Monday, June 20, 2011
Baked Pasta Florentine
Cassio: I humbly thank you for't.
I never knew a Florentine (pasta)
More kind and honest.
~ Othello, 3.1.43-45
While it is true that - in this particular case - "Florentine" is really just a fancy way of saying "with spinach," the fact remains that this casserole is not only kind and honest, but delicious and filling; it was the perfect dinner on a recent, unseasonably cold and rainy evening. Of course, "...to vouch this is no proof, Without more wider and more overt test," so you'll want to try it out for yourself. But it's very sobering to think of the tragedy that might have been avoided, if Desdemona had spent less time listening to Iago and more time thinking about pasta!
The dinner made, the meal is to ensue;
That pasta's yet to come 'tween me and you.
Baked Pasta Florentine
~ 1 lb. pasta, cooked and drained according to package directions (I used fusilli)
~ 1 cup raw cashews
~ 2 cups vegetable broth
~ 2-3 tbsp. Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
~ 1 large onion, diced fine
~ 1 tsp. each: paprika, marjoram, onion powder, dried mustard
~ 1/2 tsp. salt (optional, depending on how salty your broth is; I use Better Than Bouillon, and don't add any salt)
~ 1/2 tsp. turmeric
~ 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
~ 1 tbsp. each: prepared mustard, vegan Worcestershire sauce
~ 1 tsp. each: Marmite, hot sauce
~ 1 cup nutritional yeast
~ 3 cups plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 1 16 oz. package chopped, frozen spinach
~ 1/2 - 3/4 cup panko crumbs
~ 1 tbsp. Earth Balance, melted
~ 1 tsp. paprika
~ Bring the vegetable broth to a boil, then add the cashews, cover, and allow to soak for at least an hour. After they have cooled, puree the cashews and broth in a food processor until completely smooth. Set aside.
~ In a large, deep pot, melt the margarine and saute the onion over medium heat until very soft, about 10 minutes, being careful not to let them brown.
~ Add the dried seasonings, mustard, Worcestershire, Marmite, and hot sauce.
~ Pour in the pureed cashew mixture, then gradually begin adding the nutritional yeast, stirring constantly.
~ Add the soy milk, and continue cooking about 7-10 minutes more, until the sauce has thickened a bit.
~ Stir in the chopped, frozen spinach, and combine thoroughly. Cook another few minutes, until the spinach has wilted and become incorporated into the sauce.
~ Remove from heat and mix the sauce with the cooked pasta.
~ Coat a 9 x 12" casserole with cooking spray, and fill with the pasta mixture.
~ In a small bowl, combine the panko, melted Earth Balance, and paprika. Sprinkle this mixture over the pasta, cover the casserole with foil, and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
~ Remove the foil, raise the heat to 425, and bake another 10 minutes, until browned and bubbling.
~ Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.