Penne Rosé

The unabbreviated title of this dish might be “Vegan, Gluten & Soy Free Penne Rosé with Mushrooms, Cauliflower & Chard”. For me, it is the pinnacle of comfort food. I am eating it as I write and it is deeeeelicious.

About two years ago, I deduced that I am allergic to most soy products. Prior to that I had a host of skin and other problems that disappeared when I stopped eating it. Although I occasionally eat dairy, usually in cheese form, Ryan does not and I like to find alternatives that provide us with the creamy goodness that we crave.

Penne refers to the type of pasta used. Rosé is the name for a sauce that is both creamy and tomato based, usually cooked with vodka (this dish is also known as Penne a la Vodka). It can be thrown together fairly quickly, using fresh or canned tomatoes and a handful of other ingredients. Soaked and blended nuts (cashew or pine) provide the creamy aspect. I have made this with both, and although cashews are slightly more available and affordable and work perfectly, the pine nuts add a flavor dimension that is worth the extra effort, especially if you’ve got them lying around anyhow, like I did.

You really should try this. Would it help if I told you that I had four bowls of it tonight?

Penne Rosé
(Vegan, Gluten & Soy Free Penne Rosé with Mushrooms, Cauliflower & Chard)

1 cup pine nuts or cashews, soaked
1 cup water
2 cans diced tomatoes or 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine (or vodka, I used wine)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 TBS dried basil
2 tsp salt
1 TBS garlic powder
1 jabanero pepper (optional)

1 onion, diced
1 can or 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 cups chard, chopped
1 cup cauliflower, chopped

1 package brown rice penne pasta 

Cook the pasta to al dente. Meanwhile, puree the nuts through the garlic powder (and pepper if using) until very smooth. For me, this was about 30 seconds in my Vitamix blender. You’ll want to use a blender, not a food processor.

In a sauce pan, saute the onions in a small amount of oil. Add the garlic and sliced mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are browned. Add the blended nut/tomato mixture along with the tomato, chard and cauliflower. Allow the sauce to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until it thickens and changes in color from pinkish to orangish, and the wine (or vodka) has cooked out. Toss the pasta with enough sauce (you might have leftover sauce) to suit your tastes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley or basil and enjoy.

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