This one is a bit decadent, given it contains one of the few ingredients that the ever-feuding Paleos and Vegans both tend to agree is evil: white pasta. It can be made even healthier with whole wheat pasta, but everyone needs a treat now and then, okay? If a plant-based diet were nothing but nuts, sprouts, and self-denial, no one would do it. We talk a good game of caring about animal cruelty, sustainable food, and being healthy, but–if we couldn’t indulge once in a while in things like white pasta, fried food, and baked goods–fewer people would be as open to indoctrination by us.
This one will definitely appease omnivores, as the recipe was modified from an older one I used to make with chicken and cream. The chicken is here replaced with a veggie mixture (the fiber for which makes up for the fact that you’re eating processed carbs), and the cream with soy yogurt, so if you’re stubborn you can alter it back to suit your flesh-eating desires. Contrarian.
500 grams/1 lb penne pasta
30 mL (2 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots (or 1 medium-sized yellow onion), minced
2 cloves of garlic (or 4-5 if you’re me), minced
240 mL (1 cup) vodka
240 mL crushed tomatoes
240 mL veggie stock
120 mL (1/2 cup) soy yogurt (Just because you’re not used to cooking with it doesn’t make it gross, so shut it.)
240 mL (1 cup) fresh basil leaves, chopped fine, or into a chiffonade (click here for instruction)
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 fennel bulb, sliced
4 tomatoes, quartered
1 medium-sized zucchini, halved lengthwise and then sliced into 1/2 inch chunks
1 red pepper, into 1/2 inch slices
salt and pepper to taste
(This was just what I happened to have on hand. You can also add eggplant, other types of squash, mushrooms, etc.)
*Preheat oven to 200 C/400 F while you are prepping the veggies.
*Toss the roasting veggies into a roasting pan and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender (but not mushy). You can watch this while you work on the sauce. You can also roast the veggies ahead of time, as they will need slightly more time to roast than the sauce and pasta take to cook.
*Set a pot of water on high to boil for the pasta. By the time you have assembled the sauce, the water will be boiling and you can throw in the pasta.
*In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat.
*When hot, throw in the shallots (or onion) and saute until transclucent, 4-6 minutes.
*Toss in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about another minute.
*Pour in the vodka and reduce by half. WARNING: Do not stick your face over the pan and inhale while the vodka is reducing. It is not pleasant.
*Add the crushed tomatoes and the veggie stock, mix, bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
*Throw in your pasta and let the sauce simmer for the time it takes the pasta to cook (12-14 minutes usually).
*Add the yogurt to the sauce, mix well, and allow to simmer another 5 minutes on low.
*Remove roasted veggies from oven, and drain off any water.
*Toss roasted veggies, pasta, and sauce in a large bowl with 3/4 of the basil.
*Reserve the remainder of the basil and use it to top the served pasta. You can also top with nutritional yeast, but that is purely optional (and I left it out of the recipe altogether because its mere mention terrifies poor, delicate omnivores).