Linguine with Creamy Nut Sauce

Our Spring has been so fickle this year! One day it is beautiful and warm, and the next two weeks it will be cloudy, stormy, and cold. It is really hard to get into the mood for Spring dishes with weather like this! And, I've been trying! 

I made a Spring Risotto with mushrooms, ramps, cheddar cheese, and nettles that was good, but not great.

I made a edamame, soybean, and sea green salad with creamy miso dressing that was passable the first day and inedible the second day. :(

I made some barley and tossed it with a delicious green onion sauce, toasted walnuts, and asparagus that was fantastic - thanks to Super Natural Cooking

And yet, none of these dishes have transported me into a Spring-time mood. My bi-weekly CSA box has helped. Here's what we got in the box this week!

On the left are Egyptian Walking Onions. They are amazing! I am loving them in tossed salads - they are just a little stronger than green onions. We also got spinach, a salad mix, red radishes, hon tsai tai (similar to mustard greens but lighter), asparagus, rhubarb, and green garlic. 

Plus, even though the Minnesota Twins haven't had the most stellar season so far, we have been able to go to a couple of games and Oreo even got into the spirit... well, maybe... :)

My favorite dish I've made over the last few weeks is Linguine with Creamy Nut Sauce. It's filling and is a great way to incorporate some vitamin-rich leafy greens without the picky eaters knowing!

The creamy nut sauce is made by finely chopping cashews (other nuts work too) and making a roux with them. I chopped the cashews to a coarse cornmeal texture, but if you want a smoother texture, run the food processor a little longer, stirring every once in a while to ensure a consistent texture.

This does come together pretty quickly; however, there isn't a lot of downtime. The sauce ends up being pretty thick at the end, so use some reserved pasta water to thin it to your preference. I prefer a sauce that is the thickness of cream, versus a sauce the thickness of peanut butter or skim milk. 

The flavor of this sauce is amazing. I really liked it on linguine, but other long noodle shapes would work well too. Enjoy!

Linguine with Creamy Nut Sauce
4 servings, 45 minutes

8 ounces linguine
1/2 cup unsalted cashews (or walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts)
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup finely chopped sorrel (or arugula or other spicy green leafy vegetable)
1 teaspoon oil
2 Field Roast sausages, italian flavor
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the linguine and stir well to prevent the noodles from sticking together. Cook until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water, and set aside.
  2. Use a food processor to grind the cashews to the consistency of coarse meal (or finer if you prefer, just avoid making it into butter). 
  3. Make the roux: Heat a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and when it melts, add the ground nuts. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes fragrant, which takes a minute or two. Turn the heat down to medium-low and continue cooking and stirring until the mixture darkens to a beautiful caramel color. Don't let it get too dark because you don't want the nuts to burn. Sprinkle with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  4. Stir the sorrel to the roux and cook for a couple of minutes. 
  5. Pour in a couple tablespoons of the cream and stir well to blend into the roux. A whisk works well for this if you are finding a lot of lumps. Once the cream has been incorporated into the roux, add a little more cream and stir well. Continue this process until all the cream has been used. 
  6. Gently cook the sauce without boiling, stirring frequently, for about 5-7 minutes to thicken and blend the flavors. Taste and adjust the seasoning. 
  7. Once the sauce is finished, use the reserve pasta water to thin out the sauce as needed. It is easier to thin the sauce before tossing it with the pasta. Use as much or as little pasta water as you prefer. (If you'd rather, milk or vegetable broth can also be used to thin the sauce.) When the sauce is the correct thickness, toss with the pasta.
  8. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Slice the Field Roast sausages while the skillet is heating. Add the oil to the skillet and then add the sausages. Lightly brown on one side, then flip over and let brown on the second side. Total cooking time is less than 5 minutes. Add to pasta and toss gently.
  9. Serve immediately. Goes great with sauteed garlic and asparagus and fresh tangelo wedges.

Print this recipe. Inspired by How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman.

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