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Rotini with Creamy Avocado-Herb Sauce

This recipe for rotini with creamy avocado-herb sauce is from the cookbook, Quick-Fix Vegan, by Robin Robertson.

Author Robin Robertson writes:

Luxuriously creamy and delicious, this sauce is also simple to make. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you might want to soak the cashews in water for several hours or overnight to soften them for a smoother sauce. I like to make this with springy rotini, but any small pasta shape is fine.

Cooks&Books&Recipes Featured Cook Sheri:

I quickly zeroed in on the Rotini with Creamy Avocado-Herb Sauce. Avocados are a staple in this house, and I’m always intrigued when they’re used in a non-traditional manner. In this case, they’re added to a blender along with fresh herbs and raw cashews.

The sauce is so quick to make, it can be done while the pasta is cooking. Since it contains avocado, it’s best to blend it at the last minute so it doesn’t turn brown. I actually found myself waiting on the pasta to finish before I completed the sauce.

I love the addition of raw cashews to the sauce. I often use cashew cream (raw cashews, soaked overnight and blended to a cream along with water) to add richness to soups in place of cream, but I’ve never thought of using them to make a creamy pasta sauce. There’s also a bit of broth and olive oil mixed in to create a smooth emulsified sauce.

Once the pasta is cooked, it’s mixed with the sauce–that’s it. No more cooking, the sauce is raw (and completely delicious). My avocados were on the larger size, so I ended up with extra sauce. I could have made an extra quarter pound of pasta and still had enough.

The recipe suggests adding additional broth to the sauce if it’s too thick. I ended up adding a bit, but some of the drained pasta water would work as well, and it would warm up the sauce a bit while still adding richness.

Even with the avocado, the pasta was still good and, more important, looked appetizing for the next day’s lunch. The citrus from the lemons and oil helped keep it looking appealing.

I’m definitely going to add this pasta into my rotation of quick meals.

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Rotini with Creamy Avocado-Herb Sauce – Photo Credit: Larry Klein, Pork Cracklins

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Rotini with Creamy Avocado-Herb Sauce

Featured Recipe From: Quick-Fix Vegan: Healthy, Homestyle Meals in 30 Minutes or Less

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces rotini or other bite-size pasta
  • ½ cup cashews
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾ to 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  1. Cook the rotini in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, combine the cashews, garlic, and salt in a blender or food processor and process until finely ground. Add the basil, parsley, chives, thyme, and pepper and pulse to chop well.
  3. Halve and pit the avocados, spoon out the flesh, and chop. Add the avocados, lemon juice, broth, and olive oil and process until smooth and creamy. Add a little more broth if the sauce is too thick. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  4. Drain the cooked pasta and return to the pot. Add the sauce and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Note: Try to eat the sauce immediately as it will begin to turn brown if made in advance a good excuse not to have any leftovers!

© 2011 Robin Robertson

Reprinted with permission from Quick-Fix Vegan: Healthy, Homestyle Meals in 30 Minutes or Less, by Robin Robertson (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

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