Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Stuffed and baked pasta

You have a choice when you make this one: either use chickpeas or tofu. They both do the job - and are very similar in taste and texture in this recipe. I've made this both ways and they both come out great.

1 can chick peas
1 box Mori Nu silken tofu
About 6 oz conchiglioni pasta (or any pasta you can fill)
1 can of your favorite pasta sauce
1 head broccoli
1 teaspoon each: onion powder, garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 to 1/4 cup plain soy milk
1/2 cup grated vegan gourmet mozzarella
Mixture of 1/2 c nutritional yeast, 2 T olive oil, 1 t garlic, 1 t salt and water, to consistency

First of all, don't be discouraged -this recipe really is easier than it looks!

Using your pot with stackable steamer start boiling water to cook the pasta. Once the water is boiling, throw in your 6 oz of conchiglioni pasta and lower to simmer/warm. Cook halfway - don't overcook!

Meanwhile, cut your head of broccoli - including at least 1 inch of the stalk - into tiny pieces (about the size of a dime.) Throw them into the steamer and cover with the lid. I like the broccoli medium well, but you can steam them as long as you like!

a) If you're using chickpeas, rinse cooked chickpeas and throw into the blender. Add all spices and a bit of soy milk (up to 1/4 cup if necessary.) Blend until it's a slightly wet, textured consistency.
b) If you're using silken tofu all you have to do is open the box, put the tofu into a bowl, add spices and use a fork to squish the tofu (but do not blend.)

Set aside.

When the pasta is almost done, remove and drain into the steamer directly over the broccoli (or in a separate steamer if you wish, it really doesn't matter.) Run the broccoli and pasta under cold water and drain. The cold water stops the cooking process.

a) Either grate your vegan mozzarella (we prefer Follow Your Heart)
b) Or mix or blend the nutritional yeast, spices, oil and water.

Set aside.

Now remove the pasta from the strainer onto a cutting board or other dry surface. Have your chick pea or tofu mixture, steamed broccoli, pasta sauce, cooked pasta and grated vegan mozzarella or nutritional yeast mixture ready!

Here's the easy part: Preheat the oven to 400+ degrees. Pour a thin layer of pasta sauce into the 9"x9" pan. Now you will stuff each shell individually. Just place 2-6 pieces of broccoli into each shell; enough to cover half of the inside of each one. Now, using a teaspoon, fill with chickpea or tofu mixture to the top edge of the open shell. Place open side in the sauce.

Repeat until you have the entire pan filled with stuffed shells. Now pour the remaining can of sauce on and around the shells. Top with 1/2 cup (or more if you want) cheese or nutritional yeast. Spray the top with your oil mister.. this helps it brown on top.

Throw in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Don't be afraid to let it brown!

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