Saturday is a day for no-nonsense cooking. Where Sunday is lazy and slow, Saturday, in our house anyway, is for chores, running the dog, playing in the park and collecting the newly jewelled Autumn leaves as they float to the ground. This is the elf’s first real Autumn – where she doesn’t face plant in the leaves – and I could watch her delight in the leaves all day. Saturday is also the day where we wake, doggedly determined to conquer the mountain of laundry…only to give up sometime in the afternoon. Saturday is busy. And the elf doesn’t even do sports yet! But busy we are and busy it be. Busy days require easy food. Quick, no-nonsense fare. I love this creamy artichoke pasta shell recipe. It is easy. And more importantly…it is YUM. Perfect for a busy Saturday meal.
We don’t eat too much pasta around here – I love it but sometimes at night, it is too much for me. Lunch time is different, at lunch I’ll eat my weight in pasta but dinner is usually lighter. I love these creamy artichoke pasta shells because they are light. The shells are creamy and flavourful enough to hold their own so you can add as little or as much sauce as you like. I dollop. I am a dolloper. But please feel free to drizzle or pour. Also, no cheese or cream means the pasta is airier and less oily. I could honestly eat this until the vegan cows come home.
Roasted artichoke hearts sprinkled with sea salt and stirred through cashew cream spooned in to al dente pasta shells and drizzled in tomato and basil pasta sauce. That’s roasted tomato sauce. Roasting tomatoes just makes them a bit sexy, doesn’t it? Add roast garlic to the mix and I am ready to marry this thing. I absolutely do take these creamy artichoke pasta shells…is that wrong? It’s not cheating if you eat the evidence.
This recipe makes enough for 4 meals and you will still have pasta sauce left over. I use it on our pizzas and because I am always looking to don my Ninja duds and sneak in the veggies, for pizza I add grated zucchini and finely chopped spinach to the tomatoes before blending. Today, however, we are going old school and easy. Roasted tomatoes, roast garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Done.
My creamy artichoke pasta shells are super simple. Simple enough for Saturday. Or Sunday…Monday…
Creamy Artichoke Pasta Shells
- 15 large pasta shells
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight or for several hours
- 1/2 garlic clove chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 tablespoon savoury yeast nutritional yeast
- sea salt to taste
Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce
- 4 vine-ripened tomatoes
- 1/2 garlic globe
- 8-10 fresh basil leaves
- sea salt
- 1 400 ml artichoke hearts drained and rinsed
- olive oil
- cracked pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.
- Place the tomatoes and garlic globe on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt.
- Roast in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until the garlic cloves are soft.
- Remove from the oven to cool.
- Slice the artichoke hearts half and place on another baking tray.
- Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until the leaves begin to golden.
- Remove artichokes from the oven to cool slightly.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta shells.
- Combine the roasted tomatoes, roast garlic, basil and sea salt in a blender and blitz until smooth.
- Clean out the blender and add the cashew cream ingredients and blend until smooth. Add more water if necessary. Transfer to a bowl.
- Roughly chop the roasted artichokes and stir them through the cashew cream. Set aside.
- When the pasta is cooked al dente, lay the shells out on a baking sheet.
- Spoon a generous spoon of artichoke and cashew cream in to each shell.
- Spoon a dollop of tomato sauce over each filled shell.
- If the shells have cooled too much, place them in a baking tray and pop them in the oven for 3 minutes.
- Serve several shells with a little drizzle of olive oil and a crack of black pepper.