Last week Man-thing started his new job at a new university, so it’s been rather strange coming home in the afternoons to an empty house for a few hours, when we’ve been driving together for a year or more. All this means I end up comfort eating out of boredom, or trying to keep myself busy by making comfort food for him. I figure starting a new job is always terrifying, which is why a survival kit of his favourite chocolate and chips was also waiting alongside this dish on Tuesday. I’m not always in favour of his slavish obsession with junk food, but I can understand it, and in such instances a little leniency from the benevolent dictatorship of our eating habits is called for.
It’s super chilly out these days, and so I figured it was time to try my hand at this elusive pasta bake concept I’ve seen splashed all over the internet. With the success of the cauliflower cheese sauce the other day on the tofu sprout tacos (since Man-thing usually hates cauliflower), I figured I could try a new way of using one of my favourite veggies so that Man-thing wouldn’t pull his face. He is enamoured with corn, so with just minimal planning I whipped this up for him (plus a little taste for the chef!).
I must admit I do hanker after “creamy” pastas now and again, and I suspect I’ll be trying some more pasta dishes out in the near future, but I really do loathe actual cream (even vegan cream!), and so this pasta bake was a way to compromise on that without compromising on creaminess. Does that even make sense? Anyway, yum!
Ingredients: serves 1-2/ suitable for one hungry Man-thing
- 1/2 cauliflower, steamed
- 1/2 cup frozen corn nibs, steamed
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/8-1/4 cup water/broth
- 1 TBSP tamari sauce/soy sauce if not rocking GF
- 1 tsp onion flakes
- Smoked paprika, white pepper, ginger, tumeric
- 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
- 3/4 cup dry rye pasta/macaroni
- 1 cup peas + green bean mix, steamed
- Optional: 1/2 cup sprouted mung beans for the top
- Optional: 1/3 cup soaked and smoothly blended cashews for the sauce – just omit the water/broth if necessary
- In a small pot bring the pasta to the boil until just al dente (approx 5-6 minutes). Set aside.
- Preheat to 180C.
- In your blender, blend all other ingredients (except the greens) until smooth, scraping down the sides now and again. Start with 1/8 cup water and go up to 1/4, depending on how smooth your blender is able to make the sauce with less liquid.
- Spray 3 ramekins or 1 8×8 baking dish. I used this mini casserole wonder and a ramekin I found lying around.
- For portion control scoop out your portion of cooked pasta and then mix that with the sauce and greens. If you’re not fussed then mix it all together in a bowl (or straight in the baking dish, if you’re as lazy as I am!).
- Sprinkle on the sprouts if using, then splash on some smoked paprika to taste.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden (I like my pasta a bit crispy on the edges).
Nooommm. So, I planned on giving Man-thing everything, but I ended up scarfing half a ramekin before I remembered it wasn’t for me! The corn gives it that nom edge whilst the cauliflower adds the creaminess factor. Adding the optional cashews will take this over the edge, but alas I didn’t think that far ahead, being half in a fog of illness at the time. If you have any delicious additions on hand throw them in – some olives, peppadews – anything goes!
Food like this is great for when you’re in pyjamas and just want to eat something that is warm and filling. I’m usually in pyjamas by the early evening anyway, but I figure it’s a uniform of sorts – I have to be extra cuddly for all the kittens we’re fostering. At the moment we have four black kittens who are stunning but just need some personal attention to get to grips with humans and their potential as sources of food and snuggles. ❤ I don’t have much patience for humans but luckily cats have their own personal charm which bashes down any barriers I might have. It’s a real blessing to be surrounded by meows, and Man-thing is awesome for being so patient and involved – luckily he’s also a crazy cat lady in disguise 🙂
Point being, sometimes one needs to spoil yourself and others, and this is just the dish to do it!