2 T butter or butter alternative for vegan option (ex. Earth Balance)
½ tsp paprika
1 lb elbow macaroni, dry
3 medium red potatoes, peeled and chopped
3 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 cups reserved water from boiling vegetables
3/4 cup butter or butter alternative, melted
1 heaping T almond butter
1 ½ T lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ tsp salt (more to taste)
½ tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
For topping: Melt butter or alternative in a medium bowl. Add bread crumbs and paprika, tossing to combine. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add elbow macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a saucepan, add potatoes, carrots, onion and water to cover, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
To a blender, add the vegetables with reserved cooking water and all remaining ingredients. Blend until perfectly smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed.
In an 9 x 13 casserole dish, toss the cooked pasta with cream sauce mixture until well combined. Spread prepared bread crumb mixture over top. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the sauce bubbles and top has turned golden brown.