St. Patrick’s Day is approaching, the day when everyone in America suddenly wants to be just like me – or at least, they want to be Irish!
True, Americans have some very odd ideas about what being Irish means. The celebration basically comes down to wearing green, pinching people who don’t wear green, drinking beer, demanding kisses, and eating either Irish stew and colcannon or – anything green.
So … Coming up this week are a few green recipes for you!
Let’s start with fettuccine alfredo with broccoli. I’ve always thought of this as an amusing little dish. Fettuccine Alfredo is basically butter, noodles, eggs, butter, cream, butter, cheese, and butter – and oh, a little salt and pepper and nutmeg. (Of course, I’m sure its original incarnation in Italy was considerably lighter than the American version – we do take things to unrecognizable extremes here.) At some point someone looked at this dish and said, “Faith and Begorrah! It’s just fat, calories, and cholesterol – a heart attack in a bowl!” The simple solution, of course, was to add something green – a few sprigs of broccoli. Magically, the dish was then healthy!
This vegan version really is healthy. Still lots of carb-y pasta and a creamy-dreamy sauce, but much, much lower in fat, calories – AND cholesterol-free! (As well as cruelty-free.) Plus, it’s fast and easy. What more could someone ask for in a comfort food?
Ingredients for Fettucine Alfredo with Broccoli and Capers:
1 Large Crown Broccoli
8 Oz. (Half Package) Fettuccine
1 pkg Silken Tofu
1/8 Cup Olive Oil
1/8 Cup White Wine (Optional)
1/4 Cup Favorite Cooking “Milk”
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
3 Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
Juice of 1 Small Lemon or 1/2 Large Lemon
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Tablespoons Capers
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Salt, to taste
Directions for Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli and Capers:
Put a large saucepan of water on to boil for the pasta.
Chop the broccoli into small, bite-sized florets. Rinse well under several changes of running water.
At about this time, your pasta water come to a boil. Boil the fettuccine according to package directions. Steam the broccoli in another pot, about 7 minutes or until bright green and still firm. Do not overcook, as it will cook more in the sauce.
While broccoli and pasta are cooking, make the sauce. You can use a blender or a food processor, whatever you have on hand – I used my mini food processor. Add the tofu, olive oil, white wine (if using), “milk”, nutritional yeast, garlic, onion powder, lemon juice, and nutmeg. Blend until smooth.
When broccoli is done, remove broccoli and steamer insert from pot. Add sauce, capers, and a generous grind of black pepper. Add the broccoli. Gently heat until the sauce is just lightly bubbling. Taste the sauce with a piece of broccoli – do you need to add more lemon? Salt? (The capers lend some saltiness, but with broccoli I usually have to add a little salt anyway.) More black pepper?
Drain pasta when done. Add to the sauce once the sauce is warm and bubbly and stir gently.
Dish into pasta bowls and enjoy – guilt free!