Archive for the ‘Pasta’ Category

Cheese please!

Photo by pwisenberg

Hello everyone!

As I write this I am sitting in the library avoiding the endless pages of reading that await me… Such is my new life as a law student. School, however, has been great so far! I’ve met tons of awesome people and my teachers all seem engaging and approachable. Needless to say, I’ve been super busy these past few weeks and haven’t had much time to come up with new recipes, let alone blog about them.

I actually made this meal a while back for a going-away dinner that Paul and I hosted during our last weekend in Toronto. I love mac n’ cheese as much as the next person and was so excited when I saw this incredibly simple recipe for vegan cheese sauce on Angela’s fabulous site. I wanted more texture than your traditional creamy dish so I added cauliflower florets in with the noodles, topped the whole thing with breadcrumbs and Daiya (duh!) and baked it until the crust was golden and crispy And, let’s be honest, serving things in individual-sized ramekins instantly makes a meal cuter!

Everyone (even my carnivorous friends) loved this dish and Paul is constantly urging me to make it again!

Vegan mac n’ cheese
Serves 4
(double the recipe to serve a larger group or to have leftovers)

1 package whole wheat macaroni
1/4 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1 tsp Earth Balance
1/2 pacakge Daiya vegan cheese shreds (cheddar or mozzarella)
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
sprinkling of paprika
salt and pepper to taste
this easy cheese sauce recipe

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until still quite firm. Drain and rinse under cold water to prevent from cooking further. Transfer macaroni to a large bowl and stir in the raw cauliflower florets. Meanwhile, in a small pot, prepare your simple cheese sauce, transfer to bowl of pasta and cauliflower, and toss it all together. Grease your baking sheet (or ramekins) with the Earth Balance. Add the pasta mixture to the baking sheet and top with Daiya, bread crumbs, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Finally, sprinkle everything with paprika and bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.

xo Robin


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photos by pwisenberg

Despite our proximity to summer, we’ve still been getting steady doses of gloomy weather here in Toronto. Friday evening was chilly and grey so a warm pasta seemed like the perfect dinner. I knew I wanted to include asparagus and mushrooms and Paul couldn’t resist the urge to grill them. The charred veggies wound up being the perfect compliment to the smooth spaghetti which I tossed in a light cream sauce (onions, garlic, white wine and Tofutti cream cheese did the trick). I added cherry tomatoes at the last minute for some colour and acidity. And voila! A simple pasta perfect for a cool summer night.

Creamy spaghetti with grilled vegetables
Serves 4

1 package whole wheat spaghetti
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup Tofutti vegan cream cheese
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
starchy pasta water

Begin by coating the asparagus and mushrooms in the veg oil, chilli flakes, rosemary and salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat until slightly charred, about 6-8 minutes. Back in the kitchen, bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt and add the spaghetti.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the onion and garlic. Season with S & P and cook until soft. Add the white wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir in the cream cheese until it has melted to form a smooth sauce. Thin with starchy pasta water if desired, one or two ladle-fulls should do. Stir in the grilled mushrooms and asparagus along with the cherry tomatoes and toss so that all the veggies are coated in the sauce. Lastly, drain the spaghetti and toss in with the vegetables and the sauce.

Enjoy piping hot with a glass of wine and some good company.

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photo by pwisenberg

Happy Sunday! This recipe is my take on pasta with meat sauce, except in lieu of the meat I opted for crumbled tempeh. The tempeh holds its firm texture and makes the sauce hearty and filling. I also happened to have some Daiya pepperjack cheese (so good!) lying around so I threw that in and it proved to add just the right amount of rich creaminess to sauce. Comfort food at its best!

Penne with tempeh tomato sauce
Serves 4-6

1 package whole wheat penne
2 tbsp olive oil
1 package tempeh, crumbled
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp each of dried thyme, oregano and crushed chilli flakes
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 18-0z can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded non-dairy cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by heating the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot, add the onions, garlic and bell pepper, season with salt and pepper and cook until slightly soft. Next crumble the tempeh by hand and add it to the pot, stirring it gently until it starts to get brown and crispy. Add the tomato paste, thyme, oregano and chilli flakes and stir until all the flavours have combined. Deglaze the bottom of the pot with the balsamic vinegar and allow the liquid to cook off, this takes a couple of minutes. Next, simply pour in the crushed tomatoes and allow the sauce the simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it becomes thick and rich, about a half hour. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Meanwhile, add the penne to a large pot of boiling, salted water. Cook the pasta until al dente and then add the noodles to the sauce, stirring in the cheese until it gets melted and gooey. Garnish with fresh ribbons of basil and enjoy!

P.S. Forks over Knives comes out this weekend, I can’t wait to see it!

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photo by me

Okay fine… we’re totally driving to New York… In fact, I’m blogging from the car right now (modern technology never fails to impress me). I’m sure you’ll agree when I say that every good road trip needs snacks, lots of snacks. So, in addition to the vegan brownies my pal Lindsay packed, and my homemade lentil hummus with veggies, we have a tub full of pasta salad to look forward to! I made this yesterday with the specific goal of using up whatever food we had left in the fridge (I hate to waste), and wound up making penne with sun dried tomatoes, basil and walnuts. I ate more than a few spoonfuls of it when it was hot and man it was yummy! I can’t wait to try it cold for dinner en route. Plus, it was super easy and came together in 20 minutes tops (Racheal Ray ain’t got nothin’ on me!).

Penne with sun dried tomatoes and walnuts
Serves 4

1 package whole wheat penne
1/2 jar sun dried tomatoes, drained not rinsed
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 chili, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup fresh basil, tightly packed
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, cook penne in boiling salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic, celery and chili to the pan and season generously with salt and pepper. Sauté for 3-5 minutes until just soft. Add sun dried tomatoes and stock and simmer for about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine cooked penne, sautéed veggies, basil and walnuts. Toss everything together and serve hot or cold, so delicious!

Well my friends, I’m off to enjoy the rest of this long journey to NYC (car games will be played). I wish you all a wonderful weekend and can’t wait to share my adventures with everyone- food, photos, shopping- when I get back!

xo robin katherine

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Magic mushrooms

photos by pwisenberg

Don’t you just love mushrooms? Well I sure do, so I whipped this little number up the other day. It was super quick and turned out really light and savoury. The mushrooms, oregano and hint of balsamic vinegar gave the fettuccine a deep, earthy flavour. Plus I added peas for colour, cause peas are cute!

And while you’re at it…why don’t you just hop on over to my friend April’s foodie blog and check out the vegetarian food I inspired her to make this week-spread the love!

Earthy mushroom fettuccine
Serves 2-4

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 cups vegetable stock
3 cups assorted mushrooms (I used button mushrooms and shitakes), cut into quarters
2 tbsp Earth Balance butter
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 package fettuccine
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, mushrooms and oregano. Season with lots of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Sautee for a couple of minutes until mushrooms start to brown. Stir in the Earth Balance butter and cook for another minute or so before adding the balsamic. Next, add the veggie stock and simmer until some of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add the fettuccine to a large pot of boiling,well salted water and cook until just al dente. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the mushroom mixture and stir in the peas. Drain the pasta and mix well with the mushrooms in the skillet. Serve piping hot and enjoy!

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