Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C)
Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add approximately 1 tablespoon of salt to the water, add the pasta shells, and cook according to the instructions on the package, or until it’s al dente.
Put the ½ cup soaked raw cashews, 15 oz cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed well, ⅓ cup nutritional yeast,4 tablespoon melted vegan butter, 1 garlic clove, minced, 1 tablespoon lemon juice,¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, sea salt to taste, 1 cup unsweetened plant-milk, almond, cashew, oat, or pea milk are good choices, and ⅓ cup pasta water in a high-powered blender and blend on a high speed for approximately 2 minutes, or until it’s thick and creamy like melted cheese. You shouldn’t see or taste any solids.
When the pasta is done, drain it in a colander and then put it in a large baking pan. Stir the cheese sauce in until the pasta is evenly coated. If you’re adding the fresh herbs, stir them in now.
In a small bowl mix the breadcrumbs, oil, salt, Italian seasoning , and black pepper until combined . Evenly spread it on top of the macaroni and cheese mixture.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the bread crumbs are lightly browned. Place under the broiler for a minute or two if you want the bread crumbs to get extra crispy. Be sure to watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.