Thursday, 27 November 2008

Can't go past the pasta.

I haven't really been blogging too much about what I have been cooking of late. Bad Susan. But here I shall make it up with a feast of CARBS. I love pasta in all its forms. I love that it is generally super quick to make, that it generally includes lots of fresh vegetables and interesting tastes, plus all the fun you can have with different types of pastas. The pasta section of my pantry is practically bursting with fettucine (I love the spinach variety), spaghetti (wholemeal - yum), fusilli, macaroni (straight and elbow), penne, ziti, linguine, vemicelli... it goes on and there are still more out there to try. Just the other night I stumbled across this fantastic pasta glossary. The different types of pasta available are just insane!

Anyway, here are some of my favourite pasta dishes that I've been making over the past few weeks, and a couple of old favourites as well. I will mention that, as a general rule, I always use less pasta than the recipe states. 1 pound (or 450g, which lets face it is pretty much just going to be a 500g packet) is what most cookbooks use for a 4 person recipe, and this just makes way too much for me, even with my big appetite and love of carbs. I also prefer it this way because it means it is saucier, which is always a good thing! I probably use a half to three quarters of the pasta required by the recipe.

This is meant to be Orecchiette With Cherry Tomatoes And Kalamata Olives, however at the time I was unable to find orecchiette (curse you Roselands shopping center and your lack of exciting pasta shapes!), so I made it with, umm, macaroni. Oh well. The fact is that this is blow your mind tasty. It's practically a tapenade all mixed up with your pasta, and then the cherry tomatoes add this burst of freshness. So yum! Oh yeah, and it is from Vegan With A Veangeance.

It's kind of blurry, but it is Spinach Linguine With Basil Mint Pesto from Veganomicon. I haven't made that much homemade pesto yet, and this was one of my first. And OMG - do eeeet! It was amazing. I think this dish would also be great with some strips of chicken style seitan or Fry's Schnitzels or something along those lines.

The next three recipes are all ones I have made in the last few weeks, and they all come from Vegan Planet. I am on quite the VP kick at the moment. Though there are 400 recipes in it, so it has lots to offer.

This is Alfredo-Style Fettucine. The Alfredo sauce is based on onion, white wine (or a teeny splash of white wine vinegar in my case, or just leave it out all together), almonds, silken tofu, miso, soymilk, nutmeg and cayenne. It is a really nice, creamy sauce that is not too heavy and sits really nicely with the spinach fettucine I used. It was excellent with liberal sprinklings of nooch, and with a nice salty green, like sauteed broccolini as pictured here. The sauce takes a bit of preparation, but the whole thing still comes together pretty quickly.

I am always a bit skeptical of anything with tahini, because the truth is I am not really a tahini fan. Sure, I love it all whizzed up into hommus and things like that, but otherwise I am always a bit worried that the taste will be overpowering. Not in Tahini Rotini (or fusilli) with Broccoli and Lemon. The sauce is basically a hommus-style sauce - in addition to the tahini there is chickpeas, garlic and lemon, but it is thinned with vegetable stock. It is wonderful. I also increased the broccoli content of this recipe from the required 2 cups to however much my two large heads of broccoli yield.

On another note - other excellent tahini recipes include the tomato tahini pasta sauce from Easy Vegan Cooking and Isa's tahini sauce recipe from one or possibly both of her cookbooks.

This final dish of the Vegan Planet Pasta Trilogy is Ziti, Artichokes and Kalamatas with Spicy Tomato Sauce. This is a really, really tasty little pasta dish. And it is insanely easy and quick to make. The recipe calls for 9oz frozen artichoke hearts that have been cooked according to packet directions. As far as I can tell, these just aren't available in the places I regularly shop in Brisbane. So I used a 400g tin of artichoke (the ones from the tinned vegetable aisle, not the fancy marinated ones from the olive aisle) which I rinsed and drained. I also chopped up the artichokes roughly. The recipe calls for chopped kalamatas, but who doesn't love big juicy olives all through their pasta? So I left the kalamatas whole. I served it with a side of roasted green beans, but I think steamed broccoli or a good green salad would rock it too.

And there ends this current musing of pasta. And I haven't even touched baked pasta dishes or noodles yet - no doubt topics of the future.


  1. Nom nom nom nom carb fest!
    I love pasta verdi, I wish all pasta was green *sigh*
    I think it's been over a month since I had pasta!? What is wrong with me? I think we all know what I will be eating this weekend (monkey see, monkey do!).

  2. I absolutely love pasta too! I have to hold myself back or I eat it every day. Those look great! Yum!

  3. There is something particularly appealing about green pasta. It makes me feel like I am being mega virtuous. ;) Also, it tastes way better!

    But Becks, how can you go a *month* without pasta? I'm quite speechless!

  4. Mmmm the hummus-y type sauce sounds interesting and I just blogged about making hummus and my fear that the tahini would ruin it!