Pasta Nests

My mom used to make these pasta nests for Christmas Eve dinner.  I made a tahini soup without garlic and onion earlier this summer, and its lemony flavour reminded me of pasta nests.  Seeing as how the original pasta nest recipe was glutinous, cheesy, and eggy, I took a stab at making it fit my nutritional and ethical specifications.  Since the lemon juice curdles the tofu, the cheezy sauce has an eggy texture.  I think my updated version tastes similar, if not better, than the original.

Fighting words, I know.

Tangy Pasta Nests with Vegetables
Serves 4-6

2 cups mixed frozen vegetables

8 ounces rice fettuccine

1 small clove garlic
3/4 cup non-dairy, unsweetened milk (coconut is a good option)
12.3 ounces firm silken tofu
juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon margarine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash black pepper

Defrost and drain mixed frozen vegetables.  Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, in a blender, pulverize the garlic until it is chopped into tiny pieces.  Add the milk, tofu, lemon juice and zest, nutritional yeast, and tahini.  Blend until well combined and there are no chunks.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9-by-9-inch glass baking dish.

In a saucepan, melt the margarine and whisk in the cornstarch, salt, and pepper; cook for 1 minute over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Whisk in half the blended mixture.  While stirring, cook until mixture is thick and bubbly.  Stir in the remaining half of the mixture and vegetables and heat almost to boiling.  Remove from heat and pour half of this mixture into the baking dish.

Toss together the pasta and the other half of the tofu mixture.  With a long-tined fork, twirl the pasta into circular arrangements and place on the sauce.  Pour any remaining sauce on top.

Cover dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes (or longer, if you want crispy ends).

For the nests in the picture, I did not cover the dish with foil when I baked it so it didn't brown much on top.


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