Penne al Cavolfiore

I found this traditional Italian recipe using cauliflower, in one of my mothers old Italian cook books, The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces, by Diane Seed. I have previously made the Sicilian recipe, Pasta al Cavolfiore, but this one is a bit different. I am not sure where the recipe originates. Diane collected her recipes from her travels and life in Italy and I have seen similar recipes on many Italian websites and blogs.

I had to adapted this recipe to veganise it. So instead of double cream, I used cashew cream and instead of chicken stock, I just used vegan chicken stock. I haven’t made cashew cream for a while. When I first made it I used my bar mix, but it wasn’t as successful. This time I used my jug blender and it made it so creamy. I did have to continue to scrape it down the sides and blend, but it was worth the wait. I think I will try to utilize cashew cream more in my cooking, as it works just as well as cream. Also boiling the cashews for 10 mins, softens them just as good as pre-soaking them, in case you forget like I always do.

As for the dish we all really liked it. It was rich and creamy and the taste of cauliflower was there, but in a good way. What I mean is if you don’t like cauliflower, like me and Marco, you will still like this.  I served it with a simple mixed lettuce and vine tomato salad and some toasted sourdough baguette. This is a really healthy recipe and would be great for picky eaters. To make it gluten free just use gluten free short pasta, as the sauce is gluten free already.

Between this recipe and Pasta al Cavolfiore, I really liked both. If I had to chose, I really liked the Sicilian version, because of the raisins and the pine nuts. Marco definitely preferred this version. He’s not a fan of fruit or nuts in savory dishes. It goes to show that sometimes the traditional dishes are the best!

???????????????????????????????

Penne al Cavolfiore (vegan, gluten free option, soy free)

Ingredients:

500g penne or short pasta (use gluten free pasta if you prefer)

1/2 cup cashews

1/2 cup filtered water

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves

1 small red chili

1 whole cauliflower

230g tin diced or plum tomates

250ml vegan chicken or vegetable liquid stock

sea salt & black pepper to taste

vegan parmesan to serve

Method:

1. First boil the cashews for 10 mins.???????????????????????????????

2. In the meantime cut the cauliflower into small florets and peel the garlic. ???????????????????????????????

3. Strain the cashews and rinse in cold water. Then place in the blender/processor. First grind till the cashews break up as much as they can. Then slowly add the water and process until it becomes a smooth cream.???????????????????????????????

4.  Heat a pot with olive oil, then add the garlic and a red whole chili. Cook on medium heat for 10 mins.

5. Add cauliflower florets and cook for 5 mins. Stir often.

6. Add diced tomatoes and cook for 10 mins. Stir often.???????????????????????????????

7. Add liquid stock and cook for a further 15-20 mins, or until the cauliflower is quite soft. During this time cook the pasta  and strain.

8. Take off the heat, remove the chili and stir through the cashew cream, salt and pepper. Then mash the cauliflower with a potato masher.

9. Heat the sauce with the pasta, then serve with vegan parmesan.

*Serves 6-8

???????????????????????????????

.

DSC00730

Pasta al Cavolfiore

Eggplants stuffed with Israeli Couscous and Cucumber Yogurt Salad

Yesterday I paid a visit to my favorite vegan cafe in Brisbane, Green Edge. I had a Veggie Burger (best in Brisbane) and a Vegan Brownie with Soy Whip. I also topped up on some grocery supplies, such as Notzarella , Kingland Plain Soy Yogurt, Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Tempeh, So Delicious Banana Split Minis and some loose dried legumes. If you are dairy free, gluten free, vegan or vegetarian, you will be able to find a variety of delicious products here, as well as the most delicious ‘I can’t believe its vegan’ Brownies and Cheesecakes. As far as I know this is the only vegan supermarket in Brisbane, so you will fine stuff here that you won’t see in your local health food store.

???????????????????????????????

After we had lunch at Green Edge, we paid a visit to some family, then came home late. I decided to make Stuffed Eggplants, which I haven’t made before. But I really wanted to use my Notzarella and Israel Couscous. It turned out quite nice. I probably didn’t blanch my eggplants long enough so the bigger ones had a bit of white color in parts of the shells that didn’t soften as well as the rest. I didn’t really think about a side until 5 mins before they were ready so I just made this quick Cucumber Yogurt Salad.

We were still a bit hungry after, so after some left over pizza from last night. We also had to try the So Delicious Banana Split Minis. They were sooo good! With only 100 calories and all natural ingredients they were pretty guilt free.

???????????????????????????????

???????????????????????????????

Eggplants stuffed with Israeli Couscous (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

???????????????????????????????

Ingredients:

4 medium eggplants

table salt

1 onion

3 garlic cloves

1/2 red capsicum

2 tomatoes

1 large zucchini

1/2 tablespoon agave

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup water

sea salt to taste

1 cup israeli couscous

8 slices vegan mozzarella on top (I used Notzarella)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees???????????????????????????????

2. Cut the eggplants in half and sprinkle table salt the eggplants. Leave for 30 mins, to get out the bitterness. ???????????????????????????????

3. In the mean time cook the Israeli Couscous according to packet instructions, then place to the side after its cooked to cool.

4. Wipe off the moisture and salt from the eggplants. Then cut out the center flesh of the eggplants, leaving the skins of the eggplant intact and in shape. Chop the flesh of the eggplant into cubes.

5. In a large pan or pot of boiling water, blanch the eggplant skins for 5-10 mins, or until the skin goes from purple to brown. Don’t over soften, but try to make sure the inside flesh left on the skins are not white (otherwise those parts won’t be soft after cooking).???????????????????????????????

6. In the meantime chop onion, garlic, capsicum, tomatoes and zucchini.

7. Take out the eggplant skins and place on baking paper in a baking tray. Then tip out the water from the large pan/pot.

8. Heat olive oil in the pan then add onion, garlic, capsicum and eggplant. Cook for 5 mins or until softened.

9. Then add tomatoes, zucchini, tomato paste, water, agave, sea salt and black pepper. Cook for a further 5-10 mins or until it becomes a bit saucy. ???????????????????????????????

10. Stir through the Israeli cous cous and cook for a further minute. Then take off the heat.

11. Place these vegetables and couscous from the pan into the eggplant shells. Then top with Notzarella or vegan mozzarella. Bake for 30-40 mins.

Cucumber Yogurt Salad (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cucumber

2 shallots

1 tablespoon soy yogurt

1/2 teaspoon agave

squeeze of lemon

sea salt  and black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Cut the cucumber finely into slices and chop the shallots.

2. Place soy yogurt, agave, lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper in a bowl. Then stir through cucumber and shallots and serve.???????????????????????????????

Cucumber Yogurt Salad (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cucumber

2 shallots

1 tablespoon soy yogurt

1/2 teaspoon agave

squeeze of lemon

sea salt  and black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Cut the cucumber finely into slices and chop the shallots.

2. Place soy yogurt, agave, lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper in a bowl. Then stir through cucumber and shallots and serve.

???????????????????????????????