If I haven’t hammered it home how much I think everyone should purchase their own copy of Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowtiz and Terry Hope Romano, here is another plug. The recipes in Vcon have been obviously tested and retested to the point where you are hard pressed to make any improvements on them. That includes their recipe for Cashew Ricotta. It is perfect in every way.
That said, sometimes I don’t have everything on hand and am in a rush or get a wild hair up my tuckus and take liberties with their tried and true recipes. Such was the case this week when I got it into my head at the last minute that I wanted to make some manicotti for my love this past Valentine’s Day. I didn’t need to make a whole batch and had some fresh basil in the house from the brushcetta I had made the day before so I tweaked the sacred recipe and made it my own. It filled 5 manicotti shells. Read on to find out who got the 5th shell since this was…
Vegantine’s Day Manicotti for Two
5 uncooked manicotti shells
1 1/2 C. (1/2 jar) of your favorite marinara sauce
1/4 C. Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. almond meal
pinch of salt
Tofu Cashew Ricotta
1/4 C. raw cashews
1 clove of garlic
8 oz extra firm tofu (crumbled, not pressed)
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 C. fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°
In a food processor, blend the 9 ingredients for the ricotta (cashews – pepper) until smooth and creamy. It helps to scrape it down with a spatula once or twice and go back to blending to make sure you get it evenly processed.
Stuff the uncooked manicotti shells with the blended ricotta. Pour a small portion of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 1 quart casserole, just enough to coat the bottom. Place the filled manicotti shells in the casserole and evenly cover with the remaining sauce. (It might look like too much but the pasta absorbs some of it while baking.)
Toss the Daiya, nutritional yeast, almond meal and pinch of salt together and sprinkle evenly on top of the saucy manicotti. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving with a big mixed green salad and bread.
Birbanto lobbied for the 5th shell of manicotti until he realized it didn’t have a bit of animal derived product in it. “People are the strangest cats,” he remarked. He still blocked our way for attention and insisted to be included in the photo shoot. Our romantic Vegantine’s Day dinner for two, plus cats.