My go-to week night dinner right this way…
If like me you are a massive fan of pasta but sometimes get a little bored with your same old preparations, you will probably want to keep reading. I mean I could eat it plain with marinara sauce every day, no judgement here. However, this particular recipe is my all time favorite for when I want to spice things up a bit and I have made it for years and years. The red wine just seems to add a little extra richness and depth to an already mouthwateringly delicious combination. It also stains the pasta a pretty pink color, which of course makes me happy. The best part is that the recipe below could not be more simple to throw together as well as infinitely adaptable to your personal tastes/preferences.
First, a little backstory on how this creation came to be – unfortunately I cannot take full credit. It was actually thanks to the show The Chew, which I used to watch religiously back in college. Something about listening to Carla Hall, Mario Batali, and Clinton Kelly banter casually like old pals while preparing insanely good looking cuisine is my ultimate form of relaxation. One of my preferred methods of paper writing procrastination was simply to sit back and replay old episodes online. Fun fact – my mom and I actually went on the show as audience members a few years ago and had the best girls’ day. Although for most of the filming I was simply plotting ways to meet Clinton face to face without getting thrown out 🙂 Anyway, after all that rambling, I found the inspiration for this pasta through a recipe that Mario Batali created on The Chew years ago. By simply swapping out the meatballs for a vegan version, I was good to go! Also, to healthify a bit more, I tend to sub in gluten free pasta – Banza is my favorite, made entirely of chickpeas. Sometimes I also throw in some zoodles or spinach just to get in some extra greens and mix up the textures a bit.
I hope you enjoy this rendition and that maybe it even saves you from ordering take out one night! I promise it is quick and feel free to play around with the guidelines until you get the exact combo you prefer – really you can’t go wrong.
- 6 - 8 vegetable "meatballs" store-bought or you can make your own*
- 1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium head cauliflower - cut into florets
- 2 liters red wine
- 14 oz jar tomato sauce
- 6 oz favorite gluten free pasta
- Toppings/optional mix-ins:
- zoodles, truffle salt to taste, couple handfuls spinach, vegan parmesan cheese**
- Cook the "meatballs" according to package instructions or recipe.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan.
- Add the cauliflower florets to pan and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the red wine to the cauliflower. Bring to a boil, and then add the tomato sauce and "meatballs." Bring to a boil again. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. (This is where you can add in zoodles and/or spinach if using). Remove from the heat.
- Pour the rest of the red wine into a large pasta pot. Add a generous amount of salt and water, and bring to a boil.
- Drop the pasta into the boiling wine/water, and cook for 1 minute less than the package instructions indicate.
- Just before the pasta is done, carefully ladle ½ cup of the cooking wine/water into the cauliflower mixture.
- Drain the pasta in a colander and add it to the cauliflower mixture. Toss until pasta is nicely coated. Pour in a serving bowl and serve immediately, with vegan parmesan cheese and truffle salt on the side.
*This is our favorite homemade “meatball” recipe.
** Here is a great recipe for easy vegan parmesan cheese. We typically make a big batch of this at the beginning of the week and then I put it on pretty much everything. Addicted!