For most of my life, pasta with white sauce has been a treat that my body just can’t handle. The thick, creamy sauce is so tempting when it’s on the plate but very difficult for many people to digest (and burn off later).
This version of the classic Italian dish uses cauliflower, cashews and nut milk to create a creamy, appealing texture and locally made pasta. I am so in love with the fresh pasta. They are 100 times better than the dried pasta. For this recipe, I used fresh gluten-free sun dried tomato pasta from the local natural grocer. They’re usually in the refrigerated section near the cheese, but they can also be found frozen.
GF/V Pasta with White Sauce (and not-so-vegan pesto shrimp)
Pesto – yields ½ cup
½ cup walnuts
4 loose cups basil
3 pinches salt
3 garlic cloves
1/3 cup olive oil
1 pound peeled and de-veined shrimp
½ cup pesto
White Sauce – yields 5 cups
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into large florets
1 TBSP chickpea miso
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 cup cashews, soaked in water for 2 – 4 hours and drained
1 cup nut milk
2 TBSP nutritional yeast
Salt to taste
Nutmeg to taste
Place all pesto ingredients in food processor or blender (I prefer to use my food processor). Blend until basil is broken down and mixture starts to get creamy. Set aside.
In a medium size bowl, smother the shrimp in pesto. Let marinate while you prepare the white sauce.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Toss in cauliflower and cook until tender. Drain cauliflower and place in blender.
Add all remaining white sauce ingredients to blender (except for salt and nutmeg). Blend on high until smooth and creamy. Add more liquid as needed. Pulse in salt and nutmeg to taste. I used just a couple dashes of nutmeg and about a ¼ tsp salt.
Bring large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add pasta, let boil until tender and soft. Strain pasta from water and set aside.
Saute the shrimp in a large pan and cook until completely white and pink, just about 4 – 6 minutes. You will know they are most definitely done when they are firm to the touch.
Remove shrimp pan from heat and add pesto. Thoroughly coat shrimp.
Serve pasta with a dab of white sauce and 2-3 shrimp (or not).