Did you know that pine nuts are actually taken from pine cones? Well, thanks to Chef Wyrick, mastermind behind the free e-magazine, The Vegan Culinary Experience, I not only know this, but I also know how to turn a generous handful of those little nuts into a rich and “cheesy” pasta in just ten minutes!
This particular pasta recipe is from the January Issue, which focuses on “The Art of Tea.” The issue not only explains the various types and preparations of tea, but it also offers numerous ways to infuse the many flavors of tea into recipes such as this one.
Chef Jason reveals the secrets to this recipe:
Soaking the pine nuts in tea softens them which helps create a smoother “cheese.” I used roasted green tea in this recipe to give the “cheese” a subtle, deep flavor. The tofu is used because it binds the other ingredients and gives the “cheese” the texture of a spread. This makes it easy to mix into the pasta.
Bowtie Pasta with Herbed and Tea-infused Pine Nut “Cheese”
I could eat the “cheese” all by itself, but I know I wouldn’t stop until it was gone! If you like the “cheese,” try it as a spread with crackers at your next party.
Time to Prepare: 1 hour
½ cup of brewed roasted green tea (hojicha tea)
½ cup of pine nuts
4 oz. of extra firm tofu
½ tsp. of salt
¼ tsp. of freshly ground white pepper
1 tbsp. of chopped chives
2 cups of bowtie pasta
Fresh pepper for garnish
Brew the roasted green tea (steep in boiling water for 20 seconds).
Soak the pine nuts in the tea for 30 minutes.
Blend the pine nuts and tea together until you have a pine nut paste.
Add in the tofu, salt, pepper, and chives.
Blend these together until you have a thick “cheese” (it should have the consistency of a thick spread).
Allow this to sit for at least 20 minutes.
Boil the bowtie pasta until it is barely al dente.
Drain the pasta.
Plate up the pasta.
Place a mound of the herbed “cheese” on each plate of pasta.
Garnish the pasta dishes with freshly ground black pepper.
Omit the pine nuts and blend a quarter cup of strongly brewed roasted green tea with the tofu, spices, and chives.
I generally save a few chives and prop them against the mound of “cheese.” The more height you can create, the better your presentation will be.
You can cheat on this recipe and simply blend the pine nuts, tea, tofu, et al together, boil the pasta, and have the entire dish ready in ten minutes. The flavors won’t be as blended and the “cheese” won’t be as smooth, but it’s much faster this way. Just use half the amount of roasted green tea or else the “cheese” will be too wet.
Complementary Food and Drinks
Serve this with a French onion soup and a salad with a light, fruity vinaigrette.