Monday, 12 March 2012

Nut Cheese Conchiglie with a Spicy Tomato Sauce

I wanted an excuse to a) make another Nut Cheese and b) do something really good with the packet of Conchiglie pasta that has been lurking in the back of the cupboard for a couple of months now... I am mighty pleased with the results.

Three Nut Cheese.

This is an adaption of my previous recipe, just a couple of tweaks to make it better!  I also made A LOT this time, some for the stuffed pasta shells recipe that I have floating round in my head and some for just plain eating and enjoying.

500gms Cashews, Macadamias and Slivered Almonds (I had 250gms of cashews and equal amounts of the other two), soaked overnight in water
120-180ml Oatley Creamer (an vegan alternative to Soya with a more neutral, less sweet taste, I love this stuff!)
8tbsp lemon juice
6 tbsp EVOO
6 tbsp mixed herbs (I combined a tbsp. each of dried Basil, Oregano and Parsley with chopped fresh Rosemary, Sage and Thyme)
2tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1tsp Agave Nectar
Good pinch Salt (1/2 tsp or so)
Black Pepper, to taste
Chopped chives to serve

Once soaked, I drained and blitzed the nuts (in batches) until finely ground.  Each batch I transferred into a large bowl and the added the rest of the ingredients, mixed well and seasoned to taste.  I added the Oatley Creamer last and slowly, building up the texture and creaminess of the cheese: at 120ml I had a bonded but dryish cheese and at 180ml it was far creamer.

As the previous recipe had mixed all the ingredients in the blender I transferred a small amount back and blitzed it again but honestly could not discern any greater smoothness in texture.  The initial grind is important to ensure fineness, if this is done thoroughly enough you don’t need to repeat it. 

When I serve or use the cheese I add chopped chives to garnish; I don’t add them before as I don’t like the change in taste if they sit in the cheese too long.

As I don’t have a big blender, this was a far quicker and easier way to make a larger amount of the cheese.  I like the taste and texture of the additional nuts and the less nectar/nutritional yeast/more (fresh) herbs combination.

In celebration of a job well done, I lathered some on toast… there may just be some left to cook with later!

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Spicy Tomato Sauce.

2 x 400ml tins chopped Tomatos
3 tbsp thyme leaves
1.5 cups frozen Peas
1tbsp Vino Cotto
1 tsp Chilli Flakes 
Season to taste

I blended all of the ingredients, except the peas, together.  Then added the peas and warmed them through.

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Nut Cheese Conchiglie with a Spicy Tomato Sauce.

500gms Conchiglie Pasta
Nut Cheese, two thirds of the amount made above
Spicy Tomato Sauce

Cook the pasta until pliable but not cooked through, strain and leave to cook.

Mix another 80-100ml of Oatley creamer into the Nut Cheese, along with 2-3 tbsps of fresh chopped Sage, Chives and Thyme.  Season well.  

Blend with a handheld blender until smooth.  Spoon the nut cheese into the pasta shells, approx. 1 tsp per shell and lay in an ovenproof dish.

Pour the sauce over the pasta.  Top with grated (vegan) cheese if desired and bake in a pre-heated 200C oven for 30 minutes.  Serve with warm garlic bread and salad.
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