Friday, July 11, 2008

pasta with asparagus, pine nuts & a garlic-shallot cream sauce (longest title ever. almost.)

(while you can't see the cream sauce too well on our dish i promise it's there - it's hiding under the pasta & asparagus!) one of our favorite combinations would be asparagus + pasta + pine nuts. 'cause asparagus + pine nuts = mmmmmmmmm! and you can't go wrong with pasta + cream sauce. they're all tasty equations! :) we've never cooked with shallots before; actually, i'm not too sure i've even had shallots before, but about a month ago i picked up a small shallot (i blame Top Chef) to try, and i found it last week when i was rummaging around in my "onion bin" for a bunch of garlic cloves (i love finding stuff i've forgotten about). we wanted to try another cream based sauce 'cause urban vegan's had us wanting more - so we decided to use the shallot and see what happened. oh my - it was a good choice, indeeds! shallots are like little mild onions of yumminess, and paired with the garlic cloves and nooch they made for a really tasty cream sauce. i quite enjoyed it (i might be tweaking this a tad bit more to make it even more stellar. maybe try adding in some black pepper, veggie stock, ground cashews? who knows!) and dan said it was "super delish!". hooray for tasty shallots - i'm glad we gave them a try!

1 small shallot, minced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp margarine (we used earth balance. although after this tub is empty we're breaking up with e.b.)
1 cup plain rice milk
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (yay for B12!)
2 tsp olive oil
1 large bunch of asparagus, cut into 2" pieces(& tough ends removed)
4 cups cooked whole wheat pasta (we used rotini this time)
a pinch of sea salt
2 more tsp olive oil
3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 tbsp water

what you'll need:
- medium sized sauce pan/skillet
- large sauce pan + lid
- small mixing bowl
- whisk (optional)

what'cha gotta do:
in the large pan heat up 2 tsp olive oil on medium high heat. once the oil is hot add in the pieces of asparagus and saute for 3 minutes. add 1 tbsp water to the pan & cover. let this "steam" for about 3 more minutes. uncover, cook for another minute, remove from heat & set aside (or cook for a little longer for more tender asparagus).

dissolve rice milk + corn starch in the small mixing bowl and set aside.

while your asparagus is cooking heat 2 tsp olive oil on medium heat. add minced shallot & garlic - cook for about 2-3 minutes (until garlic & shallots start to get really fragrant). reduce heat just a tad and melt the margarine. once that's melted whisk in nutritional yeast & rice milk/corn starch mix. cook for 10 minutes, whisking about every minute or so. once it's thickened up remove from heat & pour cream sauce over your pasta, top with sauteed asparagus & toasted pine nuts, and enjoy! hoooooooooooray for shallot cream sauces of yumminess!

p.s. - this makes for 2 good sized "dinner portions", or 4 smaller "lunch sized portions".


shellyfish said...

Jessy you are so cute! I love your title! As I was reading it I thought of "these are a few of my favourite things..." yummy yummy in my tummy!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

That is too funny, you got your shallot after watching Top Chef. I do agree though, asparagus + pine nuts = glorious goodness.

That cream sauce sounds wonderful and I also like the idea of your proposed additions.

I'm going to check out that link about Earth Balance. If it's bad, I will likely be breaking up with EB too at the end of my tub. I have a problem with conscience sometimes, if I find out something I enjoy is bad or unsustainable, I don't feel good again until I vow to get whatever it is out of my life. Stupid principles.... ;-)

And I agree with Shelly, you are too cute!

jennycestcake said...

Jessy - what product will you use instead of Earth Balance?

Glad you are enjoying your creamy pastas. Isn't it great that being vegan doesn't mean giving up decadent foods like cream sauces? Yum!

Rach-ums said...

I am also wondering what you will use instead of Earth Balance. Of course, olive oil is a wonderful substitute but mainly I'm curious if there is another vegan margarine that does not use the controversial oils. Very interesting stuff!

Glad your dinner was a success! It looks tasty delicious!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Oooooo I was looking for a good creamy sauce. And I have lotsa asparagus sitting in my fridge, so this recipe sounds perfect for me!

jessy said...

i was thinking of using Willow Run's Soy Margarine, or maybe Spectrum's Spread (if that one is vegan, too)! i'm the same way, Jennifer - once i find out something is bad and/or unsustainable it just kinda eats away at me. makes me all sadfaced.

Rural Vegan said...

Wow, I was completely uneducated about palm oil until I read that. Clearly I need to do some more reading and figure out a personal solution. I can't think of any vegan margarines that are soy-free too though. Hmmm...

In any case, thanks for the link on that, and your asparagus looks amazing!

Katy said...

Wow, you combined ALL of my favorites into one dish! I'm definitely making this the next time I want pasta!

jessy said...


indeed - it seems that soy margarines could be just as bad! from the research i've started digging up (and i've just started) i could use coconut oil (although i wonder if this is okay, too!) mixed with some canola for baking, or applesauce for some baking as well. i wonder if there is a shortening that's vegan and also people & earth friendly? i may start using just olive oil + salt instead of margarine for sauteing and just forgo margarine all together. it would kinda stink to have to cut it out - but if it's the best thing for me to do - i might just do it!

i am going to research a bunch and get back on this issue. perhaps i'll do a separate post on it once i find out what's go'n on!

Lauren said...

Wow, that sounds delish! If you couldn't tell by how often I make it, I love pasta!! :) Like I said in my reply on my blog to you, I only use the rice pasta so I don't eat a lot of wheat (which can hurt my tummy at times). But I could never actually give up pasta! GASP! Now, why are you breaking up with EB? I love the stuff (a little to much..hehe).. I guess I need to go back and check out why I shouldn't be having it!

Lauren said...

Opps, just read your reply. Looks like we are going to have to break up with EB as well! I don't like eating lots of soy to begin with! I can't wait for your update post on this. Until then I will be searching for an alternative!

pinkhairedcyn said...

That sounds so good! I love asparagus.

Bianca said...

Tasty! I've never combined pine nuts and asparagus, but it sounds like heaven!!!

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

I LOVE cream sauces. Which is quite strange, because I was never really fond of them in my pre-vegan days... But something about vegan cream sauces makes me say MMMMMM! So good.

bittersweetblog said...

Yum! Sounds so fancy, and yet not too fussy either. Plus, anything with asparagus gets my vote!

kindkitchen said...

you had me at "cream sauce" :)

Allison said...

I LOVE how you organize your recipe into the ingredients, instruments you'll need, etc...and that you give the portion size! It's so helpful! Asparagus is one of my favorite veggies...I can't wait to try this!

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

I just had lunch but looking at your asparagus and pine nuts makes me hungry again!