Pasta just goes well with nuts. It's best to toast them for a couple of minutes in some olive oil to bring out their rich flavor. My cashew pasta dish is quick to make, but does not skimp on taste. Even adding a teaspoon of garlic to the pan does not overpower the cashews.
All you need is a small bag of cashews to make one hearty pasta serving. I get mine at The 99 cent Only Store, but you could buy them anywhere -- from the local liquor store, to your favorite grocery chain; and it will be as cheap as sausage or any other protein. If the package of cashews are spicy or salty, that's even better! If you want to keep it low sodium, then give the nuts a quick rinse and pat dry.
You can also substitute any favorite nut, like peanuts, almonds, pecans or pistachios. You will want to shake off and remove the scales that cover some nut types. Don't worry about removing every crumb. If nuts are extra large, just give them a rough chopping -- leave a few whole, for presentation.
And pasta is cheap anywhere. You can cook your favorite type. I found some gluten free rigatoni, so I gave it a go -- seemed fine to me, I couldn't tell the difference for a first tryout.
So for a filling vegetarian entree try out my latest Italian pasta creation, Pasta with Cashews & Garlic.
- Roasted cashews - about 3 ounces, or 1/2 to 3/4 cup. Or any favorite nuts.
- 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic - fresh or from jar.
- 1 tablespoon dried parmesan cheese - okay to use fresh shaved parmesan.
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil - or a favorite flavorful oil.
- Season to taste - if nuts are salted, then just add pepper to taste.
- 2 tablespoons of pasta water
- Any fresh garden herb (optional) -- okay to use a pinch of dried Italian herbs.
- 1/2 package of pasta (about 8 ounces) - any you have on hand. I used rigatoni.
In a pot, add pasta to water and start boiling -- follow package directions. I usually shave off a minute or two for al dente.
Over medium heat, add oil to a large frying pan. Add cashews, stir and heat through for two to four minutes - until cashews just start to lightly brown. Reduce heat to low, add garlic and stir another minute -- or until pasta is done (you can also precook pasta.) Sprinkle on herbs and pepper (salt if necessary.) I have a crazy amount of garden parsley, so I used a handful of it.
Scoop out pasta from pot directly to the pan of sauteing cashews and garlic (if pan is big enough). Add a couple of tablespoons of pasta water, and one tablespoon of dried parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve.