For gluten-free Wednesday, we're highlighting an easy dinner recipe that involves brown rice fettuccine smothered in a creamy cashew sauce. It also happens to be vegan.
Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg, authors of the book "Spork-Fed," created the recipe as a more healthful version of the classic Alfredo.
"Our Alfredo gives you the same fulfilled feelings without the side effects," Engel and Goldberg told Times writer Jessica Gelt. "We like to toss in some greens whenever we get the chance, so throw in spinach, kale or chard for a boost of nutrients."
Total time: 35 minutes | Serves four to six
*Adapted from "Spork-Fed" by Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg
1 1/2 cups shredded vegan cheese (Spork Foods recommends GO Veggie! Dairy Free Mozzarella Shreds)
1 package (14-ounce) brown rice fettuccine
1 teaspoon neutral-tasting oil
3 tablespoons nondairy butter
2 large shallots, finely chopped
3 cups baby spinach, tightly packed
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond or soy milk
1 cup soy milk creamer
2 cups cashews
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for salting the pasta water
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon light miso paste (non-barley)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder, plus 2 tablespoons water, whisked to form a slurry
1. Prepare the cheese crisps: Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle the cheese on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until crisp, 12 to 14 minutes. Set aside to cool completely, then break into large uneven pieces to garnish the pasta.
2. While the cheese is baking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook according to the instructions on the package, generally 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and run the pasta under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain again, and return to the pot, tossing with the oil to keep the pasta from sticking together. Set aside in a warm place.
3. Heat a shallow skillet over medium heat. Melt the butter in the skillet, then add the shallots, cooking until softened, about 3 minutes. Remove the shallots using a slotted spoon, leaving the butter in the pan. Set the shallots aside in a small bowl.
4. Add the spinach to the skillet and cook over medium heat until just wilted, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Toss the spinach with the fettuccine.
5. Prepare the Alfredo sauce: In a blender or food processor, combine the almond or soy milk, creamer, cashews, sea salt, black pepper, miso, lemon juice, nutmeg, dry mustard and the cooked shallots. Blend until smooth, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium heavy-bottom pot and heat over medium heat until warm, 4 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the arrowroot slurry, whisking until the sauce thickens slightly, then remove from heat.
6. To serve, add sauce to fettuccine and spinach and toss to coat. Serve warm with one piece of cheese crisp per serving.
Each of 6 servings: 693 calories; 14 grams protein; 84 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams fiber; 34 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 6 grams sugar; 715 mg sodium.
I'm totally down with nut cheese. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris.