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:) Using red wine in cooking is a great way to consume that half empty wine bottle (no wastage!) and did you know that this crimson coloured drink has several health benefits too? 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:)
*Please feel free to add other toppings like Olives, Vegan Parmesan, etc:)
*Red Wine Health Benefits (Source): ILoveWine