The words "meat" are in quotation marks, which I apologize in advance for. It instantly imparts a certain sketchy and questionable quality to the name. What exactly is this "meat" I speak of in quotations? I promise, it's not sketchy at all, it's actually just the soy chorizo of last week's burritos, which we already know is, in my eyes, the star of all meat substitutes.
I had a few Roma tomatoes hanging out in my produce bowl, as well as the wrapped up half casing of leftover soy chorizo, both of which I needed to use last night since I'm gone for next few days (my sister is getting married!) and they would have otherwise gone bad. I hate wasting food and instead prefer to dream up new uses for leftover odds and ends.
I wanted to use the soy chorizo in a pasta sauce, since its crumbly consistency makes it the perfect candidate for a sauce that would taste and feel as if it had been cooked with ground meat. However, the soy chorizo is already wonderfully flavored and spicy, and I did not want my pasta to taste as if it had been topped with chili. The whole thing would need to be pulled away from its Mexican flair and over into the direction of Italian food. I did this by using generous amounts of garlic, lots of Italian seasoning, and topping each bowl of pasta with a blend of Italian herbed cheese.
All in all, this dinner took as much time to prepare as it did for the pasta to cook and boil. Everything was on the table in 15 minutes, which meant that M and I were able to play a full set of tennis after work and still sit down to a warm, hearty, and thoughtful meal. Now that's how I like my weekday nights!
Pasta with Spicy Meatless Meat Sauce: (serves 2)
1 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 a casing of Soy Chorizo
1 8oz. can of tomato sauce
1 T. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 cup of shredded Italian cheeses, divided
1 3/4 cups gemelli pasta, cooking water reserved
salt and pepper to taste
Generously salt the pasta water and put it to boil.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the garlic and chopped tomatoes and cook together until fragrant and just sauteed, about 4 minutes. Add the soy chorizo and stir together, then add the can of tomato sauce. Simmer while the pasta cooks.
When the pasta is al-dente, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain. Return the pasta to its pot to keep warm, and add a scoop of sauce to it to keep the noodles from sticking. Meanwhile, add the desired amount of reserved cooking water to your pasta sauce to slightly thin it out. Add the Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the gemelli into two bowls, ladle out the sauce on top, then top with half of the shredded cheese for each.