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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Festive Fettuccine Florentine

Inspiration for new recipes comes from all different places.  As with many of my recipes, the inspiration for this pasta dish was necessity.  Not so much necessity in the fact that I have to eat to survive, but more that I had  to find a good vegan alfredo recipe because I was craving it like crazy.
While this recipe is far from fat-free, it is cholesterol free and amazing.  Since cholesterol is only found in animal foods, vegan food is naturally cholesterol free.  Now, that's not to say that everything vegan is healthy, including this dish, as I would never normally put 1/2 cup of vegan butter in anything.  But hey, it's Christmas.  I'll get to posting fat-free goodies in a few days.
During the holidays, most of us take on the task of consuming all of the delicious, rich, comfort food that we can get our hands on.  Cookies, egg nog, fudge, casseroles, rolls with butter, anything drenched in gravy.  So maybe cholesterol-free is a good thing.

*Note:   I'm pretty sure you can buy roasted garlic at the store, but it's probably way cheaper to do it yourself.  Here's how:
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Peel as much of the papery skin off the bulb as you can while keeping the bulb intact.    Slice off the tops of the bulbs so the cloves are just exposed.  Place garlic bulbs on a sheet of tin foil and drizzle with olive oil.  Wrap the bulbs in the foil and bake 45-50 minutes.

Festive Fettuccine Florentine

1 lb fettuccine

1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter
2 cups almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
12 oz firm silken tofu
2 Tbsp white cooking wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp thyme
3 Tbsp vegan Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 heads roasted garlic, skins peeled

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
16 oz artichoke hearts, quartered
5 oz fresh baby spinach

Fill a large soup pot with water and bring to a boil.  Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine all sauce ingredients and blend until well combined and smooth.
Pour sauce into a medium sauce pan and heat on medium-high, whisking almost constantly for about 6 minutes.  Do not let the sauce boil.  When sauce has thickened, add the tomatoes and artichokes, and heat through, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Stir in the spinach and heat for another 3 minutes.
When pasta is done, drain and return to pan.  Pour in the sauce and stir to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

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