Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thrown Together: Tofu Pasta Bake

When I got home from work the other night I learned that the Toddler had not napped.  Oh no!  That was a signal that the evening was going to be a little hectic and probably at least 1 to 2 tantrums would be thrown. 

The Toddler seemed to be in a good mood when I arrived, but I quickly discovered that she was pretty demanding.  First - she wanted to help "paint" the "chick".  Which means she wants to help me spread marinade over chicken using a really cute pink basting brush.  But we weren't having "chick" - we were going to have tofu, which hadn't even been drained and pressed, so I couldn't even marinate it!

She was not having any of this!  She pulled a chair up to the counter and yelled "paint"!  So I scrambled to get things ready. Thankfully she was content to "paint" some spice jars with the brush while I quickly drained the tofu and tried to figure out what I was going to do.  I ended up with this:

Pretty Simple Tofu Pasta Bake
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • dried herbs: I used oregano, basil and sage
  • tofu (I only had firm, but since it is suposed to be replacing ricotta, you can use a "less firm" variety)
  • tubular pasta (ziti, etc) or rotini
  • 1-2 jars marinara sauce
  • 1 2 C bag reduced fat mozzarella cheese 
  • combine equal parts balsamic vinegar and oil (I didn't measure since I was literally throwing this together) and add some herbs in to taste.  Whisk together. 
  • In normal circumstances I would have marinated the tofu in the vinegar mixture, but the Toddler wanted to paint, so instead of marinating, we "painted" the sides of the tofu with the vinegar mixture and let that sit while I cooked the pasta.  There was some marinade left over.  If you end up painting and not marinating - don't throw it away!!
  • Drain pasta and crumble tofu.  Add crumbled tofu to pasta
  • Pour in 3/4 jar of marinara sauce and combine. 
  • Then (this is my secret) - put the rest of the vinegar mixture into the pasta and sauce combine!  I think this gave some more flavor and moisture.  I would skip this step if you marinated the tofu.
  • Stir in 1/2 C - 1C mozzarella cheese.
  • Top with remaining 1/4 jar of sauce (plus extra if you want from 2nd jar) and some extra mozz.
  • Bake at 350F for 1/2 hour or until browned and bubbling.  Serve with extra sauce and some parmesan cheese.

What would I have changed?  Probably nothing, other than trying to actually measure the balsamic vinegar marinade ingredients.  If I make it again I probably won't even marinate the tofu!  The "painting" worked out really well, as did throwing the extra marinade into the pasta mixture prior to baking.

Do you have any tofu recipes that you can throw together pretty fast??

1 comment:

  1. Yum, that looks delicious!

    And as far as grilling tofu, that was my first time! So, I'm not sure what tricks I have, haha. The marinade I used was fairly dark so I think that helped with the grill lines, it almost caramelized on the tofu, probably from the Hoisin sauce. Other than that I just put it on a hot grill pan for about 4 or 5 minutes per side!


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