fold in cooked pasta. Cook for a minute more for the pasta to absorb the sauce.
- To make the optional garnishes, in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, pan-fry the Italian sausage. If using a plant-based variety, add a glug or two of olive oil to crisp up. The natural fat in animal sausage needs no extra fat for crisping. At the end, toss in a couple sage sprigs, frying in the leftover oil or fat, about 1 minute on each side. Remove from pan. Add pasta to plates and top with crumbled sausage, sage, and a little crushed red pepper for heat.
Lately, I’ve been using the steaming method to puree squash for efficiency’s sake. Try the method.
*Did you know that aged hard cheeses are low in lactose, which can be hard for many to digest. While heavy cream may bother you, an aged cheese, like parmesan may not. In the aging process, the lactose decreases, much like gluten in sourdough or sugar in kombucha.