There was no particular recipe which inspired this dish. The dish draws upon both western vegan and Indian techniques and ingredients.
For the pasta
- 200 grams / 7 ounces of pasta (dry weight)
For the cashew paste
- 15 cashew nuts
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the sauce
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 5 fresh curry leaves
- 1 green chilli
- 1 onion
- 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups butternut squash purée
- pinch of sugar
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
Set the cashews to soak in a bowl of warm water and set them aside.
Purée the onion and green chilli. If you don’t have ginger-garlic paste, purée ginger and garlic as well (2 parts garlic to 1 part ginger). Set the onion-chilli-ginger-garlic paste aside.
Purée the tomatoes and set them aside.
Heat the oil in a deep cooking pan such as a wok. When it is hot, reduce the heat to medium and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the onion paste. Stir frequently and cook the mixture until the raw smell leaves the onion, about 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. When it comes to a boil, add a generous amount of salt and then allow it to come to a boil again.
Add the turmeric to the pan and mix well, then add the tomato purée and a pinch of sugar. Simmer for some time, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the butternut squash purée to the tomato mixture and allow it to simmer gently for about 10 minutes while you stir occasionally. When it is done, add the garam masala and salt to taste, then add the frozen peas and set the sauce aside. You can remove the curry leaves at this point if you do not want your diners to have to pick them out of the final dish.
After adding the squash to the pan, preheat the oven to 180° Celsius/350° Fahrenheit.
While the squash is cooking, cook the pasta according to the directions on the package in the boiling salted water. (I used large seashells, which took 19 minutes to cook to al dente.) Drain the pasta and set it aside.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare a cashew paste. Combine the cashews with the salt, nutritional yeast, and the minimum amount of water needed to make a smooth paste. Purée the cashews and set them aside.
Mix the pasta well with the sauce and put it in a baking dish. Dot the top of the pasta with the cashew paste. Bake for 30-45 minutes, uncovered.