I thought I had everything planned to make cheese tortellini with a five cheese sauce, but then I remembered I didn't make any ricotta, and I refuse to buy the store-bought stuff (more on this tomorrow). This was around 5:00, so I needed to think of something fast for supper. Flipping through my cookbooks, I found a recipe for a tofu puttanesca scramble. Brilliant I thought, I have a jar of capers hanging around that I've been wanting to use anyway, so a quick trip to the grocery store for tofu and tomatoes, and I was set.
I expected this to be good, but it was better than that. If you've not had puttanesca, it's a briny, spicy, garlicky, tomatoey sauce, usually tossed with pasta. I know it has some connection to brothels because it was something the ladies could whip up quickly with what they had on hand. The tofu was a great vehicle because it soaked up all the briny flavors of the olives and capers, but you could use pasta or chicken here too. I do wish I had some crusty bread to eat this with.
I served the tofu with parsley-buttered potatoes and roasted green beans. This is my favorite way to have green beans, just toss with a little oil, salt, and pepper, and roast on a cookie sheet. I roasted these at 375 F for about 25 minutes, but sometimes I'll roast them longer to get them softer.
For the potatoes, use a waxy potato like yellow or red for best results. Steam or boil cubed potatoes until tender, but not falling apart. Toss with butter, salt, and lots of chopped parsley.
I didn't use the recipe I found, but it did give me inspiration to whip something up on my own. So, here's my version of Tofu Puttanesca (recipe below picture)
Tomorrow: Cheese Tortellini with 5 Cheeses
- 12 or 16 oz package extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil (you may need a little more depending on how much the tofu sucks up)
- 1 cup whole grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 12 large black olives, sliced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons capers
- 1/2 tablespoon caper brine
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- optional 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley to top
- preheat heavy bottomed straight-sided or pan or large skillet over medium high heat.
- Add olive oil and garlic, cook garlic until brown, but watch it, it will burn quickly. This should take a little less than a minute.
- Add cubed tofu and red pepper flakes. Cook in skillet for 10 minutes until tofu cubes begin to brown. You'll need to flip the cubes a few times during this process, but be gentle, and try not to break then up too much. Add more oil if the cubes start to stick.
- Add tomatoes, olives, capers, and brine. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until tomatoes start to get soft.
- Remove from heat and top with parsley if using.