The other day I came upon a picture of a non-vegan baked mostaccioli recipe, complete with ooey, gooey cheese. Wanting to make a kinder version of that was my impetus for this recipe.
It is almost Pantry+ friendly, but not quite, but I was very pleased with the dish, in spite of that. It has 11 ingredients and does take a bit to make, going from stove to oven to bake, but it is well worth it. If you just want to make the sauce and not bake it, then you are still in for a treat.
It's actually pretty simple, cooking plenty of garlic and ground seitan (or mushrooms) in some olive oil, along with a good helping of chili flakes, oregano and basil. Adding the tomato products and letting the sauce reduce and thicken is the key to this quick sauce - ready after only 30 minutes. I was surprised at the depth after relatively such short time. I've heard of sauces that need to cook for hours.
Check out the color and textural difference! It is thick, rich, dark red and extremely flavorful.
Toss the sauce with the pasta and end it right there, taking it to the dinner table, garnished with fresh basil.
Or you can add it to an oven safe skillet, add plenty of melt-able vegan cheese ....
and bake it until bubbly and golden brown. Admittedly, I failed on the cheese part. I used a cashew-based cheese and if the cashew cheese has too much cashews in it, the cheese just simply will not melt because it has too much unmelt-able components - the cashews!
Nonetheless, we enjoyed the dish thoroughly! You, however, can learn from my mistake and bake this with a combination of Follow Your Heart Mozzarella (use the block that you shred at home) and Daiya. Together the two will melt incredibly well for you, just like on a pizza. Or, better, yet, use Somer's Moxarella cheese, which is already melted and only needs to be browned. Should have, would have, could have....didn't!
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Baked Arrabiata Mostaccioli
Makes 4 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 cups ground seitan (or 1 pound ground mushrooms)
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 to 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (6-ounce) jarred tomato paste (or 7-ounces of tomato concentrate)
2 (15-ounces) jarred diced tomatoes
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Sugar, if needed
1 pound penne or mostaccioli
2 to 4 cups shredded vegan cheese (preferably a combination of meltable cheeses)
Fresh basil, for garnish
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the seitan, garlic, chili flakes, oregano and basil. Cook, stirring often, until the seitan is golden brown. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 more minute, stirring to incorporate the paste. Add the diced tomatoes and salt. Stir well, bring to boil and reduce to medium-low. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened and reduced, about 30 minutes.
2. In the meantime, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Drain and reserve. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees F.
3. Taste and adjust seasoning of the sauce. Add salt and sugar as needed. Add the pasta and toss well to combine. Transfer to an oven-safe skillet and add the cheese. Bake in the pre-heated oven until the cheese is bubbly and golden, about 20 minutes. Once melted, broil the cheese for 5 minutes if it refuses to brown. Serve garnished with fresh basil.
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