Artichoke & Shitake Pasta with Creamy Butternut Squash Tomato Sauce


I love my weekly mushroom lunches. Today, I defrosted a serving of my butternut squash tomato sauce, mixed in a little cashew cream, added in a few artichokes and tossed it all together with big fat rigatonis. I also found some gorgeous, local basil at Whole Foods for a lovely garnish.

This is a non-recipe recipe. I don’t know how much I used exactly so you have to figure out the portions for how ever many you are serving.

Shitakes, chopped
Artichoke hearts, chopped
Butternut squash tomato sauce
Cashew cream (see recipe below)
Basil, chiffonade

Get the pasta going.

Place the shitakes in a nonstick skillet. Cook on medium heat until the shitakes begin to sweat and smell good. Add the artichoke hearts and a bit of tomato sauce and cashew cream. When it looks nice and creamy, adding more of either if necessary, lower the heat.

Add the pasta and toss well. Garnish with basil. Enjoy!

Cashew Cream (makes about 1 cup)
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup filtered water
The zest of about half a lemon
The juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (nooch)
1 small clove of garlic

Place all ingredients into the Vitamix. Soak the cashews if you don’t have a Vitamix. Let it rip until super smooth. Store in an airtight container.

Butternut Squash Tomato Sauce


And this is definitely the end of butternut squash season. Spring is here in NYC!

I used half of the butternut squash yesterday for Taco Tuesday and today I made this recipe which I totally lifted from Chef Anne Burrell of “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef” on the Food Network. I have ben making my variation of it for years. The original recipe is already vegan and the combo of tomatoes and butternut squash is fantastic.

On it’s own, butternut squash can be sweet but with the crushed red pepper and the tomatoes it takes on a whole different flavor profile. In the original recipe, it is served with fregula or couscous which of course is great. Mostly, though, I use my potato masher to mash the squash into the sauce for a thick pasta sauce with a little kick.


1/2 onion
1 leek
Pinch salt
Pinch crushed red pepper
1 clove garlic
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
2 cups water or vegetable stock
About 2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 bunch chives

Dice the onion and clean and slice the leek. Water sauté the onion and leek in a soup pot. Season with a pinch of salt and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

When the onions and leeks are translucent and smell great, press the garlic and add to the pot. Sauté for a minute or so until the garlic smells great too.

Pass the tomatoes through a food mill and then add the tomatoes to the pot. Add 2 cups of water to the pot. Season with another pinch of salt and cook over a medium flame for about 10 minutes, reducing the water significantly.

Peel and dice the squash into small cubes. Add to the pan and cook until the squash is cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the pot and add more water or stock if the sauce seems to dry or if too wet, let it cook a little longer.

Finely chop the chives and mix them in. Use immediately on couscous or pasta. Or freeze it an enjoy at a later date. Either way, enjoy!