It's hard to imagine making fettuccine Alfredo without butter or cheese, but that's just what Lisa Dawn Angerame did for her new book "Wait, That's Vegan?!"(Page Street Publishing, $21.99).
The whole concept of the book is creating plant-based meals that traditionally rely on meat, dairy or eggs. That means lentil Bolognese, barbecue-style tempeh, fajitas made with portobello mushrooms, an eggless egg salad, a cheeseless mac and cheese and pecan pie squares made without butter.
Many of these dishes are staples that people might crave when they cut back on eating animal products, and this fettuccine Alfredo is no exception. When I showed this dish to a friend who doesn't eat dairy, she flipped. The Alfredo sauce is based on a cashew cream mixed with nutritional yeast, white miso, nutmeg and ume plum vinegar, all of which replicate the flavor and texture of butter and Parmesan cheese. To top things off, Angerame uses a Microplane to shave a macadamia nut into a Parmesan-like garnish.
It is said that fettuccine Alfredo was invented by Alfredo di Lelio at his restaurant in Rome, in an effort to sweet-talk his wife into eating after she gave birth to their son. He presented her with a bowl of fettuccine tossed with butter and Parmesan. Who wouldn't want to eat that? I know I would, but it is decidedly not vegan - so what is a girl to do? Reinvent it! The Parmesan is replaced by a creamy sauce made from cashews, pine nuts, miso and ume plum vinegar. And it's tossed with vegan butter for a decadent dish that is quite possibly even more delicious than Mr. di Lelio's! This makes more sauce than you will need for this recipe. Store the rest in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to three months. If it has thickened up, add a splash of water and mix well. You can make your own vegan butter using coconut oil or aquafaba as a base, or you can use a store-bought option.
- Lisa Dawn Angerame
For the cashew cream:
• 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
• 3/4 cup water
For the Alfredo sauce:
• 1/4 cup pine nuts
• 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
• 2 tablespoons melted refined coconut oil
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon mellow white miso
• 1 tablespoon ume plum vinegar
• Dash of nutmeg (10 scrapes on a Microplane)
• Dash of white pepper
• Pinch of salt
• 1/2 pound uncooked fettuccine
• 2 tablespoons vegan butter (homemade or store-bought)
• 1 macadamia nut, a few scrapes on a Microplane
To make the cashew cream, add the cashews and water to a blender. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes until combined. Test the texture by dipping a spoon into the mix. If it is grainy, keep blending, adding a splash or two of water, until it is the perfectly smooth texture of cream. You should have about 1 cup.
To make the Alfredo sauce, add the cup of cashew cream, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, oil, lemon juice, miso, vinegar, nutmeg, pepper and salt to a blender. Blend until smooth.
To make the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the water, and put the pasta back into the same pot. Add the butter and use tongs to coat the noodles.
Pour about half of the sauce over the pasta and use tongs to mix well. Add a little pasta water to make the sauce silky.
Portion the pasta out into individual serving bowls. Top with shaved macadamia. Serves 4.
- From "Wait, That's Vegan?!: Plant-Based Meatballs, Burgers, Steaks and Other Dishes You Thought You'd Never Eat Again!" by Lisa Dawn Angerame (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)