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Ricotta Pasta Bake

Joanne Rappos 

Olive & Mango

Hamilton, Ontario

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Instagram: @theoliveandmango | oliveandmango.com

INGREDIENTS

 

12 oz (11⁄2 packs) quinoa rice
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 (28 oz) can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
3⁄4 tsp salt
1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp oregano
1⁄4 tsp chili flakes
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh basil
4 cups kale, rinsed and chopped and thick stems removed
2 cups asparagus, rinsed, woody ends snapped off, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 & 1⁄2 cups vegan ricotta (recipe opposite page)
 

METHOD

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
     

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until slightly underdone, approximately 5 minutes with this pasta. Drain and place cooked pasta back in the pot and set aside until ready to use.
     

  • Next, make the sauce. Heat olive oil in a medium pot on medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic and chili flakes and sauté until golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute. Then add tomatoes, salt, pepper and oregano and simmer 10-15 minutes until thickened. Stir in basil and turn off heat.
     

  • While the sauce is simmering, steam the kale and asparagus in batches for a few minutes until bright green and tender, then add to the pot with cooked pasta.
     

  • Pour tomato sauce into the pot with the cooked pasta and vegetables. Stir until well combined. Check for seasoning and adjust as needed. Pour mixture into a large casserole dish.
     

  • Dollop the ricotta over the top of the pasta. (Feel free to spread it in an even layer or leave it dolloped.) Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes until casserole is golden on the top with crispy edges.
     

     

     

  • Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes before serving, then serve garnished with fresh basil.

 

RICOTTA RECIPE

 

4 cups medium-packed fresh spinach

2 small garlic cloves
3⁄4 cup raw cashews
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tbsp water
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup crumbled extra-firm tofu

1 tsp dried oregano

1⁄2 tsp lemon zest
1⁄4 tsp red pepper flakes

1⁄2 tsp dry harissa seasoning (optional)
 

METHOD

  • Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and insert a steamer basket. Place the spinach and the garlic in the basket and bring to a boil. Cover and steam for 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted but still bright green. Remove the garlic and set aside. Scoop the spinach onto a kitchen towel or paper towels and squeeze out the excess water. Roughly chop.
     

  • In a blender, place the garlic, cashews, water, lemon juice, salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until creamy.
     

  • In a medium bowl, mix together the tofu, steamed spinach, oregano, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, harissa (if using) and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir in the cashew. Taste and add more salt, if desired.

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