Monday, September 6, 2010

Penne with Heirloom Tomato Sauce and Roasted Tofu

I'm pretty proud of myself.  This was a dinner that's original destiny was to become a quick and healthy dinner to use up my heirloom tomatoes.  Yet as soon as I tasted the sauce, I knew I would have to snap a picture and blog about it (hence the poor light/photo quality).  I used three different varieties of heirlooms (don't you dare ask me what kind, I forgot) and their flavors exploded into a magical concoction right on my stove top!  The sauce had a strong rich flavor with a slight acidity that hit the tip of the tongue.  With the addition of a little sprinkling of sugar the flavor also took on a bright quality.

I was still settling into Seattle when I made this and was itching to cook in my kitchen.  Alas, I didn't have too many groceries and I was exhausted.  I did have about $20 worth of heirloom tomatoes that I had bought a few days earlier at Pike Place.  Sadly they began to go bad a lot sooner than I had hoped and I'm shockingly not a fan of plain tomatoes.  So when life gives you good quality, but a little bit old, tomatoes... make some pasta sauce!

But pasta sauce and noodles is both boring and soo college.  Solution? Roasted tofu!  It is healthy, delicious, easy and eco friendly.  Not to mention easy of the pocket book; I bought a twin pack of tofu for $2 or $3 at Trader Joe's.  While my combination of flavors suited my taste, use any combination you're comfortable with.

For this recipe, you may use any type of whole wheat pasta cooked to the manufactures directions.

Heirloom Tomato Sauce
  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 (approx) cup basil, chiffonade
  1. Heat chopped tomatoes in a medium sauce pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  2. Once the tomatoes have reduced (or achieved a more liquid consistency), stir in garlic, salt, sugar and pepper.  Simmer over low heat until tomatoes break down further, approximately 20 minutes
  3. When the sauce has reached desired  consistency, remove from heat.  I prefer to have a chunkier sauce, but you may either puree to have a smooth sauce.  Stir in basil and serve.

Roasted Tofu
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Dash of Paprika
  • Dash of Crushed Red Pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
  2. Toss tofu in a small bowl with remaining ingredients.  Arrange tofu on baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and flip tofu with tongs to the other side.  Bake for another ten minutes.  Tofu is down when the outsides are crispy but the inside remains soft.
  3. For this recipe, combine with tomato sauce and spoon onto pasta and toss before serving.


Carrie said...

My fav thing to do with tomatoes is just to pan fry them in a cast iron pan, then fry mozzarella in the pan (it just melts and crispifies a little) and eat the tomatoes with the crispy mozz. Really, really tasty stuff. Just the tomatoes alone like that are great.

Paula said...

What a great blog!

This looks so delicious!

Have a nice time!

Katherine Martin said...

Carrie - I had never though of that before.... How long to do you pan fry them for? And even if I (GASP) don't own a cast iron, could I do it in one of my stainless or non-stick frying pans?

Paula - thank you!


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