Monday, April 26, 2010
Gallie's Shells and "Cheese"
Macaroni and cheese. There's just something about it... I've always loved it. Although it is far from being a gourmet culinary masterpiece, it is one of those things that I have always gotten cravings for from time to time. I believe that lands it in the 'comfort food' category. As I got older and started getting more creative in the kitchen, I began experimenting with variations on the theme. I found that I absolutely love jalapeños in mac n' cheese. Broccoli is also a definite winner.
My girlfriend Gal (rhymes with tall) adapted this from a recipe she found online. I added a few things I had on hand, and it really came out incredibly good. It doesn't exactly resemble the classic dish in flavor - it sort of has a taste and vibe all it's own - but it is certainly similar enough to satisfy the craving. And it's vegan!
This marks my first time using nutritional yeast with cooking. Thumbs up! It is fairly high in protein content and adds a nice, subtle, nutty flavor and really makes for a good cheese replacement. I'd love to hear some suggestions of other uses for it...
I used whole grain shells for this batch, but macaroni or any other pasta would work fine. Also, I have become a big fan of the Tofurkey Italian Sausage that I used here - I add it to stir-fry dishes all the time. It's made with sun-dried tomatoes and is quite delicious.
Gallie's Shells and "Cheese"
makes about 4 servings
About 10 oz. of whole grain small pasta shells
1 1/2 links Tofurkey Italian Sausage, sliced 1/3 inch thick
7-10 broccoli florets, chopped
3/4 cup almond or soy milk
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce or nama shoyu
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
a sprinkle each of: paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper
5 oz. firm tofu
1 tsp spicy brown mustard
Start by boiling water for pasta in a medium sized pot and pre-heating the oven to 350. Lightly oil a pan and add the sliced Tofurkey sausage. It doesn't need to be cooked, but I like it a little bit crispy. After it gets cooked a bit on one side, flip the pieces and add the broccoli to the pan. Add pasta shells to the boiling water and boil for 6 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a blender and pulse until well mixed. Strain the pasta shells and add about 2/3 of them to a small baking dish. Add the Tofurkey sausage, broccoli and jalapeños to the shells, cover with the rest of the shells and mix. Then simply pour the sauce mixture over the top, coating as much of it as you can. Mix together so that shells are coated evenly, and put the baking dish in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
It came out of the oven hot and bubbly and smelling so good. I added an extra teaspoon or so of nutritional yeast flakes on top of my serving before eating. I loved the Tofurkey, broccoli and jalapeños with this, but there are endless possibilities for variation...