Cavatappi and Nooch with Hot Sauce Croutons
I bought Thug Kitchen’s “Thug 101: Fast as F@ck!” cookbook (Their Official Site is Here) , and I decided to try the cover recipe, cuz the photo had me drooling. Below is what I did, how I did it, and the way in which my husband and I both felt about the endeavor.
First of all, I did not do all of the prep work ahead of time, and I really wish I had. So make sure all your ingredients are prepped before you start! Also, get a big pot of salted water boiling for your pasta!
I began by making the hot sauce croutons. The recipe calls for the hot sauce of your choice and almond milk. The recommended hot sauce is Franks, and after having tasted this dish completed, I would have to agree. Unfortunately, I was out of Franks. I used gochujang, because it was all I had. This turned out yummy, but Franks would have completed the dish in a much more suitable way! Gochujang is a bit sweet and has a little too much sesame oil for the flavors of the dish as a whole. But anyway…
To make the croutons, I took some bread we already had, cut it up, tossed it in olive oil, and threw it into a sauté pan. I tossed it around for awhile on medium heat until it was toasted. Then I threw the sauce/milk mixture in and called them good. (I used organic soy milk, because I did not have any almond milk.)
**Please keep in mind these photos were from my phone, while cooking, no filter…the colors really are not the same, but they will give you an idea as to the process**
Once I finished the bread cubes, I began on the sauce. This is when I realized I should probably also be boiling the water to cook the pasta. Once I got the water started, I began peeling potatoes. (This is really why prep should have been done ahead of time!) Make sure to rinse the potatoes before peeling. Once they are peeled and cubed, you don’t want to rinse them. You want every bit of starch you can get for your nooch sauce!
I sautéed some yellow onion and then threw in the potatoes and carrots with some veggie broth and salt. Then I braised them for 15 minutes until soft. (“Braise” means to pretty much let it lightly bubble with a lid keeping in all the steam.)
Once this was finished cooking, it went into the blender with some nooch (nutritional yeast), more veggie broth, olive oil, and I can’t remember what else (see the actual list of ingredients below). It blended into smooth gooeyness in like 15 seconds!!
While I was doing this, the pasta was cooking. I pulled one out to test it and let it cool for a couple of seconds. I didn’t stop to think about the water inside of the pasta, and I went to take a bite to test it. This is where I burned my lip! Thus, there are not many more photos for you, because at that point, everything became urgent!
Before draining the pasta, frozen peas are to be added for 30 seconds or so. I drained all of that and added the nooch sauce plus grated yellow squash.
This is what it looked like!
To serve, I topped it with the hot sauce croutons. This photo doesn’t do the color of the pasta justice, but here you go:
So yeah! I am definitely going to be making this again and again! The texture was so creamy and amazing. I wasn’t sure why I was adding the grated yellow squash until I reached the point of eating it. The grated squash did this thing where it would hang off the edges of the spoon dripping in sauce, making it seem like real, ooey, gooey, cheese!
My husband makes a plant-based mac and cheez at our restaurant, and he was asking me about the recipe, because this was even better than the one he already gets rave reviews over. YOU MUST TRY THIS!!!!
Things I would do differently: Make sure to use Franks. Make sure to prep all the ingredients before starting. Make doubly sure to not try testing the pasta in my mouth without proper cooling! Cut the recipe in half, cuz a pound of pasta with all of this other stuff in it is way too much for two people, and it didn’t taste nearly as good reheated.
Everything else I would do the same. This dish was mind-blowing!
List of ingredients:
For the Hot Sauce Croutons – 1Tbsp Olive oil, 2 Cups bread cubes, 3Tbsp hot sauce, 1Tbs unsweetened plain almond milk (soy worked fine for me)
For the Nooch Sauce: 1Tbsp olive oil for the onions and 1/4 cup olive oil for the blender, 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion or shallot, 4 cups cubed starchy potatoes, 1.5 cups cubed carrots (I did not peel them), 1 cup veggie broth for braising veggies and 1 cup veggie broth for the blender, 1 cups unsweetened plain almond milk (soy worked fine), 1/2 cup nooch, 2 Tbsp lemon juice (use fresh!!), 1Tbsp Bragg’s or tamari or soy sauce, 1/2tsp salt (we ended up needing a lot more salt than that, but our broth was low-sodium).
For the Rest: 1 pound pasta (cavatappi is my fave!), 2 cups frozen or fresh peas, 2 cups shredded yellow squash.