Everyone I know loves Fettuccine Alfredo, but no one I know will actually eat it.
If you know about this sumptuous Italian dish, you know exactly what I mean. Creamy and velvety, this Italian classic flavored subtly by butter and cream and cheese screams “eat me” to one’s inner gourmet and gourmand. But, as you can imagine with such an ingredient list, it also weighs in at a bazillion calories making it a no-no for pretty much everyone except the most intrepid eater.
Which is a pity, really, because shouldn’t we all be eating more pleasure-giving food rather than less? Ergo, my Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo. While I won’t pretend that my version that has a sauce made of cashews is very low-calorie, for those of you who have missed eating Fettuccine Alfredo for some reason or the other, this is a great, lower-fat alternative so full of flavor that you just won’t miss the dairy.
Cashew cream is a great substitute for dairy cream because it has a similar flavor and mouth-feel. I added a couple of wonderful flavor boosters to the cashew cream to make the Alfredo sauce all the more special: cheesy nutritional yeast and a whole head of creamy roasted garlic.
Be sure to add some sage to your sauce. Its smoky, earthy notes are perfect with the mushrooms.
Fettuccine Alfredo with Mushrooms
16 ounces of fettuccine pasta, cooked per package directions. Time it so your pasta is al dente just as you are ready to mix with the sauce.
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cups mushrooms, sliced
4 large sage leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine
Ground white pepper to taste
1 cup cashew pieces
2 cups nondairy milk
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 large head of garlic, roasted. Slice off the top of the garlic bulb so the cloves are exposed, drizzle a few drops of olive oil on the garlic, wrap in some aluminum foil, place in a baking pan and roast in a preheated 400 degree oven about 30 minutes or until the cloves are soft and golden and squeeze out easily from the bulb.
Salt to taste
Soak the cashews with the nondairy milk for at least 30 minutes. Blitz in a blender with the yeast and the roasted garlic and salt to taste until you have a silky-smooth sauce.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute for a minute. Add the wine and let the mushrooms cook, stirring frequently, until all the wine has evaporated and the mushrooms are caramelizing.
Add the chopped sage leaves, ground white pepper, and salt. Stir well and then pour in the cashew milk. You want a rather liquid sauce.
Cook the sauce, stirring frequently to ensure it doesn’t stick at the bottom, for 10 minutes. Now add the cooked pasta and stir well to mix. Turn off the heat.
Add more salt and pepper if desired. This dish is best served hot because the sauce, which is utterly silky and smooth when fresh, has a tendency to dry out. If you do have leftovers though, it still tastes amazing.