If there’s one thing I crave every time we take a turn for chillier weather (fine.uh.lee.), it’s pasta. Red sauced, finished with a slick of glossy butter and studded generously with little braised bits of short rib or piggy things — or draped lazily around tender meatballs or glistening crumbles of spiced sausage. Praise the lord. It gets me every time. And if we’re telling stories (when are we not?), at least once a year I’ll be standing in line at the market when I catch a glimpse of unapologetically sexy meatballs on the cover of a food glossy and I’ve got to hop out of line and restock my basket accordingly.
Rich, meaty, tomatoey pasta. It’s the kind of thing rainy Sundays were made for.
And then there’s this.
This. Is weeknight pasta. Red and saucy, indeed, but by all means lighter and simpler — and a little less environmentally intensive than its mootiful counterpart. Though, tofu being a soy product, I suppose even that is somewhat debatable. But we’ll save that conversation for another day. Today we’ll just leave it at this: crumbled tofu, sausage-y spices, jarred marinara and bright herbs.
Oh, and it’s on the table in about 15 minutes.
Have a fantastically spooky Halloweekend, friends!
- 1 14 oz package tofu, frozen solid and thawed completely (see note)
- 3 T olive oil, plus extra for serving
- 1 tsp ground fennel seed
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- pinch of crushed aleppo pepper or other red chile pepper flakes
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 jar marinara sauce (or equivalent homemade)
- handful fresh basil leaves
- hot pasta for serving (about ½ a pound or so, I like papardelle or orechiette)
- Slice frozen and thawed tofu into four large slabs and press each slab between two plates to extract as much liquid as possible. Crumble drained tofu.
- In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat oil over med-high flame. Add crumbled tofu, fennel, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes and plenty of cracked black pepper and sauté, stirring frequently, until tofu is browned in places, about 5 mins.
- Add marinara and cook until warmed through. Serve over hot pasta with a generous drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil and more crushed red pepper over the top. Enjoy!
Also, if you're looking to make this a fully vegan meal, I like orechiette pasta in place of the eggy papardelle! 🙂
OH! before you go…
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