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Pasta with Creamy Vegan Rosé Sauce

Well, guys, it's been a week! It's sometimes hard to accept the way the time keeps flying, and with the years that pass and birthdays that come and go, each of us has the opportunity to re-set, reflect, and give thanks. Last week was my 39th birthday, and with it came the gift of one last year to top off what has been a decade of massive consequence in my life. It's been a hefty 9 years, and if I have my way, I'll end this stretch of precious time on a high note filled with intention, gratitude, and plenty of energy to start the next ten years of this surreal journey we call life. Nothing mundane about this thing we call existence, that's for sure ;).

To start, the week began with an affirming 'hello there!' to the work that goes into this online space and this blog - I was pleasantly surprised (major understatement!!) and honoured to be short-listed alongside many other noteworthy Canadian food talents for a Taste Canada Food Writing Award. IPOM is one of three blogs up for 'Best English Food Blog', the two others being fellow Vancouverite She Eats (fist pumps!), and the Montreal duo Mortar & Pestle. On the French 'Best Food Blog' side, I can't wait to meet and honour the talented inspired folks behind The Green Life, Champagne & Brunelle, and Nana Marmelade. Amazingly, the awards will be held in Toronto in November, and I'm so excited for the opportunity to head out of town solo and attend.

Speaking of affirmation, I was tagged on Instagram this week to share my #realdietstory - a new movement by food Instagrammers and influencers to get real about just what and how we actually eat, the behind the scenes and real life dirt if you will behind many of the folks who bring you drool-worthy online foodie content. It's a topic I love and while I ponder just how to share my real diet story with you all, I will share this unbelievably delicious vegan rosé sauce with you, as it ties rather neatly into my food philosophy - something I try earnestly to represent here on the blog. Moderation in all things is key in my books, and whether your cheese comes from cows, or from concentrated fermented nuts made artisanally by hand, these foods should be revered and appreciated for what they are - a gift and a blessing above all else. Eat with gratitude, steward the earth and your body, and let go of our collective obsessive need to be right on all matters from food, to religion, and to politics. Gratitude is the fountain from which acceptance is born, and anger and judgement can't exist under these conditions. I write this especially to those of us living in first world countries, where the privilege to choose our form of nourishment is not something to be taken for granted, and certainly not worth the karmic impact of quarrelling with our neighbours over.

Pasta with Creamy Vegan Rosé Sauce
Pasta with Creamy Vegan Rosé Sauce

We've all got our own history and stories to share when it comes to food, which is why as someone who's had a lifelong love affair with this medium can attest, the topic certainly never gets boring. In fact, food provides a valuable platform from which many of us can tune into and better understand ourselves {for better and for worse} and each other. These are the conversations I live for, so it makes me genuinely happy to see folks getting real and honest, and best of all, sharing the nitty-gritty that comes from the heart: the real stuff that often gets tossed aside and buried for the shiny, perfect versions that don't accurately represent the whole us. My current story is one of personal acceptance, from the viewpoint of a self-prescribed perfectionist - and someone who has always held a high bar for herself - usually a bar that is too high, and too hard, and too punishing (I definitely wish I could go back and have a serious chat with my 30-year-old self). As I near 40, I'm realizing that we really do get better with age, and while that pesky few pounds that have settled around my hips isn't easily lost like it was when I was 20, or even 35, I can see that it's there to teach me a valuable lesson - one that I wouldn't want to unlearn, or lose, for all the shiny objects in the world. Supporting ourselves wholly is key, and while I'll never stop striving, the joy that comes from this realization is a whole new brand of energy that is currently lighting up my life - and clearing out cobwebs from dark corners I didn't even realize were there. It's pretty powerful stuff.

I hope you'll enjoy this amazingly delicious sauce for pasta, it's rich but not too rich. It utilizes cashews which are a wonderful alternative to dairy cream. Enjoy it for what it is and what it brings you. And be at peace with life and with each other. Thank you for the opportunity to share with you! It's so good, you'll want to eat it by the spoonful, I promise! Wishing you all a wonderful, delicious week, from my wide open heart to yours.

Pasta with Creamy Vegan Rosé Sauce
Pasta with Creamy Vegan Rosé Sauce

Pasta with Creamy Vegan Rosé Sauce:

- adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 4 tbsp olive oil (if you want you can use some butter to fry the onions too)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups plain Passata (un-seasoned strained tomato sauce)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup cashew cream*
  • 1-1.5# pasta of choice

*First, make the cashew cream. Time saver: you don't have to soak them. Just combine 1 cup of cashews (or better yet, the cheaper cashew pieces) with one cup of water in a high powered blender and blend until thick and creamy. A high powered blender will work best for this, but I've used an old-fashioned Osterizer too with great results. If your blade is really dull, then soaking helps, but otherwise, this step is entirely unnecessary to achieve amazingly creamy results. Just don't use too much water or it won't work, less is more here.

When ready to cook, heat the olive oil (or olive oil and butter) over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the minced garlic and let cook for another 30 seconds or so. Mix in the Passata, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and sugar. Let simmer over low heat for at least half an hour to allow the flavours to develop and the sauce to darken and thicken. Cook your pasta of choice while the sauce simmers.

Depending on if you mind chunks in your sauce, you can use the blender to blend your sauce (I personally prefer it smooth). Once blended and back in the pan, ensure the sauce is on very low heat, and slowly stir in the cashew cream. Check the seasoning and then, just before serving, stir in the chopped basil. Heat back to piping hot just before serving, being careful not to let it boil too much.

Spoon the hot finished sauce over drained, cooked noodles and stir gently to coat, or toss 6-8 cups of cooked pasta into the saucepan and stir to coat. Serve hot, with or without parmesan and extra basil, a salad, and a beautiful glass of wine.

Pasta with Creamy Vegan Rosé Sauce
Pasta with Creamy Vegan Rosé Sauce

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