Delicious, easy, and fast and much better for you than a creamy sauce like Alfredo. Cashew cream (a mixture of water and cashew nut butter) replaces the traditional heavy cream in this fettuccine recipe, with no loss of richness and an improved fat profile. In a typical fettuccine Alfredo, 60 percent of the fat is saturated; less than a quarter of the fat in the cashew cream is saturated.
1/2 cup roasted cashews
1 1/4 cups water
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups hot cooked fettuccine (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
How to Make It
Place cashews in a food processor; process until smooth (about 2 minutes), scraping sides of bowl once. With processor on, add water; process until smooth, scraping sides of bowl once.
Place cashew cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally with a whisk. Reduce heat; simmer 1 minute or until cream is thick.
Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in cashew cream, pasta, cheese, pepper, and salt; cook until thoroughly heated.
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This was good, though I agree it would have been bland without a couple of changes and additions. First, I doubled the sauce, and instead of water I used skim milk. I minced the garlic in the food processor before adding the cashews, and the garlic then steeped in the liquid, which did thicken nicely (althogh the milk scorched a bit). I used 6 oz. fresh fettuccine and added 2 oz. pancetta and 8 oz. sliced button mushrooms sauteed in the drippings. I served this with a green salad. It was interesting to try something different, though a bit expensive as cashews are not cheap; and although this scores more mufa's than the traditional version the latter is only an occasional treat anyway, so I'll probably go back to that next time.
I was really impressed by how creamy and thick the cashew sauce was - definitely mimicked a cream sauce, and you'd never know if you were served this in a restaurant. Unfortunately, quite bland. It needs more pepper and salt, and I also stirred in some green peas mid-way through the meal.