on the very first day of vegan mofo this year, my pal jojo wrote an epic post outlining all of her favorite mac & cheese recipes, and there were so many awesome ones i hadn’t tried that i bookmarked her post with a quickness. one of them stood out right away, though: the roasted red pepper mac & cheese in isa does it. i bought isa’s book the instant it came out (pre-ordered, in fact!), but i have done a terrible job cooking or baking out of it. i need to get serious with the post-its and the planning. anyscoot, i love roasted red peppers in my mac & cheese (stay tuned for more of that next week!), and i adore isa, so giving this recipe a try seemed like a no-brainer.
if you don’t have the book yet, fear not, because isa also posted the recipe for this tasty dish on her blog, and it even includes a friggin’ fantastic video. yay!
i had most of the ingredients on hand already, with the exception of the cashews, so i made sure to grab some of those on my trader joe’s run this weekend. this recipe involves a pretty minimal amount of putzing; you have to chop onions and garlic, and do a little sautéing, but other than that you basically throw everything in the vitamix and let it work its magic.
on a related note: i have never soaked nuts before, but then i learned that if you have a vitamix you can skip that step (woo!), so i decided to throw caution to the wind and not bother with the soaking. i was a little nervous, but i’m happy to report that it worked perfectly well! here’s how the sauce looked post-vitamixing, after it was back on the stove to get thickened up:
so velvety! i let the vitamix run for awhile, so it was already probably halfway there by the time i put it back in the pan. once it thickened, i added the pasta (cavatappi ftw!) and got to stirring:
and then i tried to restrain myself, because it looked so good that i wanted to start eating it right out of the pan. oh! i should mention that this recipe makes A LOT of sauce (isa has said she prefers it ‘saucy’), so although the recipe calls for 8oz of pasta, i made the whole 1lb box. i have never not made an entire 1lb box, so i didn’t really see any reason to break my streak. some helpful little birdies at the ppk let me know that a whole box should be no problem, and they were absolutely right. just look at all that sauce!
once i was done taking all my glamour shots, i got down to business and grabbed my fork. i often put fresh-ground pepper on top of my mac & cheese, but for this debut i wanted to eat it plain and really get the full flavor of it. it’s super delicious, you guys. very velvety, and the italian seasonings in the sauce give it a nice savory edge. i really liked it a lot, and so did erik, who wandered downstairs to fix a bowl for himself. hooray for isa!
still, as delicious as this recipe is (and it definitely is! i’m excited to have some more for lunch tomorrow), it hasn’t unseated my all-time favorite. i’ll be back next week to wax all poetical and junk.