The other night I stopped by to visit with Aaron and Annie, and when they offered me some of this dish, I immediately asked Annie to write a guest post with the recipe. Tofurkey has always seemed kind of questionable to this vegetarian, but it was so. good. in their recipe. Enjoy!
As the great-granddaughter of Sicilian immigrants, a lifelong resident of northern New Jersey (just a few exits from the Bada Bing!), and a lover of everything Mario Batali has written, cooked, and created, I take my pasta very seriously.
Oh, sorry, this is not Katie. It’s Annie. You might recognize me from all the unflattering photos Katie takes of me when I come over in my gym clothes and don’t expect a camera to be pointed in my face. (I have learned my lesson.)
Katie is not – to the best of my knowledge – Italian.
Anyway, the other day, my friend Aaron (who is also not Italian) mentioned a dinner he wanted to try.
He had a bunch of Tofurkey in his fridge, along with some broccoli, and was thinking that with a little garlic and olive oil, he had the foundations of what could be a great pasta.
I am sort of a pasta purist. The fewer ingredients, I believe, the better. Like this tomato sauce from Food52, or this spaghetti with zucchini from Babbo. The pasta takes center stage here, moistened and seasoned with a sauce consisting of one vegetable, one fat (either olive oil or butter), and some grated parm.
So when Aaron suggested we first sauté the Tofurkey with some peppers and onions, add all of that to the broccoli, mix that with this colorful vegetable penne he had, then bake the whole thing with a ton of mozzarella cheese, I had my reservations.
But it was de-lish. It was vegetable and Tofurkey and cheese-centric, with some pasta mixed in there, rather than a bowl of pasta. We promptly took pictures and forwarded them to everyone (cough, Conor) who rejected our dinner invite in favor of “other friends” or “dates” or “actuary exams.”
This recipe made way more than two hungry college kids–including Aaron “I-eat-more-than-Michael-Phelps-circa-2008-and-still-fit-into-kids’-sizes”– could ever finish. But that’s what leftovers are for.
Thanks for reading! And sorry for all this pasta snobbery. Don’t even get me started on bagels…
Pasta with Tofurkey and Broccoli
Makes 4-6 servings
1 lb penne
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thinly
Fresh ground black pepper
Crushed red pepper flakes
2 Tofurkey sausages (Sundried tomato & basil flavor), sliced into ½-inch discs
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Grated parmesan cheese, small handful
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Fill two pots with water, and bring each to a boil. After salting the water, add the penne to one, and the broccoli to another. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box, and drain when the pasta is al dente, or even a bit less (the pasta will finish cooking in the oven). Cook the broccoli for about five minutes, then drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion. Sauté until translucent, then add the peppers. Continue cooking until the onions are browned, and the peppers have softened. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste.
Add the Tofurkey and broccoli to the peppers & onions, and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the Tofurkey is heated through and begins soaking in all the flavors of the vegetables.
Dump the contents of the skillet into a rectangular pan, add 1 cup of mozzarella, and stir everything together. Cover the top of the pasta with the remaining ½ cup of mozzarella, and a small handful of the grated parmesan.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the top is bubbling and browned.