Monday, September 9, 2013

Vegan Mofo: Pasta from the Garden

One of the first dishes I learned to cook upon going vegetarian when I was 16 was a variation of this dish. For years, my mom has been making a simple yet drool-worthy pasta with tomatoes, garlic and basil (that is, when she's not swearing off carbs altogether.) She would saute  tomatoes and garlic in a saucepan with herbs and toss it with pasta. The whole dish took, like, 20 minutes to make. I always thought of cooking as this lengthy and tedious process, but that pasta dispelled all of those myths for me. To be fair, at the time I learned to cook this, I was smothering it in butter and Parmesan cheese. Here is a healthier, dairy-free and grown up version of one of my favorite pasta dishes during my adolescent years. Note: for the full teenage-Katie effect, be sure to wear heavy eyeliner, read only Chuck Palahniuk novels and listen to Minor Threat real loud.

Roasted Heirloom Macaroni

3 c. macaroni
3 medium-large heirloom tomatoes
1 yellow bell pepper
canola or olive oil
balsamic vinegar
1 head of garlic
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
1/4 c. almond milk
5-10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice the tops off of the tomatoes and quarter and set aside. Slice the tops off of the pepper, de-vein it and do a large dice and set aside. Peel each garlic clove and combine all vegetables in a baking dish or a sheet pan. Drizzle oil and balsamic vinegar over top of the vegetables and then sprinkle them with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Toss the vegetables around in the baking dish and rub with your hands to coat each vegetable with the oil, vinegar and spices evenly. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables start to char slightly.

Cook pasta according to instructions on the package. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Remove the vegetables from the oven. In a food processor, add the vegetables, residual oil/vinegar from the bottom of the baking dish, nutritional yeast, almond milk and fresh basil and process until smooth. You might want to add another drizzle of balsamic vinegar to the food processor. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve over macaroni and garnish with additional basil.

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