Vegan Rustic Pasta

A couple a years ago when I was still working as a server, one of my favorite customers had told me about a new vegan cookbook called The Kind Diet – written by Alicia Silverstone. At this time, I had been a vegetarian for a couple of years and was very interested in experimenting with vegan cuisine.  Needless to say, once my shift was over, I pedaled my way to the nearest bookstore to pick up a copy.

I knew I wasn’t ready to be fully vegan (I love cheese more than anything) but quite a few of the recipes looked lip-smacking delicious – and they were. Now, I will admit that the longest I’ve ever gone being a vegan is a little over a month – but I do like to take “vegan” weeks every now and then if I feel like I’ve over-indulged on the dairy.

So, even though I know that I could never be 100% vegan, I still refer to this book all the time for some yummy recipes. One of my favorite dishes from this book is the Rustic Pasta. It’s so tasty and hearty that even a meat-eater would approve and probably wouldn’t complain about the lack of animal product. I like serving this dish with a big fresh salad or with some veggie sausage on top.

You should also check out Alicia’s vegan website: The Kind Life.

Rustic Pasta

The ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound pasta (you can choose long or short shape)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 large onions, very thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I used more)
  • 2 celery stalks, diced or thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 1/4 cup shoyu
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 5-6 tablespoon marinara sauce

The method:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and add the pasta. Cook just until al dente. Drain the pasta well.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onions and cook for 7 minutes until softened. Then add the garlic and saute for 3 minutes longer. The onions should transparent and turning golden.
  3. Add the celery to the skillet and saute for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the shoyu, salt, garlic powder, then add the cabbage; saute for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes longer.

Baked Gemelli with Pecorino and Smoked Mozzarella


Yeah… so you may have noticed that I’m kind of in the middle of a love affair with smoked cheeses. They are just so gosh darn yummy!

Since it’s birthday season in my world, my wallet has been a little tight – not to mention Mondays are usually very long days for me with work, gym, boy toy, loving on my dog… you get the picture. I had slacked on my running schedule over the weekend so I really pushed myself yesterday. When I left the gym, all I really wanted to eat was a big heaping bowl of pasta. I wanted a recipe that was full of flavor but required minimal effort.

Enter the simple and oh-so-scrumptious Baked Gemelli. As simple as it was, this is one of my favorite things I’ve made so far. I think Nick would have to agree…

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried Gemelli pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups My Favorite Tomato Sauce (or any type of tomato/marinara sauce)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
  • 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound smoked mozzarella, half cut into 1/2-inch cubes and half thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • Thyme, to taste (I like A LOT)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper or to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt generously, and boil the pasta until al dente, tender but still slightly firm. Drain.
  2. While the pasta is boiling, heat the EVOO in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and thyme. Saute until the onions are transparent, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the tomato sauce, sauteed onion/garlic/thyme mixture, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the pecorino, and the cubed mozzarella pieces. Season with the black pepper and red pepper to taste, and mix until well combined. Transfer the pasta to an oiled 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Cover the top of the pasta with the sliced mozzarella, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. Bake until lightly browned and hot, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Meat-Eaters and Vegetarians Unite: Pizza Night!

For Her: Fontina, Radicchio, Caramelized Onions and Fennel Pizza

For Him: Summer Sausage, Orange Bell Peppers and Caramelized Onions and Fennel Pizza

 

I. Love. Pizza. Night. I had a bunch of produce that needed to be used up, so Pizza Night sounded like the best option – let’s be honest, when is Pizza not a good idea? I usually make my own pizza dough, but I was feeling lazy (and pressed for time) so I picked up some dough balls from Sunflower Farmer’s Market along with some summer sausage for my boy toy. We decided to get creative and the results were AMAZING! Recipe below:

 

Fontina, Radicchio, Caramelized Onions and Fennel Pizza

  • 1/2 cup Caramelized Fennel and Onions (I make these in advance)
  • 4 ounces shredded fontina
  • 1/2 head of radicchio, chopped, salted and oiled
  • fennel fronds
  • Ball of Pizza dough
  • Truffle Oil

 

Summer Sausage, Orange Bell Peppers and Caramelized Onions and Fennel Pizza

  • 1/4 lb Summer Sausage, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Caramelized Fennel and Onions (I make these in advance)
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 4 ounces shredded Asiago
  • 1/2 c. My Favorite Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 Orange Bell Pepper, julienned
  • Ball of Pizza dough
  • Truffle Oil

 

Instructions:

1) Preheat oven to 425°. Begin to roll out each dough ball into a 10″ disc.
2) Meanwhile, prep your toppings by slicing and dicing; set aside.
3) Add 3 Tbsp. of truffle oil for one of the pizzas (Hers) and tomato sauce for the other (His).
4) Add cheeses and toppings to your liking.
5) Bake side-by-side for 20-25 minutes.
6) Open up a bottle of wine and enjoy!