Vastly improved from a pretty bland recipe from here.
I'm about to embark on my student teaching in a junior high English class, and I'm in my last quarter of school before that happens. I made this after a stressful afternoon of sitting at my computer, working on lesson plans.
It's the epitome of comfort food - creamy, starchy, and solid in the tummy. It is also very flavorful, but not too rich, and it tastes like it should have more fat than it does.
Walnuts do have a lot of naturally occuring fat, but these are good omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. However, if you are on a diet, this would be better as a mid-day lunch instead of a late evening stress out snack (which is what I did, oopsies).
1 pound small pasta, such as penne or farfalle (don't use anything coiled like rotini)
2 16 oz bags frozen green peas
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
6 cloves finely minced garlic (I did three roasted, three regular, but all regular garlic will be fine)
3 cups unsweetened soy milk (not plain)
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons margarine
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp sage or poultry seasoning
1-2 teaspoons soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley, minced (don't skip out on this, it really rounds out the flavors of the dish)
1. Toast the chopped walnuts in a pan until fragrant and just slightly browned. Be careful not to overbrown or burn.
2. In a medium saucepan, place the walnuts, soy milk, bay leaves and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly. Just before the mixture boils, remove it from the heat.
3. In another medium saucepan, melt the margarine over medium heat. Gradually add the flour and sugar, whisking until well blended. Cook over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Remove the bay leaves from the soymilk mixture, then pour the liquid into the flour mixture and whisk well. Add the soy sauce, lemon juice, sage or poultry seasoning, and brewer's yeast. Simmer for 25 minutes, until thickened. Add cornstarch if more thickness is needed - a teaspoon at a time. Keep whisking until your desired thickness is achieved. I liked this a bit on the thin side - a bit thinner than the consistency of alfredo sauce, but this will be just as tasty if it is on the thicker side!
5. Flavor the sauce with salt and pepper.
6. While the sauce is simmering, prepare the pasta to just al-dente and drain, but do not rinse. Add the frozen peas to the pasta, stirring to combine. Add a scant 1/4 cup water to the pasta-pea mixture, put the heat on low, and cover to allow the peas to fully defrost for about five minutes.
7. Plate the pasta and peas, ladle some sauce on top (I used about 1/4 cup), garnish with fresh parsley, and chow down om nom nom!