by Holladay Allen
Native Foods Cafe
Yesterday, October 25th, was World Pasta Day. And I am hoping that all of you pasta freaks out there celebrated in a grand ol’ fashion…. by making homemade pasta! If not, there is always this weekend to roll up your shirt sleeves and start kneading some dough. And here is the perfect recipe to get you started.... homemade vegan tortellini!
But first let’s look at this brief timeline of the history of pasta:
1st Century BC: The first writings of pasta document sheets of dough that were fried.
2nd Century BC: The first type of “lagana” is made of sheets of dough, crushed lettuce, and spices…. Then deep-fried!
5th Century BC: Another “lagana” recipe pops up, this time with layers of dough and a meat “stuffing.”
2-9 Centuries AD: Recorded instances of “boiled dough,” string-like shapes of semolina,” and “homogenous compounds of flour and water” in Palestine, Greece and Sicily.
5th Century AD: In order to prepare for long journeys abroad, Arabs created the first dried pasta.
13th Century: Rumor has it that Marco Polo was importing pasta from China.
14th & 15th Centuries: Dried pasta becomes a hit! Easy to store and ship.
18th Century: Pasta is served with tomato sauce…. and the rest is history! Before tomato sauce, pasta was eaten plain and with the hands…. As only the wealthy could afford eating utensils.
So that was interesting…. now on to Vegan Tortellini with a Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce! So this was my first foray into the world of homemade pasta… and I am not going to lie…. It took a reallllllyyyyy long time to shape those tortellini. But it was worth the work. I used a recipe from Vegan Explosion (Crystal, one of the owners of Food for Lovers Vegan Queso…. So delicious) for the tortellini and made up my own for the red pepper cream sauce. So here we go….
Vegan Tortellini with a Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce
3 cups unbleached flour
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp olive oil
4 Ener-G Egg Replacer "Eggs"
6 TBSP water
1. Sift flour and salt into a large bowl.
2. In a separate cup: mix water, oil and "eggs" together.
3. Make a well in the middle of the flour/salt mixture.
4. Pour egg/water/oil mix into the well.
5. With your fingers, knead until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
6. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour on counter
Now you can prepare the ricotta. I followed Crystal’s Ricotta Recipe, but I think next time I will make a Sausage Ricotta, folding in crumbled sausage seitan into the ricotta instead of mushroom and olives. Mix together the following in a bowl, making sure to really mash up the tofu so it has a creamy ricotta-like texture:
2 TBSP olive oil
1- 14 oz pk firm or extra firm tofu (not silken), drained and pressed
1 small can sliced mushrooms
1 small can sliced black olives
3 TBSP tahini
3 TBSP nutritional yeast (I increased the amount here)
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp sage (I did not have, so I used poultry seasoning instead)
Then, mix in ½ cup of shredded vegan mozzarella. I used Teese, and I do not have a cheese grater, so I chopped up like so:
Back to the dough! After an hour, either put it through your pasta roller OR separate it into 4 parts and roll out each part flat with a rolling pin (I used a glass bottle). Roll as thin as possible, use a knife to cut a rectangle and put the scraps to the side. The scraps later became the fifth rectangle.
Roll in to 8x6 rectangles, and then cut 2x2 squares. Brush them with a light coating of olive oil.
In the center of each square, drop about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon ricotta filling. Don’t put too much… I kept doing this and the innards were squeezing out.
To form a triangle, take one end and press it into the opposite end of the square.
Press all sides firmly. You can even stretch out the corners so they are easier to fold. Pick up the triangle, so the top is facing you.
Fold the top corner of the triangle over the opposite side of the triangle, leaving a flap.
Pick it up and wrap the bottom corners around your fingertip. Press and seal the corners together.
Boil the tortellini in lightly salted water for about 3 minutes. They will float to the top like little pillows when almost ready. Remove them from the water once al dente.
Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight*
12 oz jar roasted peppers, in brine, not oil
½ cup tomato sauce
1 yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
dried oregano, to taste
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
(*if you do not have time to soak the cashews overnight, our boiling water on top and let sit for a couple of hours)
In a very small amount of oil, sauté the onion and garlic until translucent.
Add in the spices then sauté a minute more.
Place onion mix, cashews, roasted peppers, and tomato sauce in a blender or food processor and puree. Adjust salt and pepper if needed. This sauce was so delicious, we were dipping bread into before dinner was even served...