Pasta in any form is a favorite go-to meal, any day of the week. We bake it, boil it, toss it in salads, and put it in our soups, just to name a few. Certain shapes are created to hold a sauce; ridged one, hollow ones, scoops, and shells, all made to give us the perfect bite. While each shape has a purpose in life, they can each be used however we wish.
Pasta can be easily found now in gluten-free, whole wheat, and other healthy versions. It’s definitely something to explore if you haven’t tried these popular varieties.My traditional red sauce is always well received around our table but working with different sauces isone of my favorite kitchen experiments.Most recently, I have been trying to achieve rich, creamy sauces without using heavy cream and butter. Raw cashews are a fantastic way to achieve this. In this version, I’m adding loads of fresh herbs for agorgeous, vibrant green sauce. And I’m focusing on using veggies at their peak so the addition of freshcorn in this pasta dish is right on time.
I’ve used roasted cashews to blend up a topping that gives me the salty feel of parmesan, but keepingthe dish completely dairy-free.The combinations and options are practically endless, but I do think this one is a keeper for my table soI’ m happy to have taken a chance on creating a dish that’s a little outside our usual plate of pasta.
Creamy Pesto Pasta with Fresh Corn
2 ears fresh corn, shucked and cleaned1 cup raw cashews1-pound dried pasta, such as rigatoni3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice3/4 cup fresh basil leaves1/2 cup fresh Italian flatleaf parsley2 cloves garlic, peeled1/8 teaspoon saltExtra herbs for serving, optionalCashew topping , optional, (recipe follows)Lightly steam prepared corn in 1 inch of water, covered with a lid over medium heat for approximately 5minutes. Remove from water and let cool. When cool enough to handle, cut kernels from the cob andset aside.Cook pasta per package instructions, drain, and place into a large bowl.Cover cashews with warm water and let soak for 15 minutes or so. Drain water and place the softened cashews into the cup of a highspeed blender, (smoothie blenders work well for this). Add 1/2 cup water, and lemon juice. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Add basil, parsley, garlic, and salt. Blend on high speed until creamy and well combined. Extra water can be added a tablespoonful at a time ifmixture is too thick.Pour sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. Sprinkle corn over the dish and gently toss to combine. Addextra herbs and cashew topping to serve if desired. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
TOPPING:1/4 cup roasted cashews1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon zest1/8 teaspoon saltWhiz cashews, lemon zest, and salt in a highspeed blender, (a smoothie cup works well for this smallamount) for a few seconds, just until crumbly.
ANGELINA LARUE is a food writer, recipe developer and author of “The Whole Enchilada Fresh and Nutritious Southwestern Cuisine.”