One day I had nothing exciting in my pantry and the market was already closed for the evening. I pretty much just had a few random things in my fridge, so I threw them all together and out came this very delicious pasta. It was so freaking easy, too. Seriously, even your friend who swears s/he can't make ramen can do this. And even better - you can impress your friends and neighbors with your mad cooking skills.
I had my director of media capturing (as Roman likes to call himself these days) take these pictures. Because really, aren't food blogs better with pictures? No? What?! You there - you're outta here, buddy! Of course we all like pictures... sheesh.
Super Easy Impress Your Friends/Date/Family Pasta
Half a block of tofu
2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 or 2 cups of diced tomatoes (canned or fresh is fine. How much you add is dependant upon how far you're trying to stretch this and how tomatoey you want it. When I use canned, I like the Eden Organic Diced Tomatoes with Basil and I add the juice along with the tomatoes.)
1 teaspoon dried Oregano or 1 Tablespoon fresh
2 Tablespoons capers
1/2 Cup chopped Kalamata Olives
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
angel hair pasta
1 Tablespoon or so nutritional yeast per serving
This recipe can be made on the fly, which makes it tofu's friend. And tofu likes to have friends. I always forget to drain my tofu, so I love not having to think about that for this. Instead of draining it, you're going to break it up into pieces and squeeze the crap out of it. What should it look like when you're done? Ah, you're in luck - I have visual aids.
It should look like this when you're done squeezing it. This is actually really great for getting aggressions out. Pretend like this is that asshole that always likes to taunt you with his meat when you go out to eat. Take that, you insensitive bastard! Oh, how he'd hate being compared to tofu. You can get another layer of satisfaction out of that. See! Cheaper than therapy!
Now add the olive oil to a frying pan on medium heat. After it's just starting to warm up, add the tofu and stir, stir, stir to distribute the oil. Keep stirring over medium heat until the tofu starts to turn a nice golden color. Uh oh - action shot!
Now add the garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add the oregano, stir for another minute or so and then add the tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts and capers. Guess what it's time for now? More stirring! Stir that sucker up until everything is incorporated. You might want to put a lid on your pan if you're getting tomato splatters, but keep stirring every so often. You'll want to let this cook for about 10 minutes. Lower the heat if things in the pan are boiling violently. It should look sorta like this at this point:
I used two cans of tomatoes for this one, so it's pretty juicy. That actually seems to make the best leftovers, though because it helps to rehydrate the pasta if you're also reheating that. I like to take this to work for lunch the next day. As long as you keep the pasta and sauce in separate containers until you're ready to heat it up, it reheats marvelously.
You're almost ready to eat. It's all so very exciting. I use a big metal spoon thingie (not the kind you eat with, the kind you use to spoon things out of pots and onto your plate, silly) to divvy this out. Usually two full spoons per bowl works out nicely for me. But hey - this is your pasta, add as much or as little sauce as your little heart desires. Sprinkle the nutritional yeast on top and ka-bang! You've got a quick and easy dinner that's endlessly yummy. Well, except that I guess it does have an end when you've eaten it all... but I'm sure you'll want to make more so that makes it not endless anymore until you eat that...
Sometimes when I'm feeling like kicking it up a bit, I'll add some chopped up sundried tomatoes or maybe some sauteed seitan or tempeh or some other types of olives in addition to the kalamata.
Speaking of kalamata olives - these are usually sold with the pits still in them so you have to slice them in half, take the pit out and then chop them up. However - there are a few brands that sell them already pitted (like Mezzetta). Lucky for me, the area of town I live in used to be Little Italy so there are a ton of little Italian markets around. If you're not lucky enough to be able to find pitted kalamatas and you're intimidated by pitting them (it's really not that hard, though) you can substitute regular black olives. But keep in mind that this will change the flavor a little bit.