Tuesday, March 26, 2013

spaghetti we agree on

Spaghetti is an easy dinner. Twice cooked spaghetti is an easy dinner that takes a bit more time, but is really worth it. I sprinkle the top with bread crumbs which makes it extra crunchy, and the layer of pesto I add on the bottom gives an earthy, vibrant and tangy element. Best of all, it's something everybody loves! Serve with a simple salad.

1 lb of pasta
31/2 -4 cups marinara, homemade is best but a jar is fine too
1  8 ounce container of vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp lemon pepper
olive oil spritz

for the pesto:
1 small garlic clove, chopped
2 TB fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds, or walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, or any combination of these
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c olive oil
3/4 cup lightly packed chopped basil
1 cup greens, such as kale. I used this:

To make the pesto, put all the ingredients, except the oil, into a cuisinart, and pulse until it's pretty chopped up. Then add the olive oil and pulse until the texture is to your liking. I made mine pretty smooth (kid friendlier). You'll probably have to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Spread the thin layer of pesto on the bottom of an 8 X 11 pyrex, or another baking dish.

Boil the pasta until al dente, drain, reserve about 1/4 cup water. Return to the pot with the water, add the cream cheese, nutritional yeast, and marinara and stir until the cheese has melted and everything is mixed together. Using tongs, or two spoons, gently spread the pasta on top of the pesto layer,  being kind of careful to not move the pesto around too much. Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and lemon pepper. I use lemon pepper because when I was a kid my aunt made this dish and she always used lemon pepper. Spritz with olive oil, optional.
Bake at 400 for 35 minutes uncovered, until the top is golden and crispy.

This is also a great thing to make in the morning and then refrigerate until dinner time. You would need to adjust the cooking time, of course.

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