Tofu’s unnatural geometry is much less off-putting when coated in chili powder from Santa Fe. Still, when my imagination returns me to the child version of myself, when I look at this dish, I see a foam pit into which I might jump. Thankfully, this foam pit is delicious. The pistachios, essential. Jump in to vegetarianism for a night.
Pasta with Spicy Tofu and Pistachios
Adapted from Food and Wine
1 pound firm tofu—drained, patted dry and cut into 3/4-inch dice
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground Calabrian chiles or cayenne
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup dry white wine
One 28-ounce can tomato puree
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
1/4 cup canola oil
1 pound strozzapreti pasta
Chopped pistachios, grated pecorino and dried oregano, for serving
In a medium bowl, toss the tofu with half of the garlic, the chiles, thyme and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cover and refrigerate the tofu for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, the remaining garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and basil and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat until thickened slightly, 20 to 25 minutes; keep the sauce warm.
In a large skillet, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the tofu and cook over moderate heat until browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned all over, about 3 minutes longer; keep warm.
In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the strozzapreti until al dente. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until coated, about 2 minutes. Fold in the tofu and season with salt. Transfer to a platter and garnish with chopped pistachios, grated pecorino and dried oregano. Serve right away.
Happy Anniversary, cute parents of mine. Happy 40th! Be on the lookout for some much overdue chocolate posts to come. I have a free weekend coming in 7 days 🙂