By Fredrica Syren
You don’t have to be vegetarian to eat vegetarian food. By having a meatless Monday each week, you save money, your health and the planet. Reducing consumption of meats is one of the simplest ways to go green because not only does it cut your risk of many preventable diseases, but it also reduces carbon dioxide emissions, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and disruption of natural ecosystems. Sound like a good reasons, right? Meat is also very expensive compared to — let’s say — vegetables, beans, fruits and grains; so your wallet will thank you, too.
This week’s meatless recipe is for my # 1 comfort food, pasta!!! We eat brown rice pasta in our family since we have someone with gluten intolerance, but quinoa pasta or whole wheat pasta are other options I really like, too. And if you make a creamy pasta sauce to serve with that, well, I’m in heaven. The secret to good sauce is to let it simmer for a bit to develop flavors.
Vodka Sauce for Pasta:
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
½ cup vodka
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 cup cream (I used mimic cream)
1 tsp. vegetarian sriracha sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp. dried parsley
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt to taste
In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and butter. Add chopped onion and garlic. Stir and cook for two minutes. Pour in the vodka. Stir and cook for three minutes. Add tomato puree and stir.
Reduce heat to low, and stir in cream and sriracha sauce. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, being careful not to boil. Stir in salt and pepper. Heat oil in a frying pan and cook mushrooms until browned. Sprinkle with salt. Toss sauce and mushrooms with cooked pasta. Sprinkle with cheese and dried parsley before serving.