Hello to all my nutty friends. It’s Michelle from the Rancho Vignola office. This recipe brings up many mixed emotions for me; let me explain. I have been a Rancho customer for 10 years and have been working for this fine company for the past two years. It was not until recently that Indra Vignola finally shared this incredible recipe. She had been sitting on this for almost two years waiting for the perfect time to bring forth this masterpiece. We all need comfort, and this definitely needs to be shared with the world.
My fam was recently requesting some boxed, slightly unhealthy comfort food and requested mac and cheese for dinner. I was pumped to give Indra’s recipes a go but was not met with the same excitement. After a day of grumbling and trying their best to convince me that our true happiness lay in a box of dried pasta and powdered cheese sauce, my family finally succumbed to my pressure. As we sat down in silence to consume another family dinner together the tension/disappointment could have been cut with a knife.
Then came the first forkful and a quick glance at each other. As their forks kept digging in deeper into each plate, the twinkle came back into my family’s eyes, but who would be the first to break the silence?… well, of course it would be me, momma bear, who loved gloating about how delicious our dinner tasted. It was unanimous, smiles filled the dining room and love was back in the air. This is amazing and has been requested many times since in my household.
Best mac and cheese recipe ever. Try it; you won’t be disappointed!
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 6 to 8 hours until soft (alternatively, you can quick-soak the cashews in boiling water for 30 minutes)
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 lemon, juiced (about 3 tbsp)
- 4 cloves roasted garlic; reduce to one clove if using raw, BUT roasted is better (Did you know that roasted garlic can be frozen to use when needed? I roast a bunch of bulbs, peel them and freeze for later.)
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard (yellow mustard can be substituted)
Optional flavourings, added to taste:
- I always add a 1/4 tsp each of cumin and paprika or 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric will make it more cheesy-yellow and add a bit more depth of flavour!
- 1/2 tsp of onion powder is also a tasty addition.
- 1/2 cup panko; you can use coarse breadcrumbs if you can’t find panko
- 1/4 cup raw pine nuts, chopped – you can use other nuts as well, such as macadamias, walnuts or pistachios too!
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp melted butter or oil
- 1 lb macaroni pasta or pasta of choice
- Preheat oven to 220˚C/425˚F.
- While making the cashew sauce, bring a pot of salted water to boil, and cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Blend all cashew sauce ingredients in a blender with just enough water to get it moving, starting with 3/4 cup and adding more slowly if needed; blend until silky smooth for best results.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain and then mix together with cashew sauce.
- Transfer to a 9” deep-dish pie plate or casserole container.
- Mix together all crust ingredients and then spread evenly over the mac and cheese.
- Place in oven on middle rack and bake until crust is golden brown for 15 to 25 minutes.
Not only is this dish outstanding when enjoyed right away, it freezes very well too. Just put it in the freezer before the final bake for an exceptional and easy meal at a later date.
Side note: yes, I have forgiven Indra.
Enjoy, and you are welcome.
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