This super easy recipe makes enough sauce to cover your weeknight dinner with leftovers and still have some to freeze for an even faster “starvation to satiation” transition. Initially, there is a time commitment to making this sauce well, as letting the tomatoes simmer and the sauce reduce and concentrate will make for a much more rich and satisfying tomato flavour. Commit to at least 90 minutes to two hours. If you come home from work, put the tomatoes on and soak the cashews before you do your post work workout. Then you can finish the final steps after your shower in about 30 minutes.
This tomato sauce is inspired by the famous Marcella Hazan sauce. Hers is equally simple with an ingredient many athletes will balk to include: butter. For this recipe, you can omit the butter if you like as there is a rich and creamy element added with the cashews, but I would invite you to try the classic Hazan recipe with anywhere from ¼ to ½ cup of butter added. It is magical. For this athlete-friendly recipe, I have omitted the butter as the idea was to make a heart-healthy “creamy” sauce.
Most cream-based rose sauces contain one cup of heavy cream to add the rich and creamy texture a rose sauce demands. This adds 821 calories and 88 g of fat to the sauce, 28 g of which are saturated. Instead ½ cup of cashews contains 340 calories and 26 g of fat, 2 g of saturated and 10 g of heart healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats. Omitting this ingredient and substituting as I am suggesting will not at all affect your enjoyment of the dish and I will suggest no one would be able to tell whether there was milk ingredients or not! Please try this vegan inspired dish and test it with your friends and family. My guess is it will be a hit.
The beauty of this recipe is you can easily modify to accommodate gluten free and vegan friends you wish to dine with. I have put the small adjustments in brackets if you choose to go this route.
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half (if you are doing a chunky rather than pureed sauce you need to dice the onion)
2x 796 ml or 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes (no salt)
1 tsp sea salt
½ cup cashews (cover with water and let sit for at least 2 hours if not overnight)
454 g or 1 lb of pasta (whatever you like-make this gluten free if you choose)
1 bunch beet greens
1 bunch lacinato kale
6 hot Italian turkey sausage (omit or use a vegan substitute to avoid meat)
Parmesan cheese (or vegan cheese)
2. Place the tinned tomatoes in a pot with the onion (you don’t have to chop the onion at all, I usually just skin it and chop in half. Add the salt and simmer on medium. You want the temperature warm enough to simmer and reduce the juice but not so hot the sauce will burn on to the bottom. Leave the pot for a long time with no lid. Keep an eye on what is happening but don’t bother stirring unless you are checking the bottom. You want it to concentrate down but NOT to burn.
3. Put a large pot on the stove with water in it to boil for the pasta. Add some salt to the pot but do not add oil.
4. Add the pasta to the water to boil. While it is cooking drain the water from the cashews and rinse. Add all the nuts to a Vitamix or blender with 2 to 3 ladles of the tomato sauce.
5. Puree the cashews until smooth. Add the cashew/tomato mixture back to the pot of tomatoes and use an immersion blender to puree the rest of the sauce. This is optional. If you prefer chunks in your sauce then omit this step but you then may need to dice the onion at the beginning.
6. When the pasta is al dente and has about 2-3 more minutes to cook, add the greens to the boiling water. Chook the greens until they are blanched to your liking. You will need one mintue or less for kale, maybe 2-3 minutes epending on how wide the beet stalks are for beet greens. Drain the pasta and run cold water over the pasta and vegetables to rinse and stop cooking. Just before serving, pour water boiled in a kettle over the colander to reheat and pour the pasta and vegetables into a serving bowl.
7. Pour half of the sauce over the pasta and add cooked sliced sausage and cheese if you choose. Todss like a large warm salad and serve. The other half of the sauce should be frozen in the freezer for your next tomato sauce based meal.