Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse, let cool and set aside.
To make the herbed “ricotta,” combine the macadamia nuts, 1/4 cup of water, the garlic, salt and olive oil in a food processor and puree for 1 minute. Scrape
down the sides and purée for another minute, until light and fluffy. Set aside.
To make the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat, and sauté the onion until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic
and herbs, and sauté for another 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, add the tomatoes and tomato sauce, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the salt and cook
for another 15 minutes.
To make the cashew cream, purée the soaked cashews in a blender until a smooth paste forms. Add 1/3 cup of water and the remaining ingredients and
purée until creamy.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. To assemble the baked ziti, toss the pasta with the tomato sauce in a large bowl, and then stir in the herbed “ricotta.” Mix in the
cashew cream. Spread into a 9x13” baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown. Garnish with fresh basil or
parsley, as desired.
Kitchen Tip: The cashews used to make the cheese in this recipe need to be presoaked so they get soft and easy to blend. A minimum of two hours works, but you can also let them sit longer. Harder nuts, such as almonds, should soak overnight.