Butternut, Cashew, and Sage Pasta

A healthy and nutritious take on creamy pasta sauce, made with soaked cashew nuts and roast butternut squash. This makes a deliciously comforting and substantial midweek supper.

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Cashews, once soaked, blend really well into sauces to add creaminess (as well as healthy fats, protein and various essential minerals) and so are a useful ingredient if you are wishing to be more plant based or avoid dairy. Here I’ve blended them with roasted butternut squash and caramelized onions. This remains one of Willow’s favourite sauces and I use it in many recipes. It’s a winning recipe to have up your sleeve and a few portions stored in the freezer for busy days.


60g cashews
400ml hot water
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into bite-size pieces
1 onion, peeled and cut into wedges
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage (plus extra to garnish)
400g pasta of choice
a grating of Pecorino Romano, Parmesan or vegan alternative (optional)


Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan.

Pour the hot water over the cashews and leave to soak for 20 minutes.

Prepare your butternut squash and place in a roasting tray along with the onion wedges and a little salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until soft.

When cooked, allow to cool slightly, then take a third of the roasted vegetable mixture and blend in a high-speed blender with the sage leaves and the cashew/water mixture. Add a little more water if it is looking too thick to blend. You are aiming for a sauce consistency. Transfer to a pan and warm through gently.

Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to the packet instructions and drain. Stir the sauce into your cooked pasta of choice and add the rest of the vegetables and a sprinkling of fresh sage leaves. Top with grated Parmesan or Pecorino or vegan alternative (optional).

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