We recommend using honey crisp apples, but any type of sweet red apples will work great here. Use a wooden spoon to break up the roasted garlic cloves once they are added to the apples, they will diffuse and melt into the oil as they cook. Finish off pasta with more fresh sage, vegan Parmesan cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.
- 1 head roasted garlic
- 3 caramelized onions
- 12 oz penne pasta
- 1/ 2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 3 Honey Crisp apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1 cup fresh sage, minced
- 5 oz fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/ 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- Pinch of salt
To prep the roasted garlic and caramelized onions:
Roast one head of garlic ahead of time (see How to Roasted Garlic). Caramelize 3 onions until crispy and golden brown. If they are still soft and tender after one hour give them another 10 minutes on low heat. Set aside.
To make the pasta:
Fill a 5.5-quart dutch oven with 10 cups of salted water, bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Add pasta and cooked according to instructions on the box.
Once noodles are done, reserve ¾ cups of starchy pasta water before draining.
Drain pasta and place back in the dry pot. Toss with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.
To make the sauce:
Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, apples, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, and season to taste. Sauté until apples and fork tender, about 15 minutes.
To make the pecan crumble:
Place pecans in a mini food processor with olive oil, nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt. Process until fine and crumbly (about 10 seconds). Set aside.
Add cooked pasta to pan with apples and caramelized onions and toss well. Add reserved pasta water and toss well over medium heat. Saute for another five minutes until the water absorbs. Add baby spinach and pecan crumble during the last minute of cooking. The spinach will wilt from the heat during the last minute.
Remove from heat and stir in sage. Taste and adjust flavors as needed. Serve pasta hot with desired garnishes.