This is a quick and easy lunch or dinner with a kick! The creaminess from the cashews makes it very soul-satisfying. It is reminiscent of a vodka sauce, and you could actually swap out the wine for vodka.
Vodka sauce always reminds me of Pomodoro Pizza on Spring St. in Soho; my old neighborhood…with their sidewalk cafe and red checkered tablecloths. Eating this transports me there!
(serves 4)1 lb pasta of your choice 2 tbp olive oil 4 cloves garlic, sliced 1dried chipotle pepper (avail. at Latino markets) 1 cup white wine 1 cup raw unsalted cashews 1 14-oz. can whole tomatoes 1 tsp oregano 1 tsp thyme 1 tsp paprika ½ tsp black pepper 2 tsp sea salt, or to taste 1 tsp balsamic vinegar 1 tbp lemon juice to serve: 1 cup chopped cilantro some good extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
Prepare the pasta according to package directions. Reserve some of the cooking water.
Meanwhile, lightly toast the chipotle pepper in a pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add the olive oil and saute the garlic until golden.
Stand back and add the wine. It will sizzle! Add the cashews and all the spices. When the alcohol has evaporated, add the tomatoes and break them up a little with your spoon. Stir in the balsamic.
Allow the mixture to return to a simmer and lower the heat. Cook 5 minutes and then turn off the heat and add the lemon juice. Season to taste.
Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender and start at the lowest setting with short pulses (otherwise it will end up on your ceiling). Increase the speed and allow the sauce the blend until smooth. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water, if necessary, to reach a smooth consistency. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
Return sauce to the pot with the drained pasta and toss. Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro and extra virgin olive oil.