Creamy Kabocha Pasta
1/2 c. raw cashews
1 small kabocha squash
1 head of garlic
1/3 cauliflower, cut into large florets
1/2 medium onion (roughly chopped)
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
1/4 c. roasted red peppers, drained
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
Optional: A pinch red pepper flakes
2 to 3 c. vegetable broth (or as needed)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 to 3/4 c. fresh basil (unpacked), sliced
2 lb gluten-free spaghetti noodles (or pasta of your choice)
Vegan parmesan cheese (optional)
Fresh basil, sliced
Black pepper Instructions
Soak the cashews in water overnight. If you do not have time to, you can also bring a small pot of water to a boil, remove it from heat and add in the cashews. Allow them to soak until you blend the sauce together (which will be about 1 hour).
Preheat the oven to 400°F and position the rack to the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Wash and dry the kabocha squash, place it (whole) on the baking sheet and into the oven for 18-20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool until the squash is easy to handle. If the stem of it is protruding, use a knife to carefully remove it. Slice the squash in half vertically, then scoop out the seeds and fiber using a spoon.
Slice the squash into 1-inch wedges, trying to keep the slices uniform for even cooking. Place 6 or 7 the slices of the cooked squash (roughly 1 1/2 cups) onto your lined baking sheet. The remaining kabocha squash can be cooked on an additional baking sheet with the same baking time and directions below. It can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.
Using your hands, remove loose skin from the outside of the head of garlic. With a sharp knife, cut 1/4“-inch off the top of the garlic, or enough to expose the tops of the cloves. Place the garlic head (cut side down) onto the baking sheet along with the cauliflower florets, onions, celery, and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place back into the oven for 40 minutes, flipping/mixing halfway through.
10 minutes before the vegetables are done, prepare the pasta.
Once you have removed the baking sheet from the oven, allow the veggies to cool until easily handled and then use a knife to carefully remove the skin from the kabocha and add it into a high-speed blender. You can discard this or snack on it as you continue cooking.
Using your hands, squeeze the softened garlic cloves out of the head and into the blender, along with the soaked cashews (drained), the remaining vegetables on the baking sheet, the roasted red peppers, nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes, 2 cups of vegetable broth plus salt and pepper as desired. Blend until smooth, adding as much of the additional 1 cup of vegetable broth as needed to thin out the sauce.
Adjust seasonings to taste and then add in the sliced basil. Pulse the basil in until well combined (do not blend it as it will turn the sauce a weird color).
Drain the pasta, add it back into the pot and pour over the sauce. Mix until well combined.
Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parmesan, basil, and black pepper. Enjoy!
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