But from here it looks dang overwhelming. The holidays are over, and the next vacation seems miles away. Only a few weeks in and I am already snowed under. So I remember the words of my mother, the best pep-talker in the world: “Take small bites, and your plate won’t seem so full.” Whether you’re trying to lose weight, get organized, go meatless, or just be happier, take it one morsel at a time.
One of my goals for this year is to help my kids learn to love what’s good for them. So I came up with this vegan pasta dish. The appealingly pink sauce uses no butter or cream but is rich, creamy, and properly slurpable. My family devoured it for dinner (perhaps the cup of vodka helped). A few days later, I made the recipe again, this time adding some frozen peas to the sauce. The next day, the leftovers went into the lunchboxes, along with some steamed green beans.
Now I am three meals closer to realizing a resolution. Maybe 2012 won’t be so hard to digest after all.
Serves 8 as a side dish or 4 as a main course (3 cups sauce)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion (or 1 large shallot), finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons white miso paste
1 cup vodka
1 (28-ounce) can tomato purée (preferably San Marzano or organic)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup light unsweetened coconut milk
Pinch of sugar, if needed
1 pound organic Kamut spaghetti, penne, or your favorite shape pasta
Grated vegan Parmesan cheese or Parmesan cheese, for serving
1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over low heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant and translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the miso paste and vodka, increase the heat to medium, and simmer until reduced, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and herbs and continue cooking until the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk; return to a simmer. Adjust seasoning, adding a pinch of sugar if the sauce is too acidic. You should have about 3 cups of sauce.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous handful of salt to the water. Cook the pasta until it is tender but al dente; drain (do not rinse) and place in a large serving bowl.
3. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until smooth. Pour about half the sauce onto the pasta and toss, adding more sauce as desired.
4. Transfer the pasta to serving bowls. Top each portion with a little extra sauce and your favorite grated cheese.
Photo credit: Veganyumyum.com