Sunday, December 27, 2009

Linguini al cardinale

This was based on two other recipes, Lolo's Cappellini in fresh tomato cream sauce from Vegan Yum Yum, and the Penne al cardinale from Anna Thomas's The Vegetarian Epicure Book 2. I'm sure the original recipes are both delicious as is, but what I wanted was a light tomato cream sauce (rather than a bechamel) with brandy in it (thanks, Anna!). If you can believe it, I bought brandy for this recipe. Was it worth it? Oh, yes. And thanks to Lolo's blender technique, the whole thing came together in the time it took to boil the pasta.

I usually prefer my tomato sauces quite plain, but of course, if you don't, feel free to add basil, marjoram, or whatever other herbs you like. This sauce would probably also work with tofu ricotta (or almond ricotta) in the place of the Better Than Cream Cheese if you can't get or don't buy the latter, though speaking from a very reluctant vegan-cheese-purchasing point of view, this product lives up to its name and is worth a try.

Linguini al cardinale
serves 2

2 cups canned diced tomatoes, with juice
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1 tbsp Earth Balance
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp brandy

Place all the sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until relatively smooth. Pour the sauce into a shallow saucepan and heat over medium heat to simmering. You want it hot with the flavours well incorporated, but this sauce should not have to reduce. Also (and I'm not sure why this is) this appears to be one of those sauces that, like a cashew sauce, will "crumble" a bit as it cools, so my advice would be literally to start making it after you've put the pasta water on to boil.

Mix the hot sauce with the hot, drained pasta, dust with pepper, and serve.

I had it with sautéed kale and crimini mushrooms:


  1. The pasta sounds delicious, and the kale and mushrooms sound like a perfect pairing.

    VYY has another creamy pasta recipe with fresh tomatoes and cashews, which I really like too.

  2. Hi, Rose:

    Yup, I've made that VYY tomato-cashew sauce and it is fantastic, but yesterday my heart was saying no to cashews, or rather, yes to experimentation with the Better Than Cream Cheese. But weirdly (since BTCC isn't made of nuts), my sauce had *exactly the same texture* as a cashew sauce. That's not bad, but I was surprised.

  3. That's interesting about the texture...which flavor is better? Also, am intrigued with the idea of Bourbon...sounds tasty.

  4. As I recall, the flavour is about the same, so whatever you happened to have handy would be just fine. And yeah, Bourbon, brandy, sherry, er, you name it, what can it hurt?

  5. THis looks great. I don't really care much for BTCC but maybe I could sub some ground cashews.