August is here, and with it comes the reminder that summer is almost over. Children are preparing to go back to school and adults are making plans for their last few weekends of the season. This Penne Primavera with Avocado Cashew Cream from Robin Robertson‘s Nut Butter Universe captures the light, fresh tastes of summer and lets you savor them throughout the months to come. Penne pasta is used in this recipe, but any bite-sized pasta will work well. This dish is best if eaten immediately after prepared since the sauce may begin to turn brown if made in advance.

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 16 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1 small carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 small zucchini or yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup hot vegetable broth or water, or more if needed
  • 1 to 2 ripe Hass avocados, halved 
and pitted
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper
  • Plain unsweetened almond milk, if needed
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves or parsley
  • Whole fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Cook the penne in a large pot of salted boiling water, stirring occasionally, until it is tender, about 10 minutes. About 5 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the broccoli and carrots. About 2 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the zucchini. Drain the cooked pasta and vegetables well and return to the pot.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, combine the drained cashews, garlic, and broth in a high-speed blender or food processor. Process until smooth and well blended. Peel and pit the avocado and add it to the food processor along with the scallions, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Process until smooth and creamy. For a thinner sauce, add some almond milk, if needed. For a thicker sauce, add additional avocado. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
  3. Add the sauce to the pot containing the drained cooked pasta and vegetables. Add the tomatoes and chopped basil and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately, garnished with the whole basil leaves.

Serves 4

From Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson. ©2013 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press. Photo by Lori Maffei.

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