Dec 19, 2012

Tagliatelle with Roasted Red Pepper Tofu Cream Sauce

Just when you thought there couldn't be another use for silken tofu...No, seriously, this is a very simple dish if you don't make the pasta yourself, which you don't have to, though naturally it makes it better and is quite satisfying to think you've made your own pasta. A bit more nutritious too with the use of chickpea flour lending some extra protein to the dish.
As usual it taste better than it looks
The flavour of the roasted red-pepper is pretty intense and quite different from a regular cream sauce. Though you can amend the cream sauce with any other combinations omitting the roasted-red pepper. I've also tried a vegan Carbonara using tofu bacon which turned out pretty nice, as well as basil cream and walnut cream. This is quick enough that we can go out for Saturday morning breakfast and still come back and have our 'pasta Saturday'. Oh for routine and traditions..

Tagliatelle with Roasted Red Pepper Tofu Cream Sauce
 (serves 4)

For the pasta

1 1/2 cup white flour
2 tbs vital wheat gluten
3/4 cup chickpea flour
2 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil
3/4 cup water (approximately)

For the Red-Pepper Tofu cream

1 red pepper
1 1/2 cups silken tofu (about 3/4 of a packet)
3/4 cup soya milk
4 tbs olive oil
1/3 cup yeast flakes
1 tbs mustard
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup pine nuts (toasted lightly) for garnishing

  1. To make the pasta combine the white flour, chickpea flour, wheat-gluten and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine and then add the olive oil followed by the water. Add the water slowly, just unit you can gather the pasta into a very stiff dough that you can just about kneed.  Kneed for a minute and then, sprinkling flour on the counter and lightly over the dough, cover with a damp tea towel and leave for 20 minutes for the gluten in the pasta to relax and soften.
  2. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and roast your pepper. Otherwise, you can also do this directly over a gas burner. Either way, once the skin is all blackened, place in a plastic bag and seal. Leave for 10 minutes until it cools enough for you to peel and seed.
  3. Roll out the pasta dough into a large rectangle, on a lightly floured surface to a couple of millimetres thick.  Again, dust with flour and cover with a damp tea-towel for another 10 minutes.
  4. Whilst you're waiting, finish preparing the red-pepper cream. Combine all the ingredients except the pine-nuts in a food-processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan and set aside.
  5. Put a large saucepan of water on to boil.  Whilst you're waiting, turn your pasta dough over and roll out a little thinner (it will have contracted a little as it rested most probably).  Now sprinkle the whole of the surface very liberally with semolina (or if you don't have this regular white flour).   Roll up loosely on itself into a long tube shape. Cut at 7-8mm intervals, then unroll into your tagliatelle (at this point you can toss with flour, roll up into little "nests" and cover with a tea towel, dry this time,  and leave for a few hours if your not ready).
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the boiling water and add the pasta. Bring to the boil and drain after 3-5 minutes reserving a 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking-water (the pasta should retain a slight 'bite" so test it after 3 minutes).
  7. As you're waiting for the pasta to cook, slowly warm over a very low heat the red-pepper cream. In a large bowl combine with the pasta and toss. Add some pasta water to achieve your desired consistency. Serve immediately garnished with the pine-nuts.

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