Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms, Sundried Tomatoes and Peas

A couple of days ago I finally received my copy of Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen. I didn’t even know Chloe Coscarelli had written another book, but as soon as I found out I added it to my Amazon order. I have a been a long time fan of Chloe and have previously bought and cooked recipes from her other books, Chloe’s Kitchen and Chloe’s Vegan Desserts.

I am really excited about this new book because it combines my two favorite things, italian food and guilt free delicious vegan recipes. You probably noticed on my blog that I have many Italian inspired recipes that are recreations of the food I grew up with and other traditional dishes that I have eaten in Italy or always wanted to try. So I am so excited to get some ideas on how to better veganise my favourite recipes.

You can see a sneak peak of Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen on Amazon and Google Books.

Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen: My Vegan MoFo Cookbook of the Week

This recipe below was adapted from Chloe’s White Wine Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms and Peas from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen. I used dried shiitake mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes in mine. Both have really strong flavours that really shone through. Marco was a bit scared when he saw the shiitake mushrooms, but he ended up being really happy with the taste of this risotto and wanted to have the leftovers for lunch the next day.

DSC03179Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Peas (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

6 cups vegetable liquid stock

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms (soak for 10 minutes and slice in strips if large pieces)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1 cup arborio rice

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup chopped fresh italian parsley

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

ground black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Take medium pot and heat the liquid stock.  Leave it on a simmer while you start cooking the rest of the recipe.

2. Take a large skillet and heat olive oil on medium to high heat. Then add the onion and shiitake mushrooms. Saute until the onions have softened and are translucent.

3. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Saute for 1 minute so that the garlic is fragrant.

4. Add the rice and the white wine. Stir through and cook until the white wine has been absorb.

5. Begin to ladle about one cup at a time of liquid stock into the skillet. Stir frequently. Add another ladle of liquid stock once the first has been absorbed and continue until the rice is cooked and there is no more stock. This should take about 20-25 minutes.

6. Add the peas, italian parsley, sea salt and ground black pepper. Stir through until the peas are warmed through. Adjust seasoning if you need and then serve.

*Serves 4

DSC03183So far I have made a couple more dishes from my new favorite cook book. Last night I made Lemon Herb Cannellini Beans (Cannellini all erbe e limone) with Spinach and Mash Potatoes with Garlic and Sea Salt (Purè di patate con aglio e sale marino).  This was the most delicious creamy, cheezy bean dish I have ever had and was really simple and quick to make. The main ingredients are cannellini beans, garlic, nutritional yeast, plant milk and lemon juice. The Mash Potatoes were also really creamy and delicious thanks to the fresh garlic and plant milk.

For dessert I made Olive Oil Pancakes (Frittelle all’olio di oliva). I’ve never cooked pancakes with olive oil and I usually don’t use that much baking soda, but they came out so fluffy and delicious. For a recipe with only 5 ingredients I was really happy with the results and so was Marco. Usually he lathers his pancakes with nutella, but was content with natural maple syrup. Can’t wait to serve this the next time the mini-Marco’s come to visit.

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Brunch at Grub Street and Tofu Scamble with Sundried Tomatoes and Kale

What I look forward to most on the weekends is doing brunch with Marco. In the area that we recently moved to there are lots of funky little cafes that offer different unique breakfast options. This weekend we visited Grub Street, a popular suburban cafe in Gaythorne. This was our first visit, so we were curious  to see why this little cafe is always so busy and has such great reviews. I was also very excited to try their vegan option.

I ordered the Carrot pancakes with roasted corn puree, rocket, corn relish and avocodo. Besides being dairy free and vegan, this dish was also gluten free. From what I could tell these pancakes were made of carrot, red onion, capscium, cumin, coriander, fennel seeds and chickpea flour. They were so dense, but not really heavy. The corn relish was also amazing and sweet, so it perfectly complemented the savoury pancakes. It was absolutely delicious and definitely made Grub Street one of my of new favourite cafes.

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When we don’t brunch out on the weekend, there is one special dish that Marco always likes me to make. This recipe is Tofu Country Scramble from Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen recipe book. In fact last weekend I made it for some visiting meat-loving tofu-fearing family members. They actually preferred my tofu scramble over my mum’s scrambled eggs. So you guess which one was left over and which was gobbed up quick.

This morning we decided to do brunch again. But by the time we drove over and realised that the cafe we wanted to go to was closed because they hadn’t reopened for the new year, Marco was about to murder me. So  I suggested another cafe, however they had already swapped to the lunch menu. I was willing to stay but Marco really wanted eggs. Instead he suggested we go back home and he would ‘help’ me make tofu scramble. So thats what we did. It was so satisfying and the money we saved in eating out paid for 4 bags of groceries.

I slightly adapted the original recipe and added kale, red onion and shallots. I love the flavour combination of the nutritional yeast, sun-dried tomatoes and tofu. I think this recipe taste better than regular scrambled eggs, which can be rubbery and tasteless and other tofu scrambles that can be watery and not really convincing. It is a great way to include some green vegetables first thing in the morning. I usually enjoy this dish with grilled turkish bread (like Marco did this morning), but today I just enjoyed it with some creamy avocado and it was just as good.

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Tofu Scramble with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Kale (vegan, gluten free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion, diced

2-3 shallots, diced

10-12 sun-dried tomatoes, diced

500 g medium-firm organic tofu (pressed and crumbled)

1 large handful of red or curly kale, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons gluten free organic soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

3 heaped tablespoons nutritional yeast

sea salt & black pepper to taste

Method:

1. Heat a pan with olive oil  on a medium heat. Then sauté the red onion and shallots for a couple of minutes before adding sun-dried tomatoes. Continue to sauté till the onions start to soften.

2. Add the crumbled tofu and sauté for another couple of minutes until the tofu starts to brown a little.

3. Add the kale, soy sauce, turmeric and nutritional yeast, sea salt & black pepper and cook until the kale has wilted.  Serve immediate.

*Serves 4

Labor weekend recipe roundup

Happy Labor Day weekend fellow Queenslanders! The heat has finally arrived! This weekend has been hot and humid, but really breezy as well. I spent this long weekend with house hunting and spending time with the Mini Marco’s. Below are some of the meals I have prepared over the week.

I finally tried some recipes from Crazy Sexy Diet over the weekend. I adapted her Cornmeal Banana Walnut Pancakes. Since I didn’t have any banana or walnuts, I used dairy free choc chips, which of course the kids loved. I really loved the batter for this recipe. The polenta/cornmeal really gives the pancake a crunch. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to get any photos. Another recipe I tried was her Tofu Country Scramble. Marco and I really loved this. After a year on a plant based diet and I was yet to make a tofu scramble. This tasted really similar to a real egg scramble, but better.

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We also visited The Green Edge with our Living Social Lunch Vouchers. I got Spicy Seitan Burger and a Peanut Butter Milkshake. Marco got the Satay Tofu Burger and Chocolate Milkshake. It was all so good, but I ordered far to much.???????????????????????????????

While I was there I bought a couple of new vegan products. Sweet Freedom Natural Sweetener is made of apples, grapes and carob. Its a great substitute to maple syrup and much more cost effective. Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon powder is an organic dry vegan stock, which i really makes a really flavorsome stock and is the best one I have tried. It is also a lot more cost effective then buying liquid stock.

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Over the past couple of weeks when I haven’t felt like cooking I have been bring home takeaway from Vege Rama on my way home from work. For a less then $10 you can get the most delicious vegan thai, indian curries or even a lasagna, which is big enough  for two. Tonight I tried to recreate one of my favorite dishes from there.

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Easy Thai Pumpkin Curry (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon ginger, diced

1 garlic cloves

3 tablespoons thai red curry paste

1 small red capsicum, chopped

4 cups pumpkin, chopped

2 cups carrot, chopped

2 teaspoon vegan vegetable stock mixed with 2 cups of water

400ml coconut cream

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Method:???????????????????????????????

1. Heat coconut oil in a wok, then add onion, ginger, garlic and curry paste. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until the oil separates from the curry paste. Then add 1/4 cup coconut cream and heat for few more minutes.???????????????????????????????

2. Add capsicum, pumpkin and carrot and saute for a 5 minutes.

3. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Add coconut cream and soy sauce and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the pumpkin is soften.

*Serve with brown rice or another other gluten free grain, or some wholemeal roti

Ever wondered how asparagus risotto gets that beautiful green color? I found this tip in an Italian cook book, to blend the stems of the asparagus spears with the liquid stock before cooking the risotto. I always find that I need more then a litre of stock, so added some of the steamer water to make use of the vitamins that get lost in the water. I haven’t made risotto in so long, so this was a nice treat.

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Green Spring Risotto (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 bunch asparagus

1 bunches of broccolini

1 litre vegan chicken liquid stock

1 tablespoon vegan butter (I used nutlex)

2 cups risotto rice

1/2 cup white wine

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

1 cup frozen peas

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Cashew Parmesan/vegan parmesan (optional)

Method:

1. Cut the woody ends off the asparagus and the broccolini. Then cut into each spear into 4 parts.

2. Place the asparagus and broccolini in the steamer, except for the tops of them. Leave them to the side for later. Steam for 5 mins or until tender.???????????????????????????????

3. Place steam asparagus and broccolini in the blender with the liquid stock and blend until smooth. Then place on the stock to boil, so that it is ready for the risotto.

4. Heat butter in a large pot, then once its melted add the risotto rice. Toast for a few minutes.

5. Add white wine, onion and garlic to the risotto and allow it the wine to absorb into the rice.???????????????????????????????

6. Now begin adding boiled liquid stock, a ladle at a time. Allow it to absorb into the rice, until adding more. Stir the risotto continuously.

7. About 5 minutes before the risotto is ready, steam the tops of the asparagus, broccolini and the peas. If you need more boiling water for the risotto, you can used this steam water once your finished with it.

8. Take the risotto off the heat and add in the steamed asparagus, broccolini and peas, and season with sea salt and black pepper.

9. Serve with some home-made vegan parmesan.

*Serves 4 main serves, or 6 entree serves

I love eggplant, but I find I don’t it as much as I like because I need to use so much oil to cook it. This recipe is a bit lighter on the oil, but is just as flavorsome. Its also really easy to prepare and is gluten free.

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Stuffed Eggplants with Sun dried Tomatoes & Pine nuts (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Ingredients:

1 Italian eggplant

olive oil

2 small red onions

3 garlic cloves

10 sun dried tomatoes

2 tablespoons pine nuts

small handful of basil

2 tablespoons quinoa crumbs (or gluten free bread crumbs)

sea salt to taste

Method:

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

2. Slice eggplant in half, then use a pairing knife and a spoon to scoop out most of the flesh from the eggplant, just leave the shells.???????????????????????????????

3. Brush the eggplant shells with olive oil, then place in the oven for 20 minutes.

4. In the meantime chop the eggplant flesh into small pieces and dice the red onion, garlic, sun dried tomatoes and basil.

5. Heat a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute the onion and garlic for a few minutes, until they start to soften.???????????????????????????????

6. Add the eggplant flesh to the pan and saute for 5 minutes, until its cooked. Add another tablespoon of olive or water if the eggplant is too dry.???????????????????????????????

7. Take off the heat and add the sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, basil, quinoa crumbs and sea salt. Stir through till combined well.

8. Take out the eggplant shells from the oven and fill with the eggplant stuffing.

9. Bake the eggplants for 20 minutes.

* Serves 2 to 4 depending on the size of the serve.

What to do when you have heaps of canned pineapple leftover from pizza night? I made this delicious dressing for my work salads. Well it only turned out to be one work salad, since I accidentally poured most of this dressing on my kitchen bench.

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Pineapple Poppy seed Dressing (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1 cup pineapple pieces

3/4 cup pineapple juice

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

3 tablespoon olive oil/other mild oil

sea salt to taste

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients, except the poppy seeds in a high speed blender.

2. Stir in the poppy seeds last and serve with salad.

*Makes 250 ml

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‘Ricotta’, Spinach and Sun dried Tomato Cannelloni

Hi all! Last nights dish was inspired by one of my favorite dishes that I use to make regularly before I was dairy free. I use to buy the pre-made cannelloni and stuff them with ricotta & spinach or ricotta and pumpkin. I decided to be more adventurous this time and make vegan ricotta and make the tomato flavored pasta sheets. I added  tomato paste to the pasta dough, so that the pasta would be colored and have more flavor. For the vegan ricotta I used the recipe from my favorite book at the moment, The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions. In the past I have made Chef Chloe’s Garden Ricotta and used Tofutti Ricotta. This recipe probably doesn’t taste as much like ricotta, but it is easy to make and tastes pretty good. I also prefer it to store bought because there are no added questionable ingredients. I served the cannelloni with a simple salad of green oak lettuce, red  onion, cucumber, black olives and evo. Luckily this recipe makes a big batch so everyone’s got lunch for today.

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‘Ricotta’, Spinach and Sun dried Tomato Cannelloni (vegan)

Ingredients for Ricotta:

375-400g firm tofu

1/4 cup ground cashews

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil

salt & pepper to taste

Ingredients for Tomato Flavored Pasta dough:

1 cup semolina (more for dough)

1 cup wholemeal flour (more for dough)

pinch sea salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup warm water

4 tablespoons tomato paste

Remaining Ingredients for filling & baking:

batch of ‘ricotta’

4 big handfuls of baby spinach

20 sun dried tomatoes

2 x 500g passata sauce (keep extra for reheating)

vegan mozzarella (optional)

Method:

Firstly make the ‘Ricotta’DSC02584:

1. Take a bowl and crumble all the tofu, so it looks like ricotta.

2. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir through. Place to the side till ready to use.

Secondly make the Pasta Dough:

1. Take a large bowl and combine semolina, wholemeal flour and sea salt.DSC02578

2. Add olive oil and tomato puree and stir through.

3. Then slowly add warm water. Combine so that it becomes like a dough.

4. On a floury board knead the dough for 10 mins, so that the dough is smooth and elastic. Set aside for 10 mins.

Thirdly, make the filling

1. Chop the baby spinach in ribbons and drain and chop the sun dried tomatoes.DSC02591

2. Take a pan, add a small amount of water and add the baby spinach and cook on a low heat for 1-2 mins, until it has wilted.

3. Take pan off the heat and stir through sun dried tomatoes and the ‘ricotta’.

Fourthy make pasta dough, assemble the cannelloni and bake

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Take two baking trays and place to the side (I used one large and one medium)DSC02592

2. Divide the pasta in to 6 balls and use the pasta machine to make dough balls into pasta sheets. Place the sheets on damp tea  towels.

3. Once all the pasta sheets are made, divide them with a knife, so that they are about 10 cm wide.DSC02588

4. Take baking trays and spoon passata sauce on the bottom, so that you can place the cannelloni in as you are making them in following steps.DSC02593

4. Fill the center of the pasta sheets with the filling and roll the sides in, so that it makes a cylinder shape (you can over lap the pasta sheets). Then place in baking trays side by side.

5. Once trays are filled with cannelloni, top with passata sauce. You can add vegan mozzarella if you want on top.

6. Bake in the oven for 30 mins or until pasta is cooked.

*Serves 8, makes about 36 cannelloni

*Goes well with a simple salad

Basil & Sun-dried Tomato Pesto with Straw and Hay Fettuccine

I still had plenty of basil from the other day and it had been weighing on my mind that it was about to go bad. So late last night I decided to make pesto again. I love pesto its so versatile. It can coat hot pasta and vegetables, be spread on bread or even used to base a pizza. It really doesn’t need the cheese. With plenty of nuts, you won’t notice. My mum, who has been making it her whole life, was skeptical that it wouldn’t be good without  Parmesan. However, she ate her words when she tried it. The sun dried tomatoes also gave the pesto a unique flavor.  I am also excited to try out my new air tight jars. It looks heaps fancier in the jar and is better to store for longer.

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Basil & Sun-dried Tomato Pesto (gf, sf)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup pine nuts

1/2-2 cups basil leaves

3 garlic cloves

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

10 sun-dried tomatoes

1/2-1 teaspoons sea salt

Method:

1. Place pine nuts in the processor and whiz till they are broken down and start to form a paste.

2. Then add the rest of the ingredients, one by one, as the processor is whizzing, until it is all combined and creamy.

* Place in an airtight jar or container and top with a bit more olive oil so that it last longer.

DSC00959I used the pesto for breakfast this morning on toast. The pine nuts make the pesto very filling, since they have plenty of protein. In fact there is 4g of protein per 30g serve of pine nuts, which is similar to an egg. Pine nuts are also a rich source of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and contain natural plant sterols, manganese, niacin, plant iron and zinc [1]. They also help you to feel full for longer. I am addicted to them at the moment. I also like to dry toast them before adding them to porridge and pasta dishes or add them to the tops of baked goods.

Tonight we had Marco’s little niece and nephew stay over, so I wanted to make them something special. They can be both picky eaters, but they love pasta and pizza, which is always easy. So I decided to make them fresh Straw and Hay Fettuccine. I have heaps of baby spinach to use, but I thought if I only make spinach fettuccine they might be too scared to eat it. They weren’t too keen on it when they asked how I would make the pasta green. But I assured them that it would taste the same as the white pasta.

To make the pasta was very easy. I used the same recipe for the dough as the Spinach & ‘Ricotta’ Ravioli, but I just split it in half and added pureed steamed spinach to one part. I found that I had to add a lot more extra flour and semolina to make it more durable to put through the pasta machine. It was a lot softer since the spinach was very wet. So I patted the pasta sheets with more flour. It is also important to have some spare flour (wholemeal will do) to add to the pasta ribbons while they are resting, so that they don’t get stuck together.

For the sauce, I made the kids and Marco a Napoletana sauce with just red onion, garlic, carrot, capsicum and my favorite Aldi Organic Pasta Sauce. For me I just sauteed red onion mushrooms and baby spinach then added the hot pasta and stirred through some of my pesto. Everyone was happy with their dinner. The kids said they loved it and the little girl had a second serve. For dessert they both had two serves of last nights Stone Fruit & Berry Slice. They weren’t sure they would like that either, but after they taste tested it they demanded more. They are here for the weekend so can’t wait to make them some more treats.

Straw and Hay Fettuccine (nf, sf)

Ingredients for Pasta dough:

1 cup semolina (more for dough)

1 cup wholemeal flour (more for dough)

pinch sea salt

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup warm water

80g (2 cups) baby spinach

Method:

1. Steam spinach, then puree it with 1 tbsp of the hot water from the spinach. Set to the side.

2. Take a large bowl and combine semolina, wholemeal flour and sea salt. DSC00986

3. Then add olive oil and split into  two bowls

4. Add 1/4 cup of the hot water (from spinach) to one of the bowls. To the other add the pureed spinach and 1/4 of hot water (from spinach) and a mixture of half flour half semolina if dough is too wet. Mix the water so that both become a dough.

5. On a floury board knead both lots of dough for 10 mins, so that the dough is smooth and elastic. Set aside.DSC00987

6. Split both dough’s into 4 parts (8 in total), then roll through the pasta machine to make pasta sheets, then use the fettuccine cutter to finish the fresh pasta. Leave both lots of pasta in plenty of flour, so it doesn’t stick together.

7. When water has boiled, add a pinch of salt and both lots of fettuccine ribbons and cook until the pasta has floated to the top.

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[1] http://www.nutsforlife.com.au/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=157&Itemid=165&mosmsg=You+are+trying+to+access+from+a+non-authorized+domain.+%28www.google.com.au%29

Baked Panzarotti with Mushrooms, Sun-dried tomatoes & Pine nuts

Tonight’s Panzarotti were the best vegan version I have made thus far. In the past I have made them with fakin ‘bacon’, vegan cheese & tomato; onion, cavolo nero & tomato; or potato, vegan cheese & tomato. But they were never as good as Marco’s tuna & potato or ham, cheese & tomato. But I think tonight’s filling  topped his  (so long as you like mushrooms of course).

If you haven’t seen my early post and wondering what Panzarotti is, it is like a miniature calzone pizza, which can be fried or baked. If you are in the USA or Italy you probably heard of it, but I discovered it in Milan, Italy. It is one of my favorite dishes and is a great crowd pleaser. We use to fry them, but now we bake them. Baked they are way more healthier.  They can be made with gluten free or whole wheat pizza dough.

Marco made the pizza dough this afternoon and he used this Taste recipe. Considering the yeast is not activated separately in warm water before being added to the flour, the dough rose very well and baked perfectly. He made his with tomato (passata sauce) ham/salami and mozzarella cheese. But for mine I used the filling below. I really love this Redwood Co ‘mozzarella’ style cheese. It taste really good uncooked and melts really well. But if you don’t have any vegan cheese, you can go without with this filling.

Baked Panzarotti with Mushrooms, Sun-dried tomatoes & Pine nuts (vegan, soy free)

Ingredients:

Pizza dough (recipe made 13 Panzarotti)

garlic

mushrooms

sun-dried tomato

fresh basil

pine nuts

sea salt

tomato passata sauce

vegan ‘mozzarella’ cheese

Method:

1. After making dough, letting it rise,  separate the dough into 13 small balls and preheat oven to 200 degrees. 

2. Cut the garlic, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, basil.

3. Take a pan and heat the olive oil, then add the ingredients you just chopped and the pine nuts. Saute till the mushrooms are browned then set to the side.

4. On a floury board, roll out you dough balls into a flat circle shape. Then add 1 tbsp of passata sauce and then add the cooked ingredients and seasalt. Top with vegan cheese and fold the dough over like a half moon shape. Close the ends with your fingers or with a fork.

5. Cook in the oven for 15 mins or until the dough is cooked.

Fusilli all’olio con broccoli, pomodori secci e olive

Today was a quick lunch. I spent most of travelling to take poor Albie to the chiropractor. He keeps pulling his leg muscles and has been clingy and crying for days. Even though he adjusted himself 50 times he spent my of the time in the car in my arms. He’s a big boy but he loves to be cuddled. By the time I got home I felt really queezy and my headache got worse. When I forget to take my b12 & zinc tablets i get headaches that last for days. So I wanted something really savory and plain and this is what I ended up with.

I love Aldi’s Organic Wholegrain Fusilli Pasta. It tastes really good and is much healthier option. Most wholegrain pastas are quite expensive, but this one is only a couple of dollars and everyone I’ve made it for loves it. I am paranoid that they are going to stop selling it, like many of their organic lines, so keep them in supply.  I wanted to posted this recipe because I felt it had really balanced flavours. The olives were salty and rich, the sun-dried tomatoes sweet and broccoli and pasta had  a fresh nutty taste. I love pasta with olive oil base. It really brings out the flavours of the other ingredients, tastes clean and is quick to prepare.

Fusilli all’olio con broccoli, pomodori secci e olive (gfo, sf, nf)

Ingredients- 100 g wholegrain fusilli/gf short pasta, 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 cloves of garlic chopped, 5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil chopped, 6 black olives deseeded & chopped, 6-8 stalks of broccoli chopped in large pieces, pinch of ground cayenne, sea salt & black pepper to taste.

1. Cook pasta according to instructions.

2. In a pan saute garlic & sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil on medium heat. Cook  for 3 mins or until garlic is brown.

3. Add broccoli, olives, cayenne, salt & pepper. Cook for 4 mins or until broccoli is tender.

4. Stir through pasta and then serve.

Risoni Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes & Mushrooms

We haven’t done the shopping yet and I gave all the leftovers to Marco for lunch, so by lunchtime I was in a frantic hunger. I haven’t had the willpower to completely give up fish yet and that tuna in the cupboard was looking really good. Luckily I saw the risoni pasta and remembered the delicious dish I use to order at my dad’s Italian restaurant. It was risoni in a cream sauce with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts  So I came up with this instead. I would of loved to add pine nuts or spinach, but unfortunately we were out. Instead of cream I just made a half portion of Cheese Sauce that I made for the Baked ‘Cheesy’ Fusilli Bolognese. Before I added the cream sauce I realised that I didn’t really have to of added it. The caramelised onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms coated the pasta enough, but for extra richness the sauce really feed my craving for cream. I always preferred cream sauces and this cheese sauce is mild enough to appear like cream. I will have to see what vegan cream sauce works well with Marsala. Scallopini di vitello alla marsala use to be my favourite dish of all time, so I will have to find a way to substitute the veal and cream. If you have any thoughts let me know…

Risoni Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes & Mushrooms (vegan, gluten free option, soy free, nut free)

Ingredients:

1/3 cup risoni pasta (use gluten free pasta if you prefer)

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, diced

1/2 small onion, diced

6 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced

4 mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

salt & pepper to taste

Ingredients for Cheese Sauce (for 1 serve use half of the ingredients):

1 tablespoon vegan butter

3/4 cup plant milk (rice or oat; almond or soy if you can tolerate)

1 tablespoon arrowroot flour

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon dried onion flakes

6 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Method:

1. Boil small pot of water and cook risoni according to packet instructions.

2. Heat olive oil in a pan and add onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes (these will be oily enough) and cook for 5 mins on medium heat.

3. Add mushrooms to pan and cook for further 1 min or until the mushrooms have browned and add basil. Then set to the side.

4. Prepare the Cheese sauce. In a small mixing bowl combine milk with arrowoot flour and whisk so there are no lumps. 

5. Heat the vegan butter in a small pot on the stove. Once its melted add the milk, dijon mustard, garlic powder, onion flakes and nutritional yeast. Whisk it and let it cook on low heat till it becomes thick.

6. Pour the risoni in the pan and add the cheese sauce. Heat it through and add salt and pepper to taste.

*Ingredients for the pasta serves 1

*Ingredients for the cheese sauce serves 2