Comrade Kelly’s Communist Manipesto (Chapter 1)

December 31st, 2008 5:03 pm by Kelly Garbato

I started to think about this year’s FSMas feast well before November. Since we’re talking about a (spoof) religion which revolves around pasta and pirates, a noodle-based dish is basically a given. Last year, we had lasagna…the same as every x-mas before. What can I say? The pasta, I loves it. That, and I’m not especially adventurous in the kitch.

But in the spirit of Vegan MoFo, I vowed to try out a new dish this year – but what?

Stephen Colbert to the rescue! (@ 2.27):


Communist Manipesto – that’s the ticket. Naturally, a “Communist Manipesto” dish must involve manicotti and pesto. And sundried tomato pesto is the shit! Blend a pesto recipe with a little tofu for bulk, stuff it in a package of manicotti, and there’s a FSMas dinner to (not) die for!

So I started by Googling around the internets in search of sundried tomato pesto recipes, finally settling on this one from All Recipes:

Ingredients

* 4 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
* 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
* 1/4 cup chopped pine nuts
* 3 tablespoons chopped onion
* 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
* 1 tablespoon tomato paste
* 1/3 cup crushed tomatoes
* 1/4 cup red wine
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* salt to taste

Directions

1. Place sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with warm water for 5 minutes, or until tender.

2. In a food processor or blender combine sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts and onion; process until well blended. Add vinegar, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and red wine, and process. Stir in olive oil and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt to taste.

Of course, this was only a starting point – I had to modify the recipe a bit to make it vegan. And, you know, adjust certain ingredients according to what I did and didn’t have in the pantry. And add a few extra steps.

Here’s the final version of the recipe…well, the final version of Chapter 1, anyway. I’m not in love with it, so likely there will be additional “Chapters” forthcoming. More on that below!

Comrade Kelly’s Communist Manipesto (Chapter 1)

2008-12-25 - Communist Manipesto - 0008

Ingredients

For the Sundried Tomato/Tofu Manicotti Filling:

* 6 ounces sun-dried tomatoes
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
* 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
* 1/4 cup chopped pine nuts (optional – I was fresh out of them)
* 3 tablespoons chopped onion
* 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
* 4 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1/2 cup crushed (or diced) tomatoes
* 1/4 cup red wine
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* salt to taste
* 1 12.3 oz brick of Silken Tofu (or similar size)

And:

* 1 package (8 oz) of manicotti pasta
* 1 can tomato/pasta sauce (26 oz, give or take)

* A food processor or professional/industrial strength blender
* A large glass baking pan

Note: As you can see, I increased the final amounts of the tomato products – the sundried tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. This was in an effort to offset the taste of the balsamic vinegar and/or red wine, one (or both) of which I Did. Not. Like. (Too sour!) You can follow suit, or use the originally called-for amounts. Or, as a compromise, start with the original amounts, and add in extra tomatoes to taste.

Directions

1. Place sundried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with warm water for 5 minutes, or until tender. If you’re using sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil, skip this step.

2. In a food processor, combine sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, garlic, pine nuts, onion, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, red wine and olive oil. Process until the pesto is well blended, but still a little chunky. Add salt (and additional tomato products if so desired) to taste.

2008-12-24 - Sundried Tomato Pesto - 0003

2008-12-24 - Sundried Tomato Pesto - 0007

3. Remove the pesto from the food processor; place in a bowl and set aside.

4. Place the silken tofu in the food processor and process until smooth and creamy.

5. Leaving the blended tofu in the food processor, gradually add in the sundried tomato pesto, a few tablespoons at a time. Process the tofu and pesto until well blended, stopping to taste as needed. Keep adding the pesto to the pesto/tofu manicotti filling until you’re satisfied with the taste and texture.

2008-12-24 - Sundried Tomato Pesto - 0008

Note: Depending on your preferences, you may or may not add all of the pesto to the pesto/tofu filling. Really, how much pesto you use depends on how strong you’d like your manicotti filling to taste. We blended a full batch of pesto with one brick of silken tofu. At least I think it was a full batch – we made a double batch of pesto to start, not knowing how much pesto we’d need, so it’s hard to tell how much we actually used. We still have a full batch of sundried tomato pesto languishing in the freezer; Shane swears he’ll eat it on some toast, for reals!

6. Transfer the pesto/tofu filling to another bowl. Save any leftover sundried tomato pesto in the fridge or freezer (or your tummy).

7. Cook your package of manicotti pasta according to the directions on the box. When done, drain, rinse with cold water and set aside.

8. Coat the bottom of your baking pan with a thin layer of pasta sauce; a little less than half a jar/can, perhaps.

9. Using a butter knife, stuff the pesto/tofu filling into the manicotti. (Or, if you’ve got a better method for stuffing manicotti shells, drop it in the comments!) You should have enough pesto/tofu filling for 16 shells.

2008-12-24 - Communist Manipesto - 0001

10. As you fill each piece of manicotti, gently lay it in the baking pan.

11. When done, coat the manicotti with the rest of the pasta sauce.

12. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.

2008-12-25 - Communist Manipesto - 0003

13. Serve warm with dinner rolls.

Additional commentary

I made this dish on FSMas eve (which fell on the 24th this year), let it sit in the fridge overnight, and then just popped it in the oven 45 minutes prior to dinner the next day.

I actually wasn’t crazy with how the pesto came out, so I ended up making myself pierogies for FSMas dinner. Shane, on the other hand, quite liked the manicotti – which was cool, cause he had the whole batch to himself.

Upon reflection, I think the balsamic vinegar and/or the red wine ruined it for me – the pesto tasted very sour, and not tomato-y enough…even though I kept adding extra tomato paste, diced tomatoes and sundried tomatoes to try and salvage the dish. *Shrug* You win some, you lose some.

I’ve not yet given up on the idea of “Comrade Kelly’s Communist Manipesto” – I think I’ll keep experimenting with the dish until I find a recipe I like.

Some possibilities:
* Repeat this recipe, omitting the balsamic vinegar and/or red wine;
* Try a different sundried tomato recipe;
* Try one (or both) of the above, but with “regular” tofu, crumbled and hand mixed with the pesto, instead of silken tofu;
* Try one (or both) of the above, but with veggies, diced and hand mixed with the pesto, instead of tofu;
* Try one (or all) of the above, but using the pesto as a sauce on spaghetti (or a similarly stringy pasta) instead of stuffing it in manicotti. That was tedious, yo.

To sum up, I wasn’t thrilled with the dish, but Shane was. I’m a super-annoyingly-fussy eater, so be your own decider person.

Either way, it’s not half bad for a recipe which started as the punch line to a campaign season joke on The Colbert Report.

(Crossposted.)

——————

Tagged:

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply