(I know it's not Wednesday. But I was hanging out with wild animals yesterday, and that was before I even got on the M25.)
Comfort in a bowl.
This was one of the first vegetarian recipes I ever made, back when my daughters were picky toddlers, and I couldn't afford a cookbook. I cut the recipe out of some long forgotten magazine, and though that scrap of paper was lost, this is one recipe that's easily committed to memory. Over the years it became a family favorite. Even after I veganized it, Rigatoni and Broccoli is still Daughter Number Two's most requested meal.
It fits the definition of comfort food perfectly—creamy, hot, and pasta-containing.
So, with DNT's departure for college only 3 days away, I made her favorite tonight, Rigatoni with Broccoli. And for even more comfort in a bowl, I made FatFree Vegan's Southern Banana Pudding, served with some Soyatoo whipped cream.
Now we have that stuffed, comfortable feeling.
Rigatoni with Broccoli
about 3/4 lb rigatoni, or other tube shaped pasta (penne)
1 small head of broccoli, separated into stalks
2 cups grated soy mozzarella cheeze
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups soy milk
dash of cayenne pepper, optional
Boil water for the pasta, and cook according to package directions. Drain, and set aside.
Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
Make a white sauce: Melt the margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour. Slowly add a bit of soy milk, stirring with a wire whisk until the liquid is incorporated in the roux. Add more soy milk, a 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Continue to stir over medium-medium high heat, until sauce thickens. (About 5-8 minutes; increase heat if it's still not thick after this time.) If desired, stir in a dash of red pepper.
Place about 1/2 cup of white sauce in a casserole dish. Add half the pasta, and then the broccoli. Sprinkle half the cheeze on top of the broccoli, and another cup of the white sauce. Add the remaining pasta. Pour the remaining white sauce on top, and sprinkle with the remaining cheeze.
Bake in a 350F/180C oven for 20-25 minutes, or until cheeze melts. Serve warm.
Note: This makes enough for 4 servings. If needed, you can easily make a larger casserole, using an entire box of pasta, and adjust the remaining ingredients accordingly, i.e. 3 tablespoons margarine/flour and 3 cups milk. The term "roux" refers to the flour/oil mixture, which should be relatively uniform before adding the liquid.