pasta with mushrooms and cashew cream

adapted from Bon Appétit.

ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 4 Tablespoons (or  more) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 12 ounces mushrooms (I used cremini, but maitake would also be great), sliced or torn into bite-size pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces spaghetti or other long pasta
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • juice + zest of about 1 lemon (alter to taste; I used Meyer lemons which are more mild than regular lemons)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

method

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high. Arrange half of mushrooms in a single layer in pot and cook, undisturbed, until edges are brown and starting to crisp, about 3 minutes. Give mushrooms a good toss, then continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until all sides are brown and crisp, about 5 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to a plate; season with salt. Repeat with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, remaining mushrooms, and more salt.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add leeks, shallots, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring often and adding another 1 Tbsp. oil if pan looks dry, until leeks and shallots are beginning to caramelize (or caramelized almost completely if you have the time), about 25-45 minutes. Once the onions are cooked to your liking, turn off the heat, and return all of the mushrooms to same pot.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about  2 minutes less than package directions (the pasta will finish cooking in the pan). Drain pasta, reserving 2 cups pasta cooking liquid.
  4. Blend cashews, nutritional yeast, and 1 cup pasta cooking liquid in a blender until very creamy. Set cashew cream aside.
  5. Return drained pasta to pot with mushroom mixture and add reserved cashew cream. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring well to coat, until pasta is al dente, about 3 minutes, adding more pasta cooking water to make everything come together. Remove from heat. Add parsley and lemon zest and juice. Toss well to incorporate.
  6. Divide pasta evenly among shallow bowls or plates and top with several grinds of pepper.

serves 3-4.

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