Saturday, February 16, 2008

Baked Rigatoni

I am totally on an Italian food kick right now. Tomatoes. Basil. Garlic. Pasta. It's all just hitting the spot these days. This dish was a spectacular success, not just because it tasted great, but because the home made meatballs were amazing. I used the perfect tempeh burger recipe and they help up perfectly in the sauce without breaking apart. After so much experimentation with mushy and disappointing meatballs, these were fantastical.

Tomato Sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes (or crushed)
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil over medium heat. Saute garlic for 2 mins. Add in tomatoes (the whole can, juice and all), paste, water, spices, yeast, and salt and pepper. If using whole tomatoes, use an immersion blender to process the tomatoes to the desired consistency. Bring to bubbling, reduce heat, and let simmer. Go make the meatballs.

1. Make one recipe of perfect (tempeh) burger. Form into small balls, about the size of a large grape. Fry in olive oil over med-lo heat for about 5 mins, turning to make sure all sides are browned.
2. Put meatballs into the tomato sauce and simmer, uncovered, for 30 mins, stirring occasionaly. Go cook the pasta.

Baked Rigatoni
- tomato sauce with meatballs
- 12 oz rigatoni, cooked

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. Place 1/2 of the cooked rigatoni in a casserole dish. Cover with sauce/meatball mixture.
2. Spread tofu ricotta over top of pasta. Top with remaining pasta, then cover with remaining sauce. Cover with a lid, or foil.
3. Bake for 45 mins, uncover, and bake 30 mins more. Let sit for 15 mins before serving.