CREAMY TRUFFLE PASTA WITH BALSAMIC-ROASTED BROCCOLI RABE

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Still eating my carbs in 2020! Pasta, potatoes, and bagels for days over here.

If you are trying to give up dairy or just choose to not eat it, and you need an indulgent dinner fix, this creamy truffle pasta will blow your mind. We use a mix of raw cashews and peeled zucchini (!!) for the velvety pasta-hugging sauce of our dreams. Garlic, onions, nutmeg, truffle oil, and our old pal nutritional yeast bring the flavour. The whole pasta is smoothed out with some reserved pasta cooking water.

Half of the sauce base here is cooked zucchini. It keeps the consistency creamy, but just a touch lighter than the use of cashews alone. I feel like I rely on them SO heavily in savoury recipes and need to branch out. So this recipe is my super slow start at diversifying and trying new things :)

We top this indulgent and super creamy goodness with balsamic-roasted broccoli rabe. A nice heap of slightly bitter greens with sweet reduced balsamic vinegar in the mix… so good! This dinner is a total flavour and texture explosion. Broccoli rabe is honestly one of my favourite vegetables. I buy so much when the local Italian grocery store puts it on sale hehe. Of course, if you’d prefer regular broccoli here, that would also be delicious.

If you take this one over the top by also making some homemade vegan “parm,” you will definitely impress any plant-based or vegan skeptics in your life. It has so much flavour and the texture of the sauce is so velvety. If you’ve been trying Veganuary, let me know how it’s going in the comments. Always here to support you :)

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CREAMY TRUFFLE PASTA WITH BALSAMIC-ROASTED BROCCOLI RABE RECIPE

Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 4
NOTES:
The only substitution suggestion I can offer for cashews is raw macadamia nuts or pine nuts. I know that these are likely even more expensive than cashews in most shopping scenarios, but they do have that same richness.
-A recipe for vegan “parm” can be found here.

2 tablespoons, avocado oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, diced (about ½ cup diced)
1 small zucchini, peeled and diced (about 1 cup diced)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours + drained
1 cup filtered water, plus extra
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon truffle oil (+ more, to taste)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon onion powder
pinch of ground nutmeg
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 bunch broccoli rabe
12 oz pasta of choice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
chili flakes, for serving (optional)
vegan “parm”, for serving (optional)

Heat a large, deep saute pan over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons of the avocado oil to the pan and swirl it around. Add the onion to the pan and saute until edges are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and continue to stir and saute until the zucchini is soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Turn off the heat and transfer the sauteed vegetables to an upright, high speed blender. To the blender, add the drained cashews, water, lemon juice, truffle oil, nutritional yeast, onion powder, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Blend the mixture on high until totally smooth, about 1 full minute. Add more water by the tablespoon if necessary. Set the creamy truffle sauce aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Separate the thin leaves from the broccoli rabe stalks and cut off the woody ends. Cut the trimmed broccoli rabe stalks into 2-inch pieces and place them in a medium bowl. Toss the chopped stalks with 2 teaspoon of the avocado oil, 1 teaspoon of the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Spread the coated pieces of broccoli rabe out on a large baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.

While the stalks are roasting, toss the thin broccoli rabe leaves in the remaining 2 teaspoons of avocado oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. Really massage it in!

At the 10 minute mark, remove the roasted broccoli rabe stalks from the oven and stir them up a bit. Scatter the coated broccoli rabe leaves over top and return the baking sheet to the oven for another 5 minutes, or until the leaves soften and crisp up a bit on the edges.

While the broccoli rabe is roasting, prepare your pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.

Wipe out the original large saute pan you were using and place it over medium heat. In the pan, combine the creamy truffle sauce and cooked pasta. Stir until the pasta is evenly hot and super creamy. Add splashes of pasta cooking water to loosen things up, if necessary.  Stir in ½ of the roasted broccoli rabe.

Serve the creamy truffle pasta hot with the remaining roasted broccoli rabe on top with chili flakes and vegan “parm” if you like.

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  • Deborah Dewar08/01/2020 - 11:20 am

    Yes I have been doing Veganuary! I feel really great!!!! Do you have a good suggestion to replace cream in coffee?
    ThanksReplyCancel

    • Laren Cyphers08/01/2020 - 2:33 pm

      Hi Deborah, my favorites are Oatly barista edition or the same thing from Califa Farms :) It bugs me so much when my creamer curdles in my coffee, and these two haven’t for me and are super creamy. A bit pricey for sure, but life changing for me and affordable when on sale. SO cool that you’ve been trying out Veganuary and are feeling great! Apologies for chiming in from left field.ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/01/2020 - 4:48 pm

      My favourite replacement for coffee creamer is nutpods! It’s an unsweetened creamer that is about as rich as it gets. Soy creamers are also quite rich, but always come sweetened. I also have a recipe for a full fat coconut milk-based creamer in my cookbook!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Emily09/01/2020 - 4:38 pm

    Quick question: Did you use white or black truffle oil? Thanks! Cannot wait to try this recipe!!!ReplyCancel

  • Alex09/01/2020 - 6:42 pm

    This looks outrageously delicious! I’m a huge fan of using cashews for creaminess myself, but feel no need to diversify ;)ReplyCancel

  • dana09/01/2020 - 7:14 pm

    dayuuummmmmm lady! lookin’ good!ReplyCancel

  • Lana12/01/2020 - 4:52 pm

    We made this last night and it was delicious – my 9-year-old loved it and asked for seconds with extra greens! I couldn’t get broccoli rabe anywhere in town yesterday so we used a combination of broccolini and gai lan, which worked out great. Thank you for sharing the recipe. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Meleyna06/02/2020 - 3:22 pm

    Gah this sauce is so good!! I skipped the truffle oil but it was still super lush. I ate it over Banza, and just blanched some broccoli in the pasta water and drizzled some high quality balsamic over the top to streamline it a bit for a busy Wednesday night. Cozy vibes for sure.ReplyCancel

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