All of us know and love Peanut butter, and have become acquainted with ever-popular Almond butter. But what about pistachio, walnut, chestnut butters? We seem to forget that we can make our own nut butters with a few ingredients and a blender, and then blank on what to do with them beyond a condiment for toast.
Welcome to the stage: Robin Robertson’s Nut Butter Universe. This salivation-inducing addition to my cookbook collection is about 150 pages of inventive, savory recipes that combine comfort food and international flair.
Recipes include beauties like Scalloped Cashew Potatoes and Cauliflower, Peach Almond Butter Quesadillas, and Tropical Chickpea Brazil Nut Stew. I know! I KNOW! You didn’t know these foods exist and now know, with everything in your soul, you can’t live without them. Who would want to?
Peanut butter is one of Chubby dog’s favorite snacks, so he was particularly excited about this one.
The first recipe I had from this book was Indonesian Gado-Gado (p. 49), prepared by Dianne. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days afterwards, and tried to recreate something like it with raw shredded cabbage and spicy peanut sauce. EVERY recipe I’ve made from Nut Butter Universe is just as addicting, and this has quickly become one of my favorite new cookbooks in 2013.
I’m happy to share this recipe today, which combines two Karpovich household favorites – pesto and peanut sauce. Heaven on earth, right? This recipe can be made gluten and soy-free as well!
Linguine with Thai Pesto
Redolent of garlic, lemongrass, and pungent herbs, this Asian-style pesto makes a fabulous fusion dish when combined with linguine. Most of these ingredients, including the slender, hot Thai chile, are available in supermarkets. Thai basil can be found in Asian markets, as can any of the other ingredients that your regular market may not stock. To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.
2 large cloves garlic
1 Thai bird chile, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, chopped
1 teaspoon natural sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Thai basil leaves
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1/3 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
12 ounces linguine
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Combine the garlic, chile, lemongrass, sugar, and salt in a food processor and process to a paste. Add the basil, cilantro, and parsley and process until finely ground. Add the peanut butter, water, and lime juice and blend thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
Cook the linguine in a large pot of salted water just until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the water. Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding a little of the hot pasta water, if necessary, to thin the sauce. Garnish with peanuts and serve immediately.
From Nut Butter Universe by Robin Robertson. ©2013 Robin Robertson. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press. Photo by Zsu Dever.
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Facebook page for publisher Vegan Heritage Press
And! Here’s that gateway-recipe for Indonesian Gado-Gado