¾ cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1½ cups vegetable or mushroom broth
For the tofu
396g extra–firm tofu, sliced into thin strips
1 tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
For the sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
½ tsp salt, plus a pinch
4 cloves garlic, minced
225g cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tsp dried thyme
½ cup dry white wine
2 tbsp tomato paste
Chopped fresh flatleaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
To get the strips of tofu for this recipe, slice tofu in half through the equator, like a clam. Then slice each half into 0.5cm-thick strips. You should end up with slices that are about 8cm long by 2.5cm wide.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. When it's boiling, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
Drain the cashews and add them to a blender along with the vegetable broth. Blend until very smooth, with only a slight graininess. This could take anywhere from 1-5 minutes depending on the strength of your machine. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula now and again to make sure you get everything.
For the tofu, preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and add the oil. Sauté the tofu along with the salt for 5 minutes or so, until it's just slightly browned. Set the tofu on a plate covered with aluminum foil as you prepare the sauce.
Now on to the sauce. In the same pan in which you cooked the tofu, still on a medium heat, add the oil and sauté the onion in the oil along with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so.
Now add the mushrooms and thyme and cook until the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 more minutes. Add the wine, tomato paste, remaining ½ tsp salt, and pepper, stir, and turn the heat up to high. Let the wine reduce by about half. This should take 5 minutes or so. Turn the heat back down to medium.
Pour in the cashew mixture. Stir until well combined and let it thicken for about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Add the tofu and carefully toss to coat, so as not to break the tofu. Serve over the pasta, and garnish with fresh parsley, if you like.