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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fettucine with (vegan) White Pesto

Oh my, this is my 300th post!

One of my pet peeves about special diet (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, sugar-free, whatever) cooking is the convention of naming a recipe after a foodstuff that it kinda sorta resembles if you pinch your nose and squint real hard while you eat (e.g. Mock Sausage, Sugar-Free Caramel, Scrambled You-Won't-Believe-They-Aren't-Eggs, and all those plant-based "cheeze" sauces out there).

C'mon (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, sugar-free, whatever) folks...you know these are tasty recipes that stand on their own without trying to stand on the shoulders of a "missing" ingredient.  The practice reeks of an inferiority complex and besides, you're inevitably setting your dining companions up for failed expectations if you tell them you will be serving something like is *almost* like sausage/cheese/eggs/etc. but isn't.

This is one such recipe.  It's from Christian Pirello of Christina Cooks and she calls it Vegan Fettucine Alfredo.  Actual alfredo sauce is buttered heavy cream, cooked down until it's super-thick and finished with fistfuls of parmesan cheese.  It's a heart attack in a pot.

This heart-healthier, plant-based "fettucine alfredo" is really NOTHING like real fettucine alfredo.  My husband made the snooty-face when he first tasted it because he was expecting something alfredo-y.

What it IS is awfully darn good once you get around that misnomer.  Once he got over his "this isn't alfredo" reaction, my husband loved it (ofc he did sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top of his, because pasta just isn't pasta until there's a flurry of parmesan on top in his world).

What the recipe IS is a white pesto...the only difference between this dish and a "true" white pesto is the relatively small amount of parmesan cheese which is understudied in the vegan production by miso paste.  No need to pretend like it's alfredo...it's pesto!

My one serious deviation from her recipe (aside from changing the name) is to omit sweetener.  I'm not quite sure why, but she feels the need to put brown rice syrup in everything.  This dish doesn't need it.

Lastly, the pesto (as with all pestos) can be made in advance and frozen. Just thaw it and add it to cooked pasta.

Fettucine with vegan white pesto
Makes 3-4 servings

1 cup pine nuts

1 tablespoon white miso (or parmesan cheese)

2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


8 oz. fettuccine

Black pepper

Blend pine nuts and miso/parm in a food processor.  Add vinegar and garlic.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil while processor is running.  Add water a tablespoonful at a time until the sauce is creamy but still fairly thick.  

Meanwhile cook fettucine according to package directions.  Drain well, reserving a bit of cooking water just in case.  Return pasta to its cooking pot and toss with sauce.  Heat over medium for 1-2 minutes to warm through.  Add a bit of cooking water if needed to thin sauce.  Sprinkle with black pepper to serve, if desired. Pin It

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