Creamy Carrot-Cashew Mac & "Cheese"

Creamy Carrot-Cashew Mac & "Cheese"

YIELDS: 4 Servings PREP TIME: 20 mins COOK TIME: 25 mins  TOTAL TIME: 45 mins

1 package orecchiette, elbow macaroni, ziti, or pasta of your choice
2 shallots, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
2 cups water
¼ cup raw cashews
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
3 tbsp white miso paste
Carrot Top Gremolata
½ cup carrots tops (the leafy parts)
½ cup Italian parsley
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp lemon zest
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup olive oil
Toasted Panko
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Drizzle of olive oil
Pinch of salt and granulated garlic
Tools 
Large pot 
Medium saucepan 
Food processor 

  1. Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions.
  2. To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant and golden, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the carrots, cashews, water, salt, and pepper. Bring to boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.
  6. Stir in the miso paste, remove from heat, and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Once the carrots have cooled slightly, transfer to a high speed blender. Begin blending on the lowest setting then gradually increase speed and blend until silky smooth, about 2 minutes.
  8. Drain the pasta, return to the pot, and stir in the sauce.
  9. For the gremolata, place the carrot tops, parsley, lemon zest, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  10. Add the salt and olive oil and pulse a few more times until everything is incorporated.
  11. Place the panko in a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with just enough olive oil to lightly coat, add a pinch of salt and granulated garlic. Cook, stirring often, until golden, about 5 minutes.
  12. Divide the pasta between bowls, sprinkle with the toasted panko, and spoon some of the gremolata over the top.