By Chef Linda
A weeknight home run, this recipe for Pasta with Broccoli Cashew Cream Sauce and Butternut Squash is easy to prepare and loaded with nutrition. Creamy and luscious, it's a perfect cold-weather comfort dish. What makes it even better in the winter is that broccoli is one of the best sources of vitamin C, and who doesn't need an extra dose of that this time of year? Cashews contain calcium, magnesium (important for strong bones) and heart-healthy fats. Bright orange butternut squash delivers a bevy of benefits; vitamins A, C, and B6, which are all important nutrients for a strong immune system. For an even easier weeknight dinner, make the sauce the day before, and simply add it to the drained, hot pasta. Peel and dice the squash in advance then simply roast it while the pasta is cooking.
Pasta with Broccoli Cashew Cream Sauce and Butternut Squash
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets, stems peeled and cut into pieces
3 to 4 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Juice from 1/2 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon white miso
1 pound pasta (gluten-free if desired)
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Arrange squash on baking tray in a single layer. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until squash can be easily pierced with a fork.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water of salted water to a boil. Place broccoli and whole garlic cloves in the pot and boil for about one minute. Broccoli should be bright green and firm-tender, not mushy, when done. Using a slotted spoon, remove broccoli and garlic and place them in a blender. Save the water, adding a little more if necessary, and bring to a boil again. When the water is boiling, reduce heat and cook pasta according to package directions. Using the broccoli water allows the pasta to pick up some of the nutrients left from cooking the broccoli.
Into the blender with the broccoli and garlic, add cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, miso and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Sauce will thicken slightly as cashews absorb water.
Drain pasta, reserving about a cup of water to thin sauce if necessary. Pour broccoli sauce over pasta and stir to combine, adding water, a little at a time, if you choose. Taste and adjust seasonings. Empty pasta into a large serving bowl and top with butternut squash. Serve immediately.