Sunday, May 22, 2011

Herbed Tofu Pasta

Ever since my husband got a new job, our pantry has grown to hold an abundance of free, recently expired foods.  Fortunately, he doesn't work at just any ole grocery store, so the food he brings home tends to be local, natural, and organic (yipee!).  Earlier in the week, Travis brought home some recently expired Italian Herbed Tofu, which has inspired today's lunch.  After googling how much longer we had with the tofu before it went rancid for real, we stuck it in the freezer.  This tofu had already been pressed (the liquid had been removed) and marinated and came to us in a vacuum seal.  I'm guessing this was why I couldn't tell a change in the texture after thawing.  We were also blessed with some organic whole wheat pasta AND my basil is finally blooming out there on the patio.  What's a girl to do with herbed tofu, pasta, and a teensy bit of fresh basil? 

Herbed Tofu Pasta
10 oz grape or cherry tomatoes
2 tsp olive oil, divided
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 8oz package of Italian Herbed Tofu*
16 oz bag of frozen broccoli florets
8 oz whole wheat pasta of your choice (short & curly works great)
Crumbled feta cheese
Fresh basil to garnish (optional)
Salt and pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Toss tomatoes with 1 tsp of olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread evenly onto non-stick baking sheet.  Roast for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
2.  In a medium saucepan, combine mushrooms, 1 tsp olive oil, 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar.  Cover and cook on medium low heat until most of the vinegar is absorbed, about 15-20 min.
3.  Cook pasta according to package directions.
4.  Cube herbed tofu.  Place in non-stick skillet and cook on medium low heat until tofu starts to turn golden brown, about 15-20 min. Stir frequently.
5.  Cook broccoli according to package directions.  Coarsely chop into bite-size pieces.
6.  Add the roasted tomatoes to the mushrooms.  Using the back of a spoon, taking care to aim properly, burst the tomatoes.  Add the tofu to the mixture and continue to cook on low until all liquid is absorbed (just a few minutes more).
7.  In a large bowl, combine cooked pasta, chopped broccoli, and tomato/mushroom/tofu mixture.  Salt & pepper to taste.  Serve with a dash of crumbled feta cheese and garnish with fresh basil leaves.

*Can't find herbed tofu?  No problem, you can make your own!  Tofu comes in many forms and is usually either water packed or vacuum sealed.  If all you can find is water packed tofu, you'll have to take a few extra steps (best if done in advance).  Drain the tofu and cut into 1/2 inch slices.  Cook in a non-stick skillet on low heat, draining off liquid as it bubbles out.  Once the tofu is sufficiently dry, marinate in good olive oil and dried Italian seasoning mix (you could also add some balsamic vinegar).  If you're able to find plain vacuum sealed tofu, just slice it up and marinate least over night.

In honor of our testy Knoxville climate, this dish can be served hot or cold.  You could even use it to top off salad greens.  One more tip:  when you go to savor your leftovers, drizzle with more olive oil (if eating cold) or sprinkle with a little water (if reheating in the microwave).  The tofu is very absorbent and otherwise your pasta may be a little on the dry side.

While your cooking, give a listen to this episode of On Being where Krista Tippett talks about flavor with chef Dan Barber.  Just some food for thought...

1 comment:

  1. One of my co-workers commented on how the food I bring "always looks so delicious."