Saturday, March 15, 2008

Cover Me

So I was listening to Allison Moorer covering a favorite song, Dancing Barefoot by the inimitable Patti Smith. I must say, I love a good cover. Change it up enough to create a new aural experience, while maintaining the familiar essence of the original.

Similarly, most of us have a well-worn pasta and marinara recipe, but it's fun to mix it up sometimes too, right? Enter a veganized "World's Best Pasta." My friend Mike thusly dubbed the Cappellini with Tomato Pesto from Quick Vegetarian Pleasures. Now that I'm vegan, it's time for a cover version.

This tomato pesto yields dense, mini-nuggets of goodness that cling to thin, yet hearty, pasta strands. Besides tasting great, the recipe can be composed in minutes, using no special gadgets. Let's get started:

World's Best Tomato Pesto and Spaghetti

  • 1/3 cup pinenuts

  • 1/4 cup walnut halves

  • 6 ounces tomato paste

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped or 2 tsp dried basil

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tsp adobo sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo)

  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • pepper to taste

  • 16 ounces whole wheat spaghetti

Toast the pinenuts and walnuts in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, until you smell their aroma. Pinenuts burn quickly so keep an eye out.

Start your pasta water to boil. When boiling, throw in a small handful of salt. Cook spaghetti according to package.

Separate walnuts from pinenuts and mince the walnuts. In a medium bowl, combine pinenuts, walnuts, tomato paste, basil, olive oil, garlic, adobo sauce, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast.

Is the pasta almost done? Right before you drain the pasta, put 2 tablespoons of the boiling pasta water into the pesto. Drain the pasta, combine with pesto, and serve immediately.

This one's for you Mike. Dial your iPod to your favorite cover song and give it a try. And don't skimp on the olive oil.

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