Pasta Love Show #608

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Fusilli-Broccoli Bowl with Walnut “Cream” Sauce

Makes 2 to 3 servings

 

8 ounces fusilli pasta

4 cups bite-sized broccoli florets

2/3 to 1 cup Walnut “Cream” Sauce (below)

Sea salt, to taste

1 tablespoon roasted or raw sunflower seeds, (optional) for garnish

Fresh chopped parsley, (optional) for garnish

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the fusilli. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Add the broccoli florets, stir, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the pasta and broccoli are both cooked al dente.

 

Drain the pasta and broccoli. Transfer the pasta/broccoli mixture to a large bowl, and stir in 2/3 cup of the walnut cream sauce. Gently stir, adding more walnut sauce, as needed, to thoroughly coat the fusilli. Season with sea salt, to taste. Garnish with optional sunflower seeds and parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

 

Walnut “Cream” Sauce

Makes about 2 cups

 

1 1/2 cups walnut halves

2 teaspoons reduced-sodium tamari

1 medium cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup water

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Several grinds of freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

 

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and process until very smooth and creamy. Taste and add more pepper, if desired. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. 

 

Sensational Stuffed Manicotti

Makes 6 servings

 

SAUCE

1 small sweet onion, chopped

2 tablespoons water, plus more as needed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 jar (24 to 26 ounces) low-fat, vegan marinara sauce

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

 

MANICOTTI

1 block (14 to 16 ounces) extra-firm regular tofu, well drained

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons reduced-sodium tamari

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

2 cloves garlic, chopped

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

12 manicotti shells, cooked al dente and cooled

 

TOPPING

2 to 3 slices Italian-style or whole-grain bread

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed

 

FOR SERVING

½ jar (about 12 ounces) low-fat, vegan marinara sauce

Parsley sprigs or chopped fresh parsley

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

 

Put the onion, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari, and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend in a large skillet. Cover, and cook 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften, stirring occasionally, adding more water 2 tablespoons at a time, if the pan becomes dry.

 

Add the mushrooms, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding more water 2 tablespoons at a time, if the pan becomes dry. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the marinara sauce and crushed red pepper, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

 

While the sauce cooks, make the filling for the manicotti. Put the tofu, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium tamari, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend, and minced garlic, in a medium-sized bowl and mash using a potato masher or large fork until it becomes the consistency of ricotta cheese. Fold in the parsley.

 

Spread 1 cup of the sauce evenly over the bottom of a 12- x 9- inch or 13- x 9-inch casserole dish. Loosely fill each manicotti shell with some of the filling. Put the stuffed manicotti shell into the prepared casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining manicotti shells and filling. Tent with foil, and bake for 35 minutes, or until bubbling.

 

While the manicotti bakes, make the topping. Tear the bread slices into small pieces. Put the bread pieces in a blender and process into coarse crumbs. Transfer the bread crumbs to a medium-sized bowl. Add the remaining topping ingredients and stir with a fork, to combine. Add a bit more olive oil, if the crumbs seem dry.

 

Remove the manicotti from the oven and put it on a wire rack. Carefully remove the foil (the manicotti will be very steamy and very hot!), and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the top. Bake uncovered, 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are slightly golden and filling is heated through. Cool 7 to 10 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, put 12 ounces of marinara sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. To serve, put a bit of marinara sauce on a plate and top with 2 pieces of manicotti (per person) and garnish with parsley sprigs. Offer extra marinara sauce, on the side.

 

Peanut Noodles

MAKES 2 to 4 SERVINGS

 

6 to 8 ounces soba noodles or whole-grain spaghetti or fettuccine

3 tablespoons water, plus more as needed

2 tablespoons smooth or chunky peanut butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt

1⁄4 teaspoon chili powder

1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne

1⁄2 cucumber, peeled and julienned

12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved (optional)

2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the soba. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but firm.

 

Meanwhile, put the water, peanut butter, garlic, salt, chili powder, and cayenne in a bowl large enough to also accommodate the soba. Whisk briskly until smooth.

 

Drain the soba well and pour it over the peanut butter mixture. Toss gently until thoroughly combined. To serve, spoon into deep bowls. Top each serving with some of the cucumber, optional tomatoes, and scallions. Serve warm, at room temperature, or thoroughly chilled.

 

● You can cook the noodles up to 1 day in advance.