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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Quinoa Pasta with Broccoli and Sun-dried Tomatoes
It is known in some circles how much I dislike alternative pasta’s. By alternative I specifically mean whole wheat pasta. Good god that stuff is horrible. Horrible! Some things just need to be made with plain ol’ white/semolina flours. By some things includes baguettes, italian breads, ciabatta’s etc. I like to leave the whole wheat for sandwich bread or on occasion veggie burger rolls. With all that said now…I lost my mind while shopping a few weeks ago and bought a box of Quinoa Pasta made by the company Andean Dream. I let it sit in my food cabinet for quite some time because I was sorta afraid to use it and didn’t quite understand why I purchased it. I then decided at the end of last year to use up almost everything I had in those cabinets before I went shopping again and the day came that I needed to use this pasta.
After a search of the fridge and freezer I found 1/2 a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil and 1/2 a bag of frozen broccoli. I set a pot of water on the stove to boil. Just as it started to boil I remembered seeing an episode of Top Chef Masters where Zooey Deschanel was a guest and the chefs had to cook her a vegan, wheat and soy free meal. Michael Chiarello ended up buying some quinoa pasta for his dish and I seem to remember it sticking together and he had to pull all the strands of pasta apart. I wasn’t about to do that so once the water started to boil I added a tablespoon or two of oil to the water hoping that would help it from sticking together and it worked! The rest of the ingredients were sauteed in oil and the pasta was added at the end. I brought it downstairs for a shared meal with my parents and everyone liked it including me!
1 box Andean Dream Quinoa Pasta (fusilli)
cook to package directions adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the boiling water
1 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 pound frozen broccoli florets
1/4 cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced, reserve some of the oil from the jar
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a medium size saute pan over medium-low heat. Add olive oil. Once heated saute the garlic for 2 minutes making sure not to burn it. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for 20 seconds longer. Add the frozen broccoli and cook until no longer frozen, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and up to 2 tablespoons of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil and cook until heated through. Add the cooked Quinoa Pasta. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.