Pre-Vegan, my favorite meal was Rigatoni Vodka. Whenever we went to an Italian restaurant this is what I always ordered. I would try to order something different but I just couldn’t because I loved it so much. Rich and creamy with a bit of kick from the red pepper flakes and vodka. Its the perfect comfort food and I’ve missed eating it oh so much.
I’ve made it myself a few times and it’s always been just ok. The creaminess was never up to the creamy standards I was used to in this dish. While making a cashew cheese, at home, the other day I added too much water and made this beautiful cream and I instantly thought of using it in a pasta recipe. Rigatoni Vodka was the first dish I though of. Vodka isn’t an ingredient I usually keep on hand but luckily it’s something my parents do and I was able to borrow/steal some from their freezer downstairs!
This recipe was a big hit with my family. My daughter came into the kitchen and said how amazing it smelled. I was surprised she actually tried it and was so happy that she actually liked it. My son wouldn’t try it but I mixed a bit into his pasta anyway and put a few dabs of vegan butter on his to trick him. He ate it all up!
A rich and creamy tomato sauce that takes me back to my pre-vegan days ordering take out from the Italian place in my neighborhood.
This recipe makes a large amount of pasta. 1 1/2 pounds! We are big on leftovers in our house for work and or school lunches.
- 1 1/2 pounds of Rigitoni Pasta, cooked according to box directions
- 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, small diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (use more for more spice!)
- 1 28oz unsalted crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup vodka
- 1 cup cashews (see notes)
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cups basil, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat.
- Add onions and saute for 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 5-7 more minutes or until onions are translucent.
- Carefully pour in the can of crushed plum tomatoes and vodka and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes or more.
- In a high speed blender, blend the cashews and water into a cream.
- Pour into the tomato sauce, adding the sliced basil and season with salt and pepper.
- Cook for 5 minutes.
- Mixed into cooked rigatoni and serve immediately.
- The amounts given for the cashew cream makes a lot. It creates a very thick, rich and creamy sauce. Feel free to use 1/2 a cup of cashews and 1/2 a cup of water for the cream for a slightly less rich and creamy sauce. It will still be delicious while saving on fat and calories!
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I don’t want to call these Hot Pockets. Puff Pastry Pockets seems more appropriate. There is a brand of store bought puff pastry that is accidentally vegan. Good for you? All healthy ingredients? No, but once in awhile isn’t going to hurt you. Dinner needs to be fun sometimes and this a fun meal.
Whenever we have a leftover stew or chili I like to use them as a filling for these pockets. The last batch I made with a Lentil Chili that my Maa made for a surprise birthday party for me. I sauteed some spinach with a lot of garlic to add a green element to the pocket.
I spoon some filling onto half of the puff pastry and then fold over the other half and press down on all four sides with a fork to seal the filling inside. Then it’s baked according to package directions.
This particular meal was served with a salad, for even more greens and some roasted potatoes.
I really want to fill these pockets with a mixed vegetable and bean curry next time. I’m also working on a Broccoli and Cashew Cheese version as well since that was my favorite Hot Pocket growing up!
Half and Half/Arnold Palmer
I love how VeganMoFo seems to sneak up on us every year. Its a great month to be either a blogger or a blog reader. So much great content is put out all month long. New blogs are to be discovered and older blogs can be discovered again.
Good Good Things will be themeless this year. I just don’t have it in me. School is starting in a few days for my daughter and my son will be starting Pre-School in 2 weeks. I’m freaking out! I’ve recently left my restaurant job to focus on the kids and our home more, I’ll be a class parent at one school and a class parent/board member at another, the amount of meetings and events that are happening in the next few weeks is insane and I’ve cut my bangs again and now my hair is freaking out.
So I’ll just be sitting here drinking my favorite mix of home brewed Iced Tea and store bought Organic Lemonade with tons of ice cubes in my new found obsession of a widemouth mason jar with the CUPPOW attached to the top. I’ll be blogging about whatever I want to blog about and I feel good about that. (I know I’m way behind on the CUPPOW! I’ve had 2 of them that I’ve received in various gift bags/snack boxes/etc and have finally started using them. I’m in love. I won’t even let my kids use them.)