Vegan Spicy Fusilli
This recipe is adapted from Jon & Vinny's famous dish in Los Angeles. It's one of my absolute favorites, and now it's not only creamy, spicy, and indulgent, but it's also vegan. You can easily make this gluten free as well.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 2 tbsp vodka
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 lb fusilli
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil + more for garnish
For the Cashew Cream
- 1 cup cashews* (see recipe note #1)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp tapioca starch (sometimes called tapioca flour)
- In a high powered blender, add the cashews and water and blend until completely smooth. If there is any graininess to the cream, keep blending. This takes a couple of minutes.
- Once the cream is smooth, add the tapioca starch and blend again for another 30 seconds. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until softened, stirring occasionally — about 3 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until paste is brick red and starts to caramelize — about 5 minutes.
- Add vodka and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is mostly evaporated — about 2 minutes.
- Add cream and red pepper flakes and use a whisk to incorporate until well blended. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta, but reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid.
- Add pasta to the skillet with sauce along with vegan butter and 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until butter has melted, all of the cream is incorporated, and a thick, glossy sauce has formed — about 2 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper and add 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (if using — see recipe note #2).
- Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil and toss to coat. Divide pasta among bowls and top with more basil.
- If you are NOT using a high powered blender like a vitamix or a nutribullet, soak the cashews for at least 2h before blending to help get them as smooth as possible. Be sure to drain off the soaking liquid before blending.
- Nutritional yeast has a parmesan cheese-like flavor and brings a little nuttiness to the dish. It’s still delicious without this, but I do highly recommend!