Adapted from VegNews (January-February 2008). We spent so much time in the kitchen this past holiday, we decided to make something quick and comforting, so VegNews' Mac 'n' (cashew-based) Cheese recipe totally caught my eye! We got very positive responses at Candice's Christmas Eve gathering (including kudos -- in the form of actual consumption -- from Mac 'n' cheese connoisseur Tyler). Definitely a keeper.
Our modifications were minor: more garlic and less cooking water used.
- 2 tsps. sea salt
- 8 ounces macaroni (we used fusili)
- 4 slices of bread (we used sliced francese), torn in to large pieces
- 1/3 c. + 2 tbsp. Earth Balance buttery spread
- 2 tbsp. shallots, peeled and chopped
- 1 c. red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 c. carrots
- 1/3 c. onion
- 1/4 c. cashews
- 3/4 tsp. garlic
- 1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
Cook macaroni until al dente.
Using a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing sliced bread to a medium-fine texture with 2 tbsp. margarine. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion and 1 c. of water. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are very soft.
Process cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3. c. margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne in a blender.
Add softened vegetables and cooking water, as needed, to the blender and blend until perfectly smooth.
In a large bowl, completely coat the pasta with the blended cheese sauce.
Spread the pasta into a 9x12 casserole dish.
Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and dust with paprika.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.