Vegan Porcini Cream Pasta With Ennui
Today I don't feel like doing anything (whistle here).
And yet, I'm hungry. I could call Door Dash. But then I would have to decide what to eat and even that feels like too much work. I have ennui.
This started when I got back from Hawaii a couple weeks ago (check my FB or Instagram posts to see all the amazing vegan food I found on Oahu!). Clearly I needed a longer vacation because since I've been back, I just can't bring myself to do more than my day job. I don't want to shop. I don't want to wash and chop veggies. I don't want to turn on my oven because it's August. AUGUST! The sweatiest month of all - except September (grrr!).
When I get like this, I am grateful for certain pantry items. For example, pasta, the blank canvas of food. I can project whatever craving I might have onto that adaptable staple. I especially like hearty shapes like this bucatini (which they have at Target).
A jar of vegan sauce like this Traditional Marinara from Trader Joe's is also handy.
I have always been a cream sauce girl though. Alfredo, vodka sauce, a creamy garlic or mushroom sauce. Yum. Fortunately, no matter how lazy I feel, I always make my weekly batch of homemade soy yogurt, which is the perfect base for vegan cream sauces.
So today, using another pantry favorite, porcini mushroom powder (which I cannot recommend enough, even if you don't like the texture of mushrooms) I was able to make a rich, creamy, umami loaded pasta sauce, all in one, non-stick, easy to clean pan.
Here is the full recipe for one person (because when you have ennui, who can think about anyone else?)
- A handful of your favorite pasta - or the one that's closest to your hand.
- Water to barely cover pasta - because I'm going to show you the cold water method for cooking, which is faster and easier.
- Maybe some salt, like a pinch, because there's a lot of salt in the sauce.
- A couple tablespoons of homemade soy yogurt, or store bought, whatever.
- A tablespoon of porcini powder. Why do I keep typing out tablespoon? Ugh. I'm so not editing this.
- A dash or two of Colgin's Liquid Smoke (because it's the good brand).
- A teaspoon of Orrington Farms vegan chick'n broth base
- A dash or two of Liquid Aminos.
- Optional: If you happen to have some veggies already cut up, maybe in the freezer, you can throw them in. Or not. Heck, sprinkle in some tofu for protein if you want. Whatever is EASY.
- Drag your tush off the couch if you can. Put the pasta in a non-stick saucepan or a little wok if you have one. Definitely non-stick though. Who wants to wash dishes?
- Cover the pasta, just barely, with cold water. I know, your grandmother is rolling in her grave. Trust me. This works.
- Add a little sprinkle of salt - or skip this step. The sauce is salty. You won't notice if you leave it out.
- Turn the heat up full, and then once you have a good simmer, turn it down to medium low and let it simmer away 6-7 minutes depending on the thickness of your pasta, like this:
5. While the pasta cooks, drink some lemonade. Stare out the window. Pet the cat/dog. Sigh audibly.
6. When there's just a little water left, like this
and the pasta is tender, you can add in the other ingredients. It doesn't matter what order. It doesn't matter if you stir vigorously or gently. You can't do this wrong. And that's what makes it so right. Just mix it all in there. Taste as you go and adjust. Maybe you want a little more porcini or liquid smoke. Great. You do you.
7. Eat while you think wistfully about the past.
8. Nap. This step is essential. Don't leave it out. You may have heard the Italian phrase, Il dolce far niente. This means the sweetness of doing nothing. The full quote, though includes a second part - and afterwards, resting. When you have ennui, rest is what it's all about.
Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Soon it will be Autumn, and we will have the energy to make delicious things like gnocchi with pumpkin and sage.