Nuttily Good

Yummy vegan creamy pasta sauce

We are both avid and ardent collectors of cookery books. I think this is because we are both avid and ardent lovers of food. It’s not just the recipes these books contain that inspire us but the food styling and photography they showcase. Our favourites also incorporate a few lines per recipe sharing the author’s history with the recipe, or its provenance, or some brief reminisce of where it was first served and eaten. What we’re trying to say is that we both enjoy cookery books as much for reading as for cooking!

Disclaimer: we do also both enjoy embellishing a recipe; you’ll find no slavish devotion to the ingredients and quantities here except, of course, when we’re baking. We’re both confident (or foolhardy) enough cooks to switch out ingredients to whatever we have in the fridge or pantry, or for whatever takes our fancy. 

I did a stocktake, dust and re-arrange of my cookery books at the beginning of July (look, cut me some slack, I worked as a library assistant for six months in my youth and some things never leave you). My 83 vegan cookery books are those I spend most time with these days, though I still dip into the other recipe books I own; I do love the challenge of “veganising” recipes and no, they aren’t always successful. And yes, of course all my cookery books are listed, in order of publication date, thank you for asking.

The Plantpower Way by Julie Piatt and Rich Roll is a gorgeous book of vegan recipes inspired by the Italian countryside. The book also contains a range of recipes for plant-based cheeses like one for roasted almond and sun-dried tomato cheese and another for creamy garlic Gorgonzola made with cashew nuts. These are both on my “to do” list. 

I made the book’s walnut porcini cream sauce for dinner the other evening, serving it over wholemeal fusilli with steamed broccoli. Brazil and macadamia nuts were switched out for some of the walnuts and all nuts were soaked for an hour in hot water first to soften them. My staple of a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast (“Nooch” in Lily’s vocab) were also added. Like so many recipes utilising nuts to create the smoothest creamy consistency, a high-speed blender is required, but this sauce wouldn’t be unpleasant if it retained a bit of nutty graininess. And hold back a mugful of the pasta cooking liquid to loosen the sauce – it ends up a pretty thick consistency and the mug of hot, starchy water ensured each corkscrew of pasta was well coated. A delicious sauce and definitely one that’s going to be added to our regular repertoire. ~E.

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