Butternut Squash & Sage Linguine with Cashew Cream
Throughout the summer I mentioned the bumper crop of cabbage that consistently found its way into our CSA box. Well in our last box we didn’t get cabbage but instead got a butternut squash which sat on our kitchen table for a few weeks. We’ve cooked with lots of different types of squash and I wanted to find a new way to use it. I came across this recipe involving a cashew cream sauce, something I had never heard of.
Cashew cream is nothing more than a blended combination of cashews and water and is commonly used by vegan cooks as a substitute for dairy cream. All you do is soak the cashews in water for a few hours, then blend until smooth. We don’t make too many heavy cream sauce pasta dishes and this presented a healthier option.
I LOVED this dish. First off, it is really simple. Cook some veggies, blend them with broth, add the cashew cream and your cooked pasta, then eat. The cashew cream was easy to make and did a nice job of thickening the sauce. I was worried it would give the sauce a weird aftertaste but taste-wise I couldn’t tell it was there. The flavors of the squash, broth, onion, and sage combine exceptionally well together. I was very happy to have enough to last for several meals.
This was the first time I had ever bought fresh sage. Have you ever used it? It has such a strange feel to it, it almost feels fake. It is a much thicker leaf than I expected (compared to a bay leaf for example) and has a texture that feels like a piece of worn leather. But, it releases a much better flavor than the dried stuff. I’m a fan of extra spice so I added some crushed red pepper flakes too.
I discovered another benefit of this meal afterwards. I was left with a bag of raw cashews not sure what to do with them. After staring at the bag for about a week I decided to roast them. This is where you can really get creative. I made ones mixed with brown sugar, sesame seeds, Sriracha, and kaffir lime oil but you can do all sorts of things. Enjoy!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ C finely chopped fresh sage
- 2 lbs butternut squash; peeled, seeded, and cut into small ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 2 medium yellow onions; chopped
- 3 garlic cloves; pressed and minced
- Red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 C vegetable broth
- 1 package linguine
- ½ C raw cashews
- 2 C water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Heat oil in a large skilled on medium heat. When hot add in the sage and cook for about a minute. Remove the sage and transfer to a plate, and set aside.
- To the skillet add the squash, onion, and garlic. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the onions are clear and the squash has softened.
- Add in the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until the squash is completely softened.
- While the veggies are simmering cook the linguine according to package directions. Set aside when done.
- In a blender combine the cashews, water, and lemon juice. Process on high until the mixture is very smooth. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
- When the squash mixture is ready puree with an immersion blender in the skillet or transfer to a blender to mix until smooth. If using a blender, be very careful blending the hot liquid! It may be best to just let it cool first.
- Once smooth mix together the cashew cream and squash purée. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour desired amount of sauce over a serving of pasta and top with sage and red pepper flakes.