Easy Peasy Spaghetti Pie

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Cashews are one of my favorite nuts, if only because they pop up in so many vegan cheese recipes. And with their rich, savory, vaguely cheesy flavor, it’s no wonder why. (Gawker even rated them the Second-Best Nut of All Time. “Cashew: A crescent moon of flavor / In the night sky of nut jars.”)

In addition to some pretty rad dried strawberries, Gourmet Nuts and Dried Fruit also provided me a five pound bag of raw cashews to play around with.

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Naturally, I made cheesy pasta!

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So I was first introduced to the concept of Spaghetti Pie by Tami Noyes, by way of her most excellent cookbook, American Vegan Kitchen. (Seriously, this is one of a handful of cookbooks that I can’t recommend highly enough.) Since then, I’ve encountered variations on this theme in a number of places. (See, e.g., Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater.) Over time, I’ve plucked elements from each recipe and smooshed and mashed and cobbled them together to create a version that’s a) easy; b) mostly sticks to ingredients that I’m likely to have on hand; and c) is still super freaking delicious.

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Spaghetti pie (or cake, or whatever you want to call it) typically has a bottom layer of pasta (either plain or lightly coated with sauce), followed by a tofu-based, ricotta-like cheese (this is where the cashews come in!), and then topped with pasta sauce and either vegan mozzarella cheese or some other bake-able topping, such as breadcrumbs mixed with nutritional yeast. You can get as complicated as you want; for example, by hand-roasting red peppers and then simmering them in your own special red sauce for a full day beforehand. One of my favorite things about this recipe is its versatility: sure, you can go all gourmet when time allows – but if you’re in a pinch, swapping out the special sauce for store-bought stuff saves time time without sacrificing quality (well, not too much, anyway).

Without further ado, I present: Kelly’s Easy Peasy Spaghetti Pie. (Yeah, I know it’s hot out. Still worth it.)

(More below the fold…)

Sicilian Skillet Pasta Pie (and then some!)

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

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I can’t even believe that I hadn’t heard of spaghetti pies up until a few months ago. Now it’s one of my new favorites! Top 5 easy.

This version is from Donna Klein’s Vegan Italiano, though you’d hardly know it – I changed it up that much. Whereas hers is relatively healthy, mine is not so much.

For starters, I topped the pie with homemade breadcrumbs and a generous helping of mozzarella Daiya cheese.

(Sorry if the breadcrumbs look a little on the burned side – I’m still getting used to my oven’s broiler settings. Not ninety seconds in and they were practically smoking! Still tasty though, and the toasty sides softened right up in the sauce.)

In place of fresh cherry tomatoes (boo winter!), I used a batch of marinara sauce that I made and frozen in the fall. There was enough sauce – about three cups – that I decided to skip the canned tomatoes altogether, though I did throw in a few tablespoons of tomato pasta for that extra saucy goodness. Double the kalamata olives and quadruple the sundried tomatoes, and you’re good to go! Cook as directed and add the breadcrumbs and cheese before you set the oven to broil.

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Not to toot my own horn, but the breadcrumbs and cheese proved an inspired choice; can you say hot carb-on-carb action? I came back for seconds and still couldn’t help but sneak nibbles as I packed up the leftovers. Even so, this recipe would’ve been a winner without ’em. Casseroles are awesome; doubly so when PASTA.

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But. Tami Noyes’s Spaghetti Pie with Arrabbiata Sauce? Still my favorite.

Spaghetti Pie with Arrabbiata Sauce from Tami Noyes’s American Vegan Kitchen

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

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Oh my dog you guys, this was too good for words. Seriously amazing! It’d better be, seeing as it took me nearly two hours to prepare. Granted, I had to stop in the middle to feed the dogs, BUT STILL.

What with its multiple layers and dizzying array of ingredients, I was more than a little grumpy by the time I popped it in the oven. But now that I’ve got the steps down, I think the whole process will go much faster the next time around. Spaghetti pie, I WILL eat you again!

Plus you can assemble it ahead of time and bake it up right quick come dinnertime. If I’d realized this earlier, I might have made spaghetti pie for Christmas dinner! Oh well. Next year, maybe? (Besides, the stuffed manicotti was awesome, so no complaints here.)

Personally, I wouldn’t call this a pie so much as a casserole (it’s not even round!) but I guess spaghetti pie is a real thing? A diner staple? idk, I’ve never seen one before, but then again my knowledge of cheesy dishes is mostly lacking. Whatever, it’s freaking delicious, and that’s all I need to know.

The bottom layer is spaghetti – or angel hair, in my case – followed by a blended tofu mixture that bakes into a cheesy, ricotta-like topping, and topped off with tomato sauce peppered with tasty little chunks of tvp that taste a helluvalot like ground beef. Whether you count this as a positive or negative is totally up to you, but I’m a fan. Sprinkle liberally with mozzarella Daiya and – voilĂ ! – dinner is served!

As an added bonus, this recipe makes a ridiculous amount of leftovers, so you’ll be feasting on spaghetti pie all week. Yay!