In addition to my love of potatoes, which are seriously MY jam, I have a deep and abiding love for pasta dishes. When my husband and I made the decision individually to make the switch to a plant based diet, the only thing I wasn’t concerned about was how to veganize my favorite pasta recipes. And then the hubs, Cos, created a spectacular puttanesca dish that made my toes curl.
No lie y’all…my toes legit curled.
He decided to recreate the dish for his parents who are ride or die meat lovers in an effort to help them live healthier, longer lives. And since I’ve been knee deep in deadlines, book covers and marketing strategies, I was stoked when he sat this dish on the table. For those of you purists who claim it isn’t a proper puttanesca because there are no anchovies, I dare you to try this version and not ooh and aah until you have to roll yourself to bed.
I won’t pretend like I made this dish because I didn’t and if I think long and hard about it, I’m not sure I’ve ever made a puttanesca in my entire life but this one was quite fantastic. Maybe it’s because we live in an old school Romanian apartment that is made of mostly concrete which means it stays cool, like super damn chilly cool. All. Of. The. Time. Which means in the eight days since we’ve moved here, I have been craving warm dishes like soups, hearty pastas and wine. But, we’ll get to the wine later.
As you can see from the photos there are tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, green and black olives, large capers and ground tofu. But let’s take a moment and talk a little bit about ground tofu because it is a wonder of the world. I’ll tell you later this week about the Shepherd’s Pie I created with it but right now let’s talk about this slightly greasy, but packed full of flavor pasta dish that kept my belly full and warm.
Or maybe it was the wine.
Cos cooked it up in our brand new kitchen, which is totally retro with a gas stove. A gas stove, guys!!! I never thought I’d be excited about gas anything but I love it. It cooks fast and pure and there’s none of that heat lowering and raising that you have to deal with when you have an electric stove. But again, I didn’t cook and I’m just protecting because last night was my night to cook and I kind of fell in love with the old stove…once I figured out how to light the pilot on my own!
I’ll bet you’re wondering what happened to the plates with the colorful flowers, right? Well those are our plates and since my in laws live close by, as in across the hall we are sharing our delicious plant based eats with them–yes in an effort to convert them–so we all get to look at different plates once in awhile. But because my father in law and drinking partner loves wine, we decided to cap the meal off with a vegan German wine, a Spatburgunder, which I grew to love during my time in Deutschland.
The good thing about this dish is that by choosing fresh ingredients you can maximize the flavor which means you can minimize the oil you use because the ground tofu has just enough that you don’t need to go overboard. Take my advice here and try to minimize the amount of oil you use when cooking and your heart will thank you when you’re old and gray. Go crazy and choose different types of tomatoes. We do our shopping together which means I can sneak in cherry or grape tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes which have varied tastes that enhance a dish like you would not believe! Skip those crappy (but sometimes tasty) canned tomatoes and your belly will thank you.
If you’re feeling frisky and want more flavor, experiment with different types of olives. Cos used black Spanish olives and the green Manzanilla olives with the pimentos in the center. But try kalamata or some other fancy and let me know how it goes!