Mood: Another Valentine’s Day recipe, but this time savoury:) My current Instagram newsfeed is full of beautiful photos of Valentine’s Day themed desserts & they’ve got me drooling & dreaming of sweet treats, all day long. But that also got me thinking that while Valentine’s Day is definitely all about pampering the sweet tooth, it’s also about romantic dinners & warm fuzzy conversations over delicious food & wine. I mean, before we get to the decadent desserts, we’ve have to feast on a scrumptious meal too, right?;) And that’s where this recipe comes in! A splash of savoury goodness before the wave of sweet indulgence. This Vegan Creamy Tomato & Red Wine Pasta, with Mushrooms & Fresh Basil, is an ode to the beloved art of wining & dining:) In the wonderful world of Harry Potter, there is a magical drink called Amortentia, a powerful love potion that is known to cause feelings of elation, infatuation & romantic intoxication. Well, in the real world, I like to call Wine the Muggle’s (non magic folk) Amortentia & this pasta dish perfectly captures the magical full bodied beauty of Red Wine:) This recipe is simple yet impressive & it’s perfect for a Valentine’s Day dinner with your loved ones:) Fresh. Creamy. Boozy. Indulgent. Delicious:) Bon Appétit:)
PS: This recipe is also a great way to use up left over red wine from your dinner party:)
Time: 30-40 mins
Serving Size: 2 people (average portions)
Category: Entrée; Main Course
Author: Animagus Eats
• 2 Large Tomatoes (chopped into big pieces)
• 2 tbsp Olive Oil
• 3 Garlic Cloves (chopped)
• 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
• 1/4 tsp Ground Pepper
• 1 tsp Dry Herb Mix
• 1/4 tsp Paprika Powder (optional)
• 1/4 tsp Chilli Flakes
Cashew Cream Sauce
• 1/3 cup Cashews (soaked)
• 2 tbsp Almond/Coconut Milk
• 1 tsbp Olive Oil
• 2 cups Pasta (of your choice)
• 2 cups Mushrooms (sliced)
• 1-2 tsp Sea Salt (to taste)
• 1 tsp Ground Pepper
• 2 tsp Dry Herb Mix (to taste)
• 1 tsp Paprika Powder (optional)
• 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder/Garlic Cloves
• 1 tsp Chilli Flakes
• 1/3 cup Red Wine
• 2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
• 1/3 cup Basil (fresh)
• 1/4-1/2 tsp Chilli Flakes (to taste)
1. First, quick soak the cashews in boiling hot water for 30 mins. Set aside for later.
2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a baking tray, add all the ingredients for the tomato sauce & using your hands, coat the chopped tomatoes with the olive oil, garlic & the seasonings. Once all the tomatoes are well coated, put the tomatoes in the oven & cook them for 20-25 minutes.
3. While the cashews are soaking & the tomatoes are grilling away, you can multi task by cooking the pasta:) Cook 2 cups of pasta in a pot of boiling water with a pinch of salt & a drizzle of olive oil. Once the pasta is cooked but still a bit al dente (has a bite to it), take it off the heat, drain it well & toss it in some olive oil & set aside.
4. While your pasta is cooking, you can also cook the mushrooms at the same time. Sauté the mushrooms in 2 tbsp of olive oil & when they have a light char on them, add the seasonings (1/4-1/2 tsp each: sea salt, pepper, dry herb mix, chilli flakes, garlic powder) & sauté again. It’s important to add the seasoning after the mushrooms are lightly charred because if you add it before that, the mushrooms will get soggy & release water. Once the mushrooms are cooked well, set them aside for later.
4. Next, check on your tomatoes. Once they’re cooked (they should be soft & slightly charred), take them out of the oven & put them in a blender/food processor. Don’t forget to add all the extra bits, the cooked garlic pieces & the seasoned olive oil, from the baking tray as well. These tidbits really add to the flavour:) Blend the ingredients till they form a smooth tomato sauce. Don’t worry if the sauce is a bit bland at this stage; it will liven up later:) Add the sauce to a large saucepan & set aside.
5. Time to make the Cashew Cream:) Drain the cashews well & add them to the blender, along with the almond/coconut milk & olive oil. Blend the ingredients till you get a smooth-yet-chunky chunky cashew sauce. You can blend it further to a super smooth sauce (add more almond/coconut milk) but I prefer to leave it a tad bit chunky because it adds an interesting texture to the pasta dish:)
6. Add the cashew cream to the tomato sauce, in the saucepan, & mix well. Turn on the gas & simmer the sauce on low heat. Add the red wine to the sauce & mix again. Add the seasonings (1/2 tsp each: sea salt, pepper, dry herb mix, chilli flakes, paprika powder) & combine well. Simmer the sauce on low heat for about 3-4 minutes. Do a taste check (Taste. Tweak.Repeat) to see if the seasoning is okay & if the red wine is cooked. You should be able to clearly taste the red wine, but it should not taste uncooked/overpowering. Once you’re happy with the flavours, turn off the gas.
7. Add the pasta & mushrooms to the saucepan & mix well with the creamy tomato & red wine sauce. When you’re ready to eat, serve yourself a plate of hot pasta & garnish it with fresh Basil leaves & a sprinkle of chilli flakes. And voila! Your Creamy Tomato & Red Wine Pasta, with Mushrooms & Fresh Basil, is ready:) Happy Eating:)
* Feel free to add other toppings like Olives, Vegan Parmesan, etc:)