A rich and creamy twist on a classic homemade red pasta sauce. Cashews provide the creamy richness and anchovies the umami. This easy, homemade pasta sauce will delight you whole family.
The pasta sauce story
When I first was learning to cook, I watched whatever food TV shows that I could find. In the 90’s, there weren’t that many like there are today. I remember watching Julia Child and Jeff Smith. It was on one of the few shows on that I watched a TV cook make pasta sauce with oysters!
That seems so wrong to me but it also ignited my curiosity. I was drawn to this recipe. With pen in hand I wrote it down and against my better judgment, I made it AND loved it!
I didn’t know then about umami or glutamate receptors, just that oysters in pasta sauce was weird. I have since made this sauce so many times I don’t even follow a recipe. I especially love making this with backyard tomatoes, oh so YUM! When I have a gluttony of backyard tomatoes, I pop them into a freezer bag and throw them in the freezer whole. This lets me have yummy pasta sauce all Winter long. I just thaw them and their skins pop right off, so easy.
I have since moved on from oysters to anchovies. I get the same great umami but it’s actually even easier than oysters. The anchovies disintegrate when sautéing with the onions and I don’t have to chop any oysters to unrecognizable size pieces. It’s nicely salted too.
I made one more change to my favorite sauce recipe, I added cashew sauce. I only recently learned about this from the vegan cook that works in our cafeteria. It’s his favorite sauce that’s really a blank canvas. You can add almost any essence to the ground cashews and water and it will take on the flavor of your additions. Garlic and salt are common as well as smoked paprika. I guess this is only limited to your imagination.
When I added the cashew sauce to the pasta sauce, I immediately knew it was a great match. The sauce took on a rich, creamy taste and texture. I think the cashews made my favorite pasta sauce even better.
I hope you try this amazingly easy and tasty sauce, just don’t tell your kids the secret ingredient (I will never tell).
A creamy, rich pasta sauce perfectly seasoned with anchovies and cashews.
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 Tbs minced garlic
- 2 oz can of anchovies
- 2 Tbs Italian seasoning blend ( may sub basil, thyme, oregano)
- 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
- 1 cup of cashews
- 1 cup water
- Pasta of your choice
- Optional Garnish: fresh herbs and asiago or parmesan cheese.
- Place first 4 ingredients in a dutch oven, sauté until onion is translucent over medium high heat.
- Add next 2 ingredients and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While vegetables are cooking, place cashews and water in a blender or food processor and blend until a thick sauce is rendered.
- Add cashew sauce to pot, stir, cook over medium heat for another 20 minutes.
- Cook pasta according to pasta package directions.
- Garnish with herbs and cheese.