Rigatoni with roasted garlic and cannellini “cream” sauce

Last night I was feeling a little icky and I was craving cream sauce (first time I’ve craved ‘dairy’ since giving it up!). I did want to cook dinner being that it was Valentines Day and all, but I was having a hard time coming up with anything. I have seen cannellini beans on a million vegan cookery sites, but had never used them before. I can tell you now that cannellini beans are my new favorite bean!!

  • 2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 head roasted garlic
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 6 cups spinach, washed
  • 8 baby portobellos, sliced
  • 1 large box whole wheat rigatoni, cooked and drained
  • olive oil, salt, pepper

Roasted Garlic: slice the top off a head of garlic, drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top, wrap in tinfoil and roast in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes – until garlic is golden brown and soft.

Sauce:  Heat cannellini beans, 3/4 cup stock and Italian seasoning in a sauce pan. Break down beans with the back of a wooden spoon as they cook until a creamy texture is achieved. Add 1/4 to 1/2 of the roasted garlic head (just squeeze it out of the skin), depending on your love of garlic, and nutritional yeast and cook for another few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Finish sauce by pureeing in blender until very smooth. It should be slightly thick in order to hang on to the ridges on the rigatoni. Add more broth if necessary to thin.

In a large saute pan, cook sliced mushrooms in a bit of olive oil until they are *just* browned. (I removed them from the pan and added them on top of the finished pasta with sauce because currently I am the only mushroom lover in te house). Add spinach and cook until just beginning to wilt (only a minute or 2). Add in cooked rigatoni and saute until heated through again if necessary. Top with sauce and toss gently.

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