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! 🙂
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I always crave pasta. And I am one of those people that treats it as a healthy meal, of course if you load it with piles of cream and cheese it’s not so healthy anymore, but it’s the sauce, not the pasta that is bad. I love this sauce, it’s both comforting and healthy, I like the fennel addition to it.
Total health food! Or at least a balanced meal. I mean, until you add garlic bread. Unless there’s a point at which carbs start cancelling out carbs, which I dearly hope is the case… 😉
definitely looks on point! i tend to stick to tofu in asian applications, but it’s probably time to spread my tofu horizons.
Typically I do, too, Heather, but this is a surprisingly tasty (and hardly recognizable) detour. So yes, spread those horizons! Also, spread. Heh. Heh.
This looks so so good! I love the use of tofu and the super charming title ‘fauxlognese’ Looking forward to giving this a try. Thanks, Em!
Sho thing, lady! Lemme know how it goes!
Love this! Fauxlognese is a genius name for it – and you wouldn’t know on first glance that it wasn’t anything other than a big bowl of meaty bolognese sauce. Pasta really is the ultimate comfort food in colder weather (heck, even in warm weather!), and those lovely thick ribbons of papardelle (best pasta!) look amazing. Will definitely be saving this for a rainy day! <3
Thanks, Claudia! Why is it that almost every pasta sauce or, uh, topping, tastes better with papardelle? Is it the eggy-ness? The shape? The incredible OCD satisfaction that comes with being able gather a single ribbon into a wide, flat coil on your fork? I mean, it’s probably all of the above, but seriously – papardelle4lyfe.
I just made my own tofu yesterday – can’t wait to try this genius recipe.
Holy YOU MADE YOUR OWN TOFU? My hero!!! <3
I want to tell you that I love this so much. I think my Bolognese mother-in-law would approve? Maybe?? Either way, I definitely do. xx!!!!
I tried this last night. Delicious! Vegetarians and non-vegetarians liked it. Thanks for the super quick supper which will definitely go into my rotation. Please keep the veggie ideas coming!
Awesome, thanks for the feedback, Cheryl! This one has become a go-to in our house, too. Glad it was hit with yours, as well! 🙂
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