Sunday, May 16, 2010

Creamy Spinach and Tofu Spaghetti

Three years ago I would have balked at tofu (and if I'm honest, three months ago, I would have balked at tofu) but here I am sharing a recipe of which the main ingredient is tofu. I have very little knowledge of tofu except that it is a healthy alternative to meat and a good source of protein. I had no idea where to find tofu in the store and had to ask two employees before I found it. The first told me it was in the bakery (which I should have known was an odd choice but I took him as an expert) and then the kindly woman baker told me to go to the produce section. I still thought that was an odd choice considering the last time I checked, tofu doesn't grow from a plant, but I did find it tucked in its little corner next to the fresh herbs and baby carrots.

So I made this easy enough pasta dish that makes me feel like I am actually being healthy considering every time I take a bite the flavor of the fresh spinach, heart-healthy olive oil, and protein-packed tofu perfectly complements the hearty bite of the whole wheat spaghetti. So eat up! And then grab that ice cream in the refrigerator. Because I sincerely feel that you have earned that sweet luxury if you can claim you had tofu for dinner.

Creamy Spinach and Tofu Spaghetti
from Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2007 or here

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Cooking Spray
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 cups tightly packed fresh baby spinach
1 1/2 cups cubed reduced-fat silken tofu (about 6 ounces)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups hot cooked whole wheat spaghetti (about 8 ounces uncooked)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (I tried to toast these on the stove and almost, well, did, burn them. Just thought I would share.)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place tomatoes, cu sides up, on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle tomatoes with 2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake at 450 degree for 7 minutes or until tender.
Place 2 teaspoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, spinach, and next six ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.
Combine spinach mixture and pasta in a large skillet; cook over low heat two minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Gently stir in tomatoes and pine nuts. Serve immediately. Yields 4 servings (about 1 1/4 cups a serving).

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