Monday, June 4, 2012
A SPUR OF THE MOMENT PASTA/VEGGIE DISH COMES UP A WINNER
This dish was a happy accident that I threw together for a quick lunch the other day. DH went crazy over it—for good reason, if I do say so myself. It is a very tasty mixture!
Here's how it came about: I had some Soy Curls™ already reconstituted in the fridge (leftover from making another dish), and the asparagus and red bell pepper seemed like a good combination for both flavor and color. I had some huge garlic cloves that needed using, so I ended up with 1/4 cup chopped garlic and thought, what the heck, I’ll just dump all of it in—we like garlic! For the broth, I used some of the broth that the Soy Curls™ were soaked in (poured through sieve), and I had 2/3 cup of my homemade tofu sour cream leftover in the refrigerator. I also had a bit of vegan mozzarella leftover from another dish.
Lastly, I still have frozen cubes of basil paste (see recipe below) that I made last fall and I am trying to use them up before I make this year’s batch, so I thought I’d throw in a cube of that. The ingredients seemed like a good combination to me.
Soy Curls™ soaking in vegan broth
I decided to broil the Soy Curls™ and veggies together with a little olive oil for three reasons— 1.) for convenience (no standing at the stove sautéing—you can prepare other ingredients, set the table, whatever); 2.) to get away with using only 1 tablespoon oil; and 3.) to add that “grilled” flavor to the dish. I wanted to use a short pasta in the dish, and the package of bowtie pasta (or farfalle) in my pasta drawer (yes, I have a dedicated pasta drawer in my kitchen!) caught my eye. (It's pretty, has grooves to catch sauce in, and has a nice bite to it.)
The result was "Wow!"-- a flavor-packed and satisfying whole-meal dish that I'm going to use it as a template for future pasta combos. Other types of vegan protein could be used—seitan, for instance. Other vegetables could be substituted—mushrooms, broccolette, artichokes; sundried tomatoes, etc. Onions of any sort (including leeks, shallots) could be used instead of, or in addition to, garlic. Other fresh herbs could be used instead of basil. Other varieties of short pasta could be used. You get the idea...have fun!
BRYANNA' S BASIL BOWTIE PASTA WITH GRILLED ASPARAGUS, BELL PEPPER AND SOY CURLS™ (OR ALTERNATIVE)
(can be GF or soy-free)
2 cups reconstituted Soy Curls™ (or other vegan chicken sub, such as commercial vegan "chicken" strips or "tenders", chicken-y seitan, etc., cut into thin strips)
1 lb. asparagus (fairly thin stalks), tough ends cut off, stalks cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup vegan chicken-style broth (I like better than Bouillon Vegan No-Chicken Broth Base)
1-2 tablespoons basil paste OR about 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, packed
(NOTE: See Basil Paste recipe below. I used 2 tablespoons, or 1 cube, because it’s last year’s batch and, consequently, not as strong as a newer batch would be.]
1/2 cup dry white wine (can be non-alcoholic)
1/3 cup grated vegan mozzarella-style cheese
1/4 cups Galaxy Vegan soy parmesan or other vegan parmesan sub
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Set a large pot of salted water on the stove to come to a boil.
On a large baking sheet, mix the Soy Curls™ (or alternate), asparagus pieces, bell pepper slices and garlic with the olive oil and spread the mix out over the pan. Sprinkle with a little bit of kosher salt. Place about 6 inches under your oven’s broiler and broil until the Soy Curls™ start to brown a little (this will probably take only about 5 minutes, so watch carefully). Stir the mixture around and broil again until the asparagus is just tender when poked with a fork. Remove from the oven and set aside.
While the Soy Curls™/veggie mixture is broiling, whisk together the sour cream and wine and set aside. When the pot of water comes to a boil, add the pasta to the boiling water. Boil until just tender (about 10 minutes). Drain in a colander and set aside.
Add the broth and basil paste or basil to a large skillet, stir-fry pan or wok. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium. Add the wine/sour cream to the pan. Whisk briefly and add the broiled Soy Curls™ and veggies, stirring well. Add the drained pasta to the pan, along with the two vegan cheeses. Toss well, salt to taste, and grind plenty of pepper over the top. Serve immediately.
Nutrition (per serving): 551.8 calories; 16% calories from fat; 10.1g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 218.7mg sodium; 578.3mg potassium; 82.4g carbohydrates; 7.2g fiber; 4.8g sugar; 75.2g net carbs; 25.1g protein; 11.1 points.
Basil Paste frozen in ice cube trays: each cube= 2 tablespoons
BRYANNA'S BASIL PASTE FOR FREEZING
Makes 1 1/2 cups (1 tsp. paste equals about 2 T. chopped basil.)
This is an easy way to prepare large quantities of basil for freezing, and it keeps the bright green color. You can make pesto with this paste, and I prefer doing this to making large quantities of pesto for freezing, because the flavors are better preserved.
In a food processor, blend the following ingredients to a paste:
8 c. loosely-packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
Pack into containers measuring the size you will use most often, or freeze in ice cube trays (placed inside plastic bags), then pop the cubes out into storage bags. One cube contains about 2 T. paste, so each cube is equal to about 2/3 c. of loosely-packed fresh basil leaves.
Spread the paste out thinly on sheets of waxed paper or heavy plastic wrap and then roll them up like jelly rolls. Pop the rolls into plastic bags and freeze them. Then you can unroll just a little at a time and break off small quantities to use in recipes that call for fresh basil.