This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® & La Moderna but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #MyExceptionalPasta #GoldenHarvest http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
It’s vegan ziti!
I was shopping for a Halloween party at Walmart the other day and omg dangerous. I came away with so much stuff. I had enough food for a small army and a million pasta recipes in mind. This seems to be becoming part of a pattern because this ziti is actually enough to feed an army.
You may or may not know that I freelance for the Houston Press (which is why my posts have slowed down of late)…one of the recurring series I write for them is “taste offs” of the best food items around Houston–I started with chocolate chip cookies, then holiday cookies, then doughnuts, then pizza, chocolate cake and most recently, pie.
The handful of friends who lingered in the sugar-ridden aftermath after sampling and scoring 25 different pies draped themselves over my furniture yesterday. To my surprise, when I unearthed this giant pan of ziti from the fridge, nearly half of it disappeared (probably thanks to the deep cravings for savory foods after an avalanche of sweets).
This pasta recipe is basically a mish mash of all the leftover vegetables I had in my fridge–carrots, celery, a zucchini. I sauteed a huge bunch of carrots, celery and onion into a tomato sauce (inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s naked sauce) tossed it with La Moderna pasta, a new-to-me brand that had a nice chew, was high in protein, and held up well in the dish (I cooked the pasta to just al dente before baking it in the casserole–you can find the pasta here), topped it with sauteed zucchini slices and then a thick layer of vegan ricotta. Made out of tofu, the ricotta is so easy to make–just a whirl in the food processor with some herbs, nutritional yeast and lemon juice, and it’s ready to go.
And it will feed a HUGE amount of people, so if you need an easy vegetarian entree for feeding a crowd for the upcoming holidays…keep this in mind.
- For the tomato sauce:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ large onion, diced
- 1 cup diced vegetables (a few large carrots or a mix of carrots and celery)
- 1 28 oz can tomatoes
- ½ can tomato paste
- dried basil, oregano, salt
- For the tofu ricotta:
- 1 14 oz container firm tofu, drained
- 1.5 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, basil, oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- juice from half a small lemon
- For the pasta bake:
- 4 cups La Moderna penne pasta
- 1 large zucchini, sliced
- To make the sauce:
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery, season with salt and cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and season with your desired amount of basil, oregano and salt. Simmer for 20 minutes over medium-low heat, then turn off heat and set aside.
- To make the tofu ricotta:
- Blend all ingredients together in a food processor. Set aside.
- To make the ziti:
- Cook the pasta according to directions. Saute the zucchini in olive oil over medium heat until lightly browned.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the pasta and sauce together. Pour the pasta into a prepared 9x13 pan. Layer the zucchini on top, then dollop the tofu ricotta over the top, using your fingers to help spread it around evenly. Bake for 20 minutes until ricotta is browned.