I don’t want to whine at you, but I’ve been having a somewhat stressful week at work. Don’t be alarmed, on the stress scale, my job is usually pretty low, so it’s no big deal, but I got home late tonight and was a little cranky and not feeling that great. So I put SPAM Week on a hiatus and decided I was craving good ole non-experimental, quick and easy pasta. I put a pot on to boil and set about gathering ingredients for my go-to last-minute pasta dish, when I was suddenly confronted with the startling and upsetting news that I have no tomatoes.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I use a lot of canned tomatoes. Mark recently informed me that all of my meals are very “red”. I probably don’t have a big following of people with nightshade allergies. I buy tins of tomatoes nearly every time I’m at the grocery store, and to come home and stare in my cupboard and see NO tomatoes…well, I was flabbergasted. Pasta with no tomatoes? HOW IS IT POSSIBLE?
I soon decided that some sort of garlicky sauce was in order. Only to be confronted with equally astonishing fact that I was down to a mere three cloves of garlic. WHAT IS MY WORLD COMING TO?!
Follows is the story of how I overcame these obstacles. I didn’t take any preparatory photos because all I wanted to do was make dinner as quick as possible and cuddle up with The Toonse (aka Brachtune) and a book, plus I’ve already told you how I usually throw together pasta. But after deeming my experiment a success, I decided to post the recipe after all, if for no other reason for myself to refer back to if ever I am ever unfortunate enough to find myself in this devastating situation again.
You may find it disingenuous that the recipe below includes tomato paste when I’ve just complained about having no tomatoes. I didn’t say I had no tomato-y products, though, I just said I had no tomatoes. What kind of household do you think I’m running here?! Not having tomato paste?! Impossible! (Oh yeah, I also had sun-dried tomatoes.)
Renae Desperately Needs to Go to the Grocery Store Pasta
8 oz dried pasta of any sort (I used multi-colored spirals)
1-2 Tbsp roasted garlic olive oil (or herbed olive oil, or regular old plain extra virgin olive oil)
all the garlic you can muster up (I had just 3 pathetic cloves)
1/4 cup capers
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1 can artichoke hearts
1 can chickpeas
3 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp Dragonfly’s Bulk, Dry Uncheese Mix
1 cup vegan “chicken” broth
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes
freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Cook the pasta as directed on the package and drain. In a wok or large pan, heat the oil. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and capers and fry for 1 minute. Add the artichoke hearts and chickpeas and fry for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir to distribute evenly, then add the Uncheese mix and stir. Pour in the broth and stir until evenly mixed in, stirring as it thickens. Season with oregano, chili flakes, and pepper. When the sauce thickens, mix in the pasta.
Maybe not the most exciting meal on the planet, but surprisingly good despite all the obstacles. A word on that Uncheese Mix by Dragonfly: you’ll want to make a batch of this and keep it around for just such emergencies as this. Also sprinkle it on popcorn, on pizza, on pasta: anything that start with a “p”, really. And based on how yummy those artichokes tasted in my pasta tonight, I’m thinking UNCHEESY ARTICHOKE DIP in my immediate future. Stay tuned.