Okay so this is really important—— On the left is the most amazing baked shells with a cashew cheese, and on the right is a book my bff got me for my bday that I took part of the recipe of. This recipe is sort of an elaborated version of fatassvegan’s cashew mozzarella that I kept forgetting to make. When I found this recipe in Purely Vegan I wanted to see if there were any differences so I went over to her blog and PV was lacking some cornstarch, so I decided to take a tip from Maggie and bring that in, and it was a great idea!!
Before I tell you what I adjusted and whatnot, the cheese I made is more like a fluffy crema, mainly because the recipe in Purely Vegan is a cashew-pine nut crema used in a zucchini lasagna (which I totally didn’t use the pine nuts because that shits like $30 a pound.) But this cheese is so fluffly and decadent and light and just PERFECT? Real cheese never did anything like this.
Anyways here we are:
1 cup Pasta shells or other pasta that holds sauce well
1/3 jar of sauce, eyeballed really.
1 cup (5 oz) of raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a little extra for thinning the crema (if needed, I added some bc I used a nutribullet since I don’t have a fancy blender)
1 tablespoon of nooch (although I added probably 2-3 more throughout blending, so keep that in mind)
¼ - ½ cup of water, as needed
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¾ tsp cornstarch
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and put a pot of water on to boil.
For the cheese, drain the cashews and rinse them. Mix everything in a blender, starting out with the smallest amount of the recipe and adding for thinning or taste, except the cornstarch, only do ¾ tsp. the result should be a fluffy, off-white substance with a light cheesy taste
Put a little oil into a sauce pan and heat on medium heat. Pour the mixture into the pan and stir constantly with a silicon or wooden spatula until it thickens. Now this mixture will already be thick before you heat it, but you will notice a slightly more thick texture afterwards. I wanna say this took about 2-5 minutes.
When the pasta and cheese is done, drain the pasta and put into a bowl. Add some of the cheese to the pasta and mix. Add a spoonful of tomato sauce and mix again. Put a small amount of tomato sauce in an oven safe pan, just to cover the bottom nicely (make sure its a good size that your dish will fit into, not to big or small) and then add half the pasta mixture. Spoon on some of the cheese sauce, then more tomato sauce, and repeat again. I only layered it twice and still had leftover cheese. Bake for about 15-20 minutes uncovered and let cool afterwards. It should look like the picture above.
I hope you all like this recipe!
SIDE NOTE: if you have an allergy to nuts, I know that shelled raw sunflower seeds can replace cashews, but I’ve never used them so I’m not sure how that would work.