Roasted Tomato Basil "Cream" Sauce

>> Friday, March 9, 2012

This whole 'dairy free' thing has turned out to be a wonderful change of pace for the family.  Finley is actually eating more (and hopefully gaining weight since she's a skinny minnie), Andrew has already lost two pounds and while I haven't lost any weight (but I'm crossing my fingers I do!), I feel great because we're eating so much healthier than we did before.  I'm also enjoying that going dairy free has pushed me out of my cooking comfort zone and forced me to try new recipes, like this one!

This sauce truly felt decadent while we were eating it, but I loved not feeling guilty about it since there wasn't actually any cream or butter in it!  The sauce is so flavorful from the roasted tomatoes, garlic and loads of fresh basil.  Really, how could you go wrong with those ingredients?!?  Even my carnivorous husband happily ate every bite without any comments/complaints about the lack of meat.  Finley and I happily ate our dinner and then we had leftovers for lunch the next day.  While the leftovers still had a wonderful flavor, the sauce had disappeared (i.e. absorbed by the noodles), so these noodles are definitely best served immediately.  Or just serve the sauce on the side rather than tossing them together.

Roasted Tomato Basil "Cream" Sauce 
adapted from Oh She Glows

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
6-7 oz whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup chicken broth or water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Place tomatoes on baking sheet and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Roast for about 25-30 minutes, or until tomatoes are slightly charred and bursting.  Let cool.

Meanwhile, put water on to boil for the noodles.  When boiling, add noodles and cook according to package directions.  Drain.

In a blender or food processor, add tomatoes, cashews, chicken broth and tomato paste.  Blend until fairly smooth.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  When hot, add garlic and saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant.  Add tomato mixture and stir to combine.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.  You may need to add a few tablespoons of water to the sauce if it is too thick.   Let sauce simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat and stir in most of the basil (reserving some for garnish).

Toss sauce with hot pasta.  Garnish with reserved basil.


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