Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tofu Picatta

Once again inspired by a meal from the majestic town of Crested Butte, CO I decided to make my favorite Chicken Picatta recipe using tofu. Good news for you meat-eaters out there this meal can be easily adjusted by replacing the tofu with chicken and cooking it a few minutes longer on each side. Piquant capers top this zesty white wine lemon sauce that is a perfect compliment to the pasta and lightly "fried" tofu pieces.

It may seem like a lot of steps but it is one of the easiest picatta recipes I have ever made, and the results are well worth it. It is a big help to have everything measured out, chopped, and ready to go before you start.

2/3 block extra firm tofu (230 grams)
3.5 ounces whole wheat pasta (papparadelle, penne, linguine, any kind will do)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp each garlic salt and dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 1/3 cups vegetable stock
juice and zest from 1/2 medium lemon
10 medium white mushrooms- dirt removed with a damp paper towel
1/4 dry white wine
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
2 leaves fresh basil- roughly chopped
2 tbsp capers

Preheat oven to warm setting  (170 degrees) and place a baking tray with tinfoil on it in the oven (this is for your cooked tofu so it doesn't get soggy while you make your sauce)

Slice tofu block so you have 3 rectangle pieces (use a serrated knife and saw gently to make this easier)
Tip: Use the extra piece of tofu to top a salad or in a soup recipe

Place 2 tofu pieces on a paper towel, place another paper towel on top, put a cutting board on top of that and place a heavy pan, or bag of flour on top of the cutting board so the extra water from your tofu will be squeezed out

Thinly slice mushrooms after wiping dirt off with a damp paper towel

Start a big pot of water for the pasta

Zest lemon and reserve for now

Measure out 1/4 flour and from that take 2 tsp and combine it with 1 cup stock, whisk until smooth
Squeeze juice from 1/2 lemon into that and set aside

Put the remaining flour on a big plate and mix in 1/2 tsp garlic salt, 1/2 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp dried thyme, and the zest from your lemon

Remove tofu from underneath the paper towels and lightly press each piece into your seasoned flour

Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil

Place tofu in pan and cook on each side for 5-7 minutes until golden brown

Once your tofu is "fried" place it on your preheated baking sheet in oven to keep warm

Add mushrooms, garlic, and 1/3 cup vegetable broth in same pan you cooked the tofu and cook until mushrooms begin to soften
Make sure to get all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan as those will add a lot of flavor to your sauce

Add wine and cook until it reduces (about 5 minutes)

To your reduced wine and mushrooms add the reserved broth, flour, and lemon mixture
Stir and let this cook until it has started to thicken

This is a good time to start cooking your pasta as the sauce takes 5-7 minutes to thicken

Once pasta is done cooking and your sauce is thick remove tofu from oven and cut it diagonally (gives your four triangular pieces of tofu)

Drain your pasta and divide between two plates top each pile of pasta with 2 triangular tofu pieces, 1/2 sauce and mushrooms, chopped fresh basil, and capers

Baked Zucchini is a perfect accompaniment to this italian dish

Servings 2
Calories per serving (2 pieces tofu, 1/2 pasta, 1/2 sauce and mushrooms and 1 tbsp capers) 475 calories

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