Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Penne in Creamy Basil-Walnut Sauce

This pesto-like sauce over pasta makes for a quick and easy weeknight supper.

Cook 1/2 a pound of penne pasta according to package directions. I chose the gluten-free rice penne from De Boles even though there are plenty of 100% duram wheat pennes out there - not out of any aversion to gluten, but because it conveniently comes in a 1/2 pound package, and most pastas are sold in packages by the pound.

While the pasta is cooking, trim the crusts off one slice of white bread (the Country White from Vermont Bread is vegan). Cut the slice in half and place half in a shallow dish (discard the other half). Pour 1/4 cup plain soy milk (such as Silk) over the bread slice, and let stand 5 minutes.

Place the bread mixture in a food processor, along with 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, 1/4 cup coarsley chopped walnuts, 1 tablespoon shredded vegan cheese in place of Romano (such as the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods), 1 and 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, and 1 small peeled garlic clove. But don't run the food processor yet!

When the pasta is done cooking, drain over a bowl, reserving a tablespoon and a half of the cooking liquid. Transfer the reserved cooking liquid to the basil mixture in the food processor, and now process until smooth. (Note: the reason to wait until the end to process the pesto is because it will darken quickly, once made).

Combine the pasta and the pesto in a bowl, tossing well. This is best served immediately. You could also garnish it with some chopped parsley, if you like.

You'll have 3 servings of 1 and 1/3 cups and 380 calories.

white bread $4.59
basil $4.98
vegan cheese $3.39
penne pasta $2.69

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance