Monday, January 12, 2009

Pasta and Potatoes with Tofu Pancetta

We still had half a loaf of ciabatta to finish, so it was more Italian food tonight. I leafed through The Sopranos Family Cookbook and veganized this recipe. I'm pretty sure the tofu tastes nothing like pancetta, but it does provide a burst of smoky and salty flavour with a chewy texture. Actual pancetta is not smoked (it is salted pork belly which is hung and left to go moldy), so I guess this is more like bacon. I think it would taste good in a BLT.

Tofu Pancetta
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tsp seasoned salt
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp rosemary
- 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1/3 pkg extra firm tofu, sliced (see pic below)
- 1-2 tbsp oil

1. Place all ingredients except the tofu and oil in a small pot and bring to boiling. Simmer for 10 mins.
2. While that stuff is simmering, place tofu slices in a non-stick frying pan and place over med-hi heat. Once it starts to sizzle, strain liquid into the pan. Let liquid reduce down, gently turning tofu to coat.
3. Once liquid has completely reduced, add 1 tbsp of oil (more if needed). Fry 3-4 mins per side, until crispy and browned. Reduce heat a bit, if tofu is browning too much. Remove from heat and set aside.
Pasta and Potatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 rib of celery, chopped
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 6 cups water
- 1 small can tomato paste
- salt and pepper to taste
- 12 oz dried macaroni
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 recipe tofu pancetta

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute carrot, celery, onion, garlic, and parsley for 5-7 mins, until softened. Add potatoes, water, and tomato paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to bubbling, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 mins, until potatoes are softened.
2. Add macaroni and boiling water and cook, stirring frequently, until pasta is cooked and sauce is absorbed. Add more water, if needed.
3. Add nutritional yeast and tofu pancetta and mix well. Serve.


DJ Karma said...

Tofu pancetta (or bacon), sounds great! What does the nutmeg do for the flavor, I'm wondering?

DJ said...

I love pasta and potatoes! Great idea making tofu pancetta to go with it!

Eating Consciously said...

This sounds good. You're probably right that it doesn't taste like pancetta, but who wants to eat moldy pig flesh anyway :)

emilythehopeless said...

drool.. you're a genius!

Vegan Dad said...

Dj Karma,
I looked at recipes for pancetta to see what spices were used for the curing. So, I just duplicated them for this recipe.

Lovliebutterfly said...

That sounds nice. I've never seasoned tofu with these spices before and will sure give it a try! It looks so delicious!

Bianca said...

Moldy salted pork belly? How can people eat that crap? And then people wanna call tofu gross. I don't understand that.

Your "pancetta" looks delicious though!

Chiko and Jon said...

I'm not a vegetarian, but I will be catering a party for vegetarian clients, so I have been experimenting a little with your recipes and thought I would share one. I made your seitan lunchmeat last week, then put barbecue rub on the outside and smoked it with maple wood chips for 30 minutes. Next I sliced it real thin, pan fried it till crispy, put it on a toasted whole wheat roll with lettuce, tomato and mayo to make vegan BLT's. It came out great. Thanks for the inspiration!

Barbara said...

Saw this recipe and had to make it that night I was grateful for the frozen tofu in the freezer that had been there for ages as I am not a tofu fan. My husband raved about and I brought the leftovers to work and gave the recipe to 4 non-vegans they couldn't believe that tofu tasted that ridiculously good!

Molly said...

Made this last night - AMAZING. We left out the potatoes and added some Rao's sauce to shake things up. Looking forward to using the pancetta with pesto pasta, pasta "carbonara" etc etc! It really does taste quite meaty - not like tofu at all. Thanks for this delightful treat.

Anonymous said...

Hey VeganDad, I made this and it was FABULOUS! The tofu pancetta really jazzes up humble pasta and potatoes. I'm going to try the pancetta in other recipes because it's so good - maybe wraps this week. Thank you for another home run dinner!!!

Minneapolis, MN

Dawna said...

Just tried your recipe and I LOVED it!! My husband mentioned it tasted bacon-y before I even mentioned what it was supposed to taste like. Good sign. :)

I did bake mine though instead of frying. :)

Anonymous said...

Where do you find liquid smoke?

Vegan Dad said...

Liquid smoke can be found in the grocery store--usually with the BBQ sauce.

deb said...

I just made this tonight and WOW! It made the best sandwich. Fresh rye bread, avocado, tomato, lettuce and this. Yum!