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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Parma Rosa Rotini with Lemon Cayenne Tofu

On days that I don't feel like putting a lot of effort into a meal, I often find myself falling back on my trusty sidekick: Pasta!  Whenever cooking with pasta, whole wheat is hands-down the best way to go.  Otherwise, the standard bleach white pasta has zero nutritional value.  Whole wheat pasta has less calories and is filled with healthy fiber.

Since this was a last minute meal, I used pre-packaged baked tofu because it doesn't require any draining and requires less preparation time.  If you have the time though, I recommend using regular extra-firm tofu.  Slice it in half lengthwise, wrap in multiple layers of paper towels, and let drain for up to an hour with a heavy object set on top to assist.

The great thing about this recipe (and nearly any pasta dish for that matter) is that they make awesome leftovers!

Parma Rosa Sauce
5 Roma Tomatoes
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 large Garlic Cloves
Sea Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp Parsley or Basil

1 Package Whole Wheat Rotini (cooked according to package instructions)

(1) Heat olive oil over medium low heat.  Add garlic cloves whole.  Let simmer for 1 minute.
(2) Add the tomatoes.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over tomatoes.  Cover and let simmer over medium to medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes collapse. (This would be a good time to start prepping your tofu)
(3) Uncover & cook, stirring often.  Fish out the skins if you prefer not to have them.  Stir until mix is at your desired consistency (I like mine a little chunkier but some prefer a smoother sauce).  Add water if needed to keep the tomatoes from sticking to the pan.
(4) Stir in cream slowly.  Add sugar to offset tartness of tomatoes.  Let cream mix in fully, then add the Parmesan
(5) Simmer on low heat until ready to use.
(6) Spoon on top of Rotini.  Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Lemon Cayenne Tofu
1 package pre-baked tofu, sliced into 8 equal pieces approximately 1/2" thick (or use regular tofu, prepared as noted above)
2 slices of a large Red Onion, cut into strips
Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper, to taste
1/2 Lemon
1/2 tsp Ground Cayenne Red Pepper
2 Tbsp Canola Oil (or Olive Oil if you prefer)

(1) Heat canola oil in skillet over medium-low heat.  Add tofu.  Arrange tofu in a single layer.  Sprinkle salt and pepper over top.
(2) Let Tofu cook on one side over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until it is starting to brown.  Flip to other side.  Squeeze lemon juice directly onto tofu in skillet.  If you like a little more lemon, feel free to use the whole lemon.
(3) Sprinkle the Ground Cayenne Red Pepper over tofu.  Let tofu cook for 5 more minutes.
(4) Flip tofu, reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes more, flipping every few minutes.
(5) Serve on top of Parma Rosa Sauce and Pasta

Serves: 3-4

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