Sunday, May 20, 2012

Raw Butternut Fettucini with Creamy Cilantro Nutfredo

I was born exactly 9 years to the day before the first moon walk, on which date the lunar surface was discovered to be covered Before that, people really had no idea what the moon was made of. Really. I remember one theory, quite popular when I was a child, that the moon was made of green cheese. Yes, people used to actually say this; I have no idea why. Not that I ever believed it, but in honor of tonight's new moon and annular eclipse of the sun, I felt inspired to make some Green Cheese of my own.

I had organic cilantro in the fridge, and a loose recipe for Cashew-Cilantro Paté swiped from an old vegan boyfriend of mine, but only a handful of raw cashews remaining in the nut jar. So, I improvised on the cheese, as I am wont to do. And then, inspiration struck! I remembered that I had a nice, big, smooth butternut squash in the pantry...and Raw Butternut Fettucini with Creamy Cilantro Nutfredo was born.

To create this dish, start by making a batch of Vegan Green Cheese as a base for the Creamy Cilantro Nutfredo. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of any combination of the following raw nuts and seeds: cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts or brazil nuts. You can see I used about 2/3 raw pumpkin seeds, and 1/3 mixed cashews and macadamias.
Put your nut/seed combination in a bowl, cover by about an inch or two of fresh water, and soak for one hour. When time's up, drain soaked nuts/seeds and place in a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Add 2 Tbs virgin raw coconut oil and 1/4 tsp sea salt (I love the Himalayan pink salt, as you know, but any good quality sea salt will do).
Then pulse and process until contents attain the consistency of a coarse meal.
To this coarse meal, add the juice of 2 or 3 lemons; 1 tsp your choice coconut aminos, Bragg's liquid aminos or tamari; 2 Tbs nutritional yeast; 4 Tbs of water; and 2 large cloves garlic, minced. Process this all together for a while, until things start to get creamy (it may be necessary to add a bit more water to facilitate creaming). When the cheese has balled up and come together nicely, add 1/2 cup (packed) chopped cilantro,
and pulse that in. This is your Vegan Green Cheese.
Put Green Cheese into an airtight container and refrigerate while you make your noodles.

Butternut fettucini noodles are ridiculously easy to make. Start by cutting off the long neck of a good-sized butternut squash, and set the seed-filled bulbous portion aside. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin from the neck of the squash,
and then continue peeling off long, orange strips until you have enough for your dinner (and/or you get tired of peeling).
Your squash neck will turn into a beautiful sculpture, by the way,
which can be refrigerated and used another day in, for instance, a tasty squash curry, a creamy butternut soup, or even Raw Pumpkin Pie (butternut squash stands in beautifully for pumpkin in this recipe).

To "cook" the fettucini, it is necessary to marinate the butternut strips in a little oil to which has been added salt and an acid, just like we do for Massaged Kale. For today's marinade, I used 2 Tbs olive oil, 2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar, 1/4 tsp each of Himalayan pink salt and ground black pepper, and the last of some dried Thai basil I had kicking around, just to add a little extra flavor. I also added a teaspoon of Mirin (Japanese white cooking wine), just because I could, but that's totally optional. If you don't have white balsamic, use lemon juice and a splash of agave instead.

Stir marinade ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, then add the raw butternut noodles, and toss. Allow noodles to sit for at least half an hour in order to soften up, tossing from time to time to keep them all evenly coated.
When the noodles are done (al dente, naturally), it's time to assemble the Fettucini Nutfredo. Measure out about 3 Tbs of Vegan Green Cheese per serving, and place this in a medium sized bowl. Heat up some water on the stove; then little by little, use a fork to blend warm water into the cheese, gradually thinning and transforming it into a thick, creamy sauce of your preferred consistency. Voila! Creamy Cilantro Nutfredo!

Spoon Nutfredo sauce onto the marinated butternut fettucini. Toss gently and thoroughly until all your noodles are well coated with delectabe, saucy goodness.
Transfer to plate(s), and garnish with a sprinkle of any chopped green herb you prefer (I used fresh chives from my garden, along with their pretty purple flowers, but more cilantro would be lovely, too, as would parsley).
This meal takes far less time to prepare than the finished masterpiece would suggest, with plenty of leftover Vegan Green Cheese as a bonus. This will last for up to one week in the fridge, and can be used as a spread, a dip, a filling (for celery ribs, nori rolls, romaine wraps) - sky's the limit. Which reminds me. There's a Ring of Fire annular eclipse happening tonight. The oracle says this brings great opportunity for self-knowing and transformation. May it be so with you, and all your relations.

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