Smoked Apple Sage Pasta

Eating this dish is like taking in warm, forkfuls of flavorful love – a true comfort food.  It reminds me a lot of a dish we used to make back in our omnivore days.  I was in Whole Foods earlier today and discovered a vegan artisan sausage substitute from the Original Field Roast Grain Meat Company.  They had a variety to choose from including Italian, Mexican Chipotle, Wild Mushroom, and Smoked Apple Sage.  I picked the Apple Sage and decided to try “veganizing” our old family favorite.   It turned out fantastic, so of course I had to share it with you!  The beer adds great depth of flavor, and the nutritional yeast lends a savory (almost cheesy) flavor along with tons of amino acids, and B vitamins.

The grain sausage was all natural and full of protein.  It’s main ingriedient is vital wheat gluten, so it wouldn’t be an item you’d want to serve to someone with a gluten intolerance, or Celiac’s disease.  Vital wheat gluten (wheat protein) is also what is used to make seitan, a popular meat alternative affectionately called the “wheat of meat”.

Ingredients:

1 lb. pasta (penne or rigatoni)

1/2 cup water

1 package Smoked Apple Sage Grain Sausage, links cut in half lenthwise, then sliced cross-wise in 1/2 inch pieces

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered

1 large bunch (or bag) of spinach, chopped

1 bottle of beer (pale, amber or wheat)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast (add more or less, to taste)

2 teaspoons dried (or 2 Tablespoons fresh) basil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than package directions.
  2. Once pasta has been added to boiling water, start heating the 1/2 cup of water in a large pan, over medium heat.
  3. Add grain sausage and tomatoes and cook until tomatoes have softened and broken down a bit.
  4. Deglaze pan with about 1/2 cup beer.  You may need to add more later.  Keep an eye on it.  Deglazing allows you to scrape the bits that are stuck to the pan and incorporate them back into your sauce.
  5. Drain pasta, once cooked.  Be sure to 1st reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water for the pasta.
  6. Turn off heat.  Add nutritional yeast, basil and spinach to the tomato mixture.
  7. Add drained pasta to the sauce and stir well, until sauce covers the noodles and spinach is wilted.  Add pasta water and/or beer, if it becomes a bit dry as the pasta soaks up the moisture of your sauce.
  8. Plate and dig in!

Spaghetti with Simmered Tomato-Basil Sauce

Nothing says summer like fresh tomatoes ana basil.  This pasta is quick, easy, and BIG on flavor, thanks to the white wine reduction and balsamic vinegar.  It may not look like a lot of sauce for a pound of pasta, but a little goes a long way.  If you like really saucy pasta, you may want to decrease the amount of pasta.  Serve with a nice green salad, and you’ve got yourself a great meal! 

Ingredients

1 pound whole wheat spaghetti

1 small onion, diced

½ cup dry white wine

red pepper flakes, to taste

3-4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup fresh basil, chopped.

 

Directions

  1. Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.
  2. In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, cook the onions and wine until the wine is reduced to about 2 Tablespoons and the onions are translucent
  3. Add remaining ingredients (except the basil) to the onions.  Once bubbly, reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 min.  If sauce starts to get too reduced (dry), feel free to add a little water (a few tablespoons at a time).
  4. While sauce is simmering, add spaghetti to boiling water and cook for 2 minutes less than package directions.  Drain and place back in the pot.
  5. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in chopped basil.  Add sauce to the spaghetti in the warm pot and toss to combine.  Manga!