You know how you can get something stuck in your head? An opening theme song from an old ‘90s sitcom? The hook from an auto-tuned song cut from a viral video? A plate of fresh pasta you once had from Rasa Bar?

Rasa Bar makes this unreal, too good gnudi pasta with walnut pesto, truffle and mushrooms. I think about it often. It’s the plate that got away. I haven’t been able to get a reservation back there since, so I need my gnudi fix.

So I used a vegan cashew cheese sauce from vegnews.com instead of ricotta cheese. Not trying to be trendy or even particularly healthy because I end up soaking these babies in butter later, I just have a bowl of leftover cashew cheese sauce that I’d like to use up. We’ve been eating tons of cashews this week as Guinea Pig just discovered he isn’t allergic to them after all! Plus the vegan cashew cheese’s texture reminds me of ricotta. Here’s the cashew cheese sauce recipe. It’s super good in mac n cheese and the leftovers are uber good in this gnudi.

Though the gnudi pasta themselves are vegan if you omit the egg, the finishing sauce is definitely not. Butter baby. I’m sure resourceful vegans will find lots of ways to make the sauce vegan (perhaps some olive oil, fresh sage, salt & garlic?), by not drowning it in brown butter like I did and subbing nutritional yeast for the Parmesan in the pesto.

SEND GNUDS…Sorry I couldn’t resist, just like I couldn’t resist eating two more plates of this stuff!

GNUDI INGREDIENTS:
1 head of cauliflower, broken down into florets
1 ½ C all purpose flour
1 egg
1 C leftover cashew cheese sauce (link here)

Salt, hot pepper flakes
2 C semolina flour
3 tbsp butter

PESTO INGREDIENTS:
½ C loosely packed cilantro leaves & stems
1 C loosely packed dill

2 C kale
1 C parmesan
3 garlic cloves
1 ½ C olive oil
salt

GARNISH – Lemon zest, squeeze of 1 lemon wedge, grated Parmesan, black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 425. Roast cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt & hot pepper flakes for 20 – 22 minutes flipping halfway through.
2. To a food processor add flour, egg, pre-made cashew cheese sauce, seasonings and roasted cauliflower florets.
3. Blend until smooth, but don’t over mix.
4. Add a heaping tsp of the cauliflower dough mix into the 1 ½ C semolina flour & loosely roll into a ball. Place the rolled gnudi onto a baking sheet that’s been dusted with remaining semolina flour.
5. Boil water with salt. Add gnudi and once it rises, pop into a cold water bath to stop the cooking process. Let them drain on a plate lined with paper towel to remove excess water.
6. Make the pesto by adding all of the ingredients into a  food processor until smooth.
7. You want to cook them fresh just before serving. Add butter and melt on medium heat. Once you start to smell the butter get nutty and see it turn brown, add gnudi. After 4 minutes, squeeze a wedge of lemon over the pasta.
8. Once brown all over, plate them with drizzled pesto, freshly grated lemon zest, fresh Parmesan and black pepper.

BROWN BUTTER ROAST CAULIFLOWER CASHEW RICOTTA GNUDI WITH PUMPKIN SEED PESTO

© 2017 Michelle Li / miliSashimi