Tuesday, December 23, 2008
A VERSATILE LOW-FAT CREAMY PASTA SAUCE FOR QUICK MEALS BETWEEN FEASTS
Low-fat vegan pasta a la carbonnera with peas
This isn't a Christmas or holiday recipe, but we do need some quick meals between cooking, cleaning, shopping, feasting, and present-wrapping! The following sauce is great to have in your fridge, or to whip up literally in minutes, and use to create a yummy pasta dish in teh time it takes to boil the pasta!
Have a wonderful holiday!
BRYANNA’S QUICK CREAMY SAUCE FOR PASTA
Yield: 4 and 1/4 cups
This recipe (from my first cookbook, “The Almost No-Fat Cookbook”) is one of the most versatile and effortless sauces around, so don't be afraid to make this large amount. It can be used in a number of pasta dishes, and leftovers can be used in creamy soups and casseroles, to moisten stuffed baked potatoes or mashed potatoes, on vegetables..etc..
1 1/2 cups cold water
3/4 lb (1/2 a box) of extra-firm SILKEN tofu
1/4 cup dry white wine
OR 3 tablespoons water plus 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons "chicken-style" veggie broth powder
2 teaspoons salt OR 2 tablespoons light miso plus 1 tsp. salt
2 teaspoons garlic granules or powder
OPTIONAL: 2 T. tahini
1 1/2 cups hot water
Combine in a blender the first 1 1/2 cups water and all of the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the 1 1/2 cup HOT water.
When the mixture is smooth, pour it into a heavy saucepan or a medium microwave-proof bowl. Whisk in the 1 1/2 cups hot water.
Stir constantly over high heat until it comes to a boil. Turn down and simmer for a few minutes, until it thickens.
MICROWAVE OPTION: Pour the blended mixture into a large microwave-safe bowl. Cook, covered, on High for 3 minutes. Whisk well and cook, covered, on High for 3 more minutes, or until thickened. Whisk well.
TO MAKE SOY-FREE: Omit water (all 3 cups in total) and the tofu. Instead, use 3 cups almond milk (the commercial type, such as Almond Breeze, is low in fat). Use 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch instead of 2 tablespoons. Use the salt, or use chickpea miso and salt.
Nutrition Facts (with no tahini)
Nutrition (per 1/4 cup): 24.8 calories; 16% calories from fat; 0.5g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 251.2mg sodium; 96.0mg potassium; 2.8g carbohydrates; 0.8g fiber; 0.3g sugar; 1.9g net carbs; 2.8g protein; 0.4 points.
PASTA ENTREES USING QUICK CREAMY SAUCE
You don't really need a recipe to make a variety of tasty dishes with pasta of all types and Quick Creamy Sauce-- just use your imagination. One recipe of sauce is enough for 2 lbs. of tossed pasta, or 1 lb., if the sauce is going to be cooked into it like a casserole (the pasta “sucks” up the sauce when it’s baked!)
NOTE: Pasta also really soaks up this sauce as it cools, so you'll have to add a bit of water, broth or nondairy milk when reheating leftovers.
You can toss the sauce with pasta and add chopped cooked (fresh or frozen) vegetables, such as frozen chopped spinach (well-squeezed), arugula or other greens, peas, asparagus, onions and cabbage, broccoli; sauteed or grilled mushrooms; grilled or roasted vegetables; rehydrated (or marinated) and sliced sundried tomatoes; roasted peppers or rinsed marinated artichokes from a jar; strips of any cooked vegan chicken substitute or commercial marinated tofu; strips of vegetarian "deli meats" or seitan; chopped fresh parsley and other herbs; dairy-free pesto; vegetarian "Italian sausage", cooked and crumbled; hot tomato salsa or drained canned diced tomatoes; etc…..
For a Spaghetti a la Carbonnera-like dish, toss the sauce with 2 lbs. of spaghetti, freshly cooked, 1/4 cup of soy bacon chips or 1 cup of diced vegetarian "ham" or "bacon", and add lots of freshly-ground black pepper and vegan parmesan to taste. I like to also add some barely-cooked frozen petit pois (baby peas).
For "Straw and Hay", follow the Carbonnera recipe above, but use half regular and half spinach fettucine with the sauce, adding the peas.
For Southwestern Pasta, mix your favorite pasta shape with the sauce, chopped tomatoes, canned corn, sauteed onion, garlic, and zucchini, and some chile flakes (or maybe some salsa). Another option is roasted bell pepper strips (any or all colors).
For Creamy Green Pasta, add lots of steamed, chopped greens (squeezed dry) to the sauce.
For Pasta ala Primavera, add grilled vegetables—red pepper strips, diagonally-cut asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, etc., and perhaps frozen baby peas or snap peas, which you can throw into the pot with the pasta as it boils, during the last couple of minutes. Add freshly-ground black pepper and soy parmesan.