Soul Searching Twenty-Something Seeks Food Love: Settles For Food Like Most Days

Soul Searching Twenty-Something Seeks Food Love: Settles For Food Like Most Days

Thursday, April 28, 2011

On to the Easter Entree

So while families everywhere were enjoying their lambs and hams in celebration of eternal life (because somehow we, as a culture, have equated slaughter with celebrations of life), I was at home debating what to make for dinner.

I'm a big fan of pasta, which has served me well in my new ethical walk of life, but I've grown tired of reading the sides of pasta boxes and trying to avoid eggs.  And, if we're being honest, one might be sustained by boxed pasta and red sauce, but one will never be nourished (physically or emotionally).

Enter Sweet Potato-Parsnip Ravioli with Shiitake Cream sauce!

But I'm jumping the gun to offer up some food porn before I even start the recipe.  This was a lovely sweet and savory dish that I threw together (over an hour or so) with nothing but a few flavor combinations destined to work and a few basic cooking techniques.  I made a bit of a mess, but without a mess, where is the enjoyment.

I started out with awesome organic sweet potatoes (2-skinned and boiled), an organic parsnip (1-peeled and boiled), 1/2 cup of brown sugar, and a generous teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg.
I threw it all in a food processor with a little bit of the starchy water from boiling the potatoes and parsnip and pureed the heck out of it until it came out looking like this:
Then, I turned to making my pasta dough.  Although many pasta recipes call for the use of egg, it is very simple to make an egg-less vegan pasta dough with just flour, water, and olive oil.

I followed a "recipe" of 1/2 c. Semolina flour, 1/2 c. all purpose flour, approximately 3 tablespoons of water and a light drizzle of EVOO per serving.  (I was cooking for two people so I used double everything).   The semolina has a lovely golden color and makes for a delightful pasta dough.  I know it's been "demonized" by the whole wheat revolution, but it still makes for a fairly nutritious pasta.  And you are free to use a whole grain flour instead of all purpose, I just can't vouch for your results (because I didn't).  I put all my ingredients in my trusty KitchenAid mixer, but you can mix it just as easily by hand.

Once your dough looks like a happy, cohesive ball, place it in a bowl, cover it, and let it rest for a bit (I gave it about thirty minutes) before you work with it.

I must admit, I was a bit nerved by the things I'd read online by pasta Scrooges who claimed that there was no way to make tasty pasta at home without a pasta roller.  Seeing as I have a kitchen smaller than most people's guest bathrooms (no joke!), I don't have space for all the odd one-off kitchen gadgets that are so "useful" for these sorts of tasks.  But I do have a lovely french rolling pin, who was my beloved companion, and rolled out lovely sheets of thin pasta dough which I cut into little circles with a wine glass.  If you happened to have cooking cutters around your kitchen--wonderful--but as I mentioned earlier, I have to multitask my tools, and the rim of a wine glass was just dandy as a ravioli cutter.

After I had cut little circles into my dough, I put a dollop of my puree on top of 1/2 of the circles and then topped them off with a second circle of dough.

Once my little pasta circle/puree sandwiches were all stacked up, I went around the outsides and carefully pressed the circles together with the tines of a fork.  (or use your fingers for a more visceral experience)

I plated up my ravioli while waiting for my pot of water to boil.  I would encourage you to dust just a bit of flour on the undersides of your ravioli to discourage them from sticking to your plate.  Once your water comes to a rolling boil, toss in the ravioli and cook them for 7-9 minutes.

While the water was boiling, I made an awesome "creamy" sauce to compliment my ravioli.  I had first planned to go with a vegan alfredo that I had tried before, BUT my lovely husband ate all the raw cashews that morning.  I'm not sure how he didn't get the telepathic memo that they were saved for Easter dinner. . .

So I got a little creative.  I sauteed a generous handful of shiitakes in earth balance with about two cloves of garlic (pressed, okay, so I do have a few gadgets).  I pureed about 1/2 cup of silken tofu with a touch of unflavored soy milk and 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast.  And lastly I added the tofu mixture and approximate 1 teaspoon of soy sauce to the sauce pan and stirred vigorously.

The result was an extremely rich, creamy mushroom sauce that filled my tummy, made my night, and gave me some vegan confidence to throw recipes to the dogs and just mix stuff up and hope that it tastes great.

I presented this dish in a little white "boat" with a few fresh mushrooms tossed in for good measure.  I sprinkled a smattering of nutritional yeast, fresh grated pepper, and sea salt on top for seasoning and dug in to Easter dinner with a very happy husband.

1 comment:

  1. This looks incredible. Kudos to you for using everyday kitchen stuff for the random tasks you had here- I'm proud of you!