Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tempeh Piccata with Bell Peppers over Angel Hair Pasta




One of my favorite dishes when I wasn't vegan was a chicken piccata by Giada De Laurentiis. One of the things that i have been doing is going through my old cookbooks and finding my favorite recipes and making them vegan-style. So, for this one I decided to make a Tempeh Piccata with Bell Peppers over angel hair pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons earth balance "butter" or non-hydrogenated margerine
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 package whole wheat angel hair pasta
  • 1 package tempeh (I used garden veggie, but any kind will do)

Directions

A. First, remove the tempeh from the package and cut in whatever shape you desire. I cut the tempeh in triangles.

B. In a small saucepan over medium high heat (or in the microwave), melt 4 tablespoons of "butter" with 5 tablespoons of olive oil, add salt, pepper, vegetable stock, lemon juice, and capers. Use this as a marinade for the tempeh, and chill in the refrigerator for at least a half hour.

C. Cut all of the bell peppers in a cube shape. I'm sure thin slices would also be nice.

D. Chop parsley and set to the side.

E. Boil water with a splash of olive oil, and add angel hair pasta. Turn heat to medium, and stir frequently to make sure that it doesn't stick together, and don't overcook. When the noodles are done (8 to 10 minutes), drain the pasta and never run water over it. When pasta is finished it comes out a little starchy and it is a common misconception to rinse with water. The reason that you do not rinse is because when the sauce is added to the noodles the starch helps the sauce stick to the pasta. If it still bothers you that the noodles are starchy after you drain them, then just toss with a small amount of olive oil.

F. When you are ready, add the tempeh and all of the marinade to a large skillet. Cook about 5 minutes on each side, and then add the bell peppers. Cook just until the peppers are cooked through, but still crisp. That should just be about 3 more minutes.

G. Remove the bell pepper and tempeh from the skillet with a slotted spatula and place in large bowl.

H. Continue to stir the sauce, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Add remaining 2 tablespoons "butter" to sauce and whisk vigorously.

I. Add noodles to the large bowl with the tempeh and bell peppers, add parsley, pour sauce over the top, and toss everything together.

J. You're ready to eat!

Delights and Afterthoughts:

This dish is wonderful because it is really easy to make. If you don't have time to marinade the tempeh, then that should be fine if you want to just throw the tempeh and bell peppers in the skillet with the sauce. I just find that you get a deeper flavor when you marinade it a bit. Also, keep in mind that tempeh can be a little bitter and an acquired taste, so if this is your first attempt with tempeh, you may want to start out with a neutral flavor such as original, five grain, or flax. This was my first time using garden veggie tempeh and the flavor was a little overpowering if you are not used to tempeh.

I love this sauce and I think it would really be good with anything. I just used what I had in my pantry and refrigerator. I think that this would also be good with tofu or just veggies such as broccoli, zuchini, mushrooms, and carrots. I have always found that angel hair pasta works best with this sauce, but it would also go well with something like couscous or penne pasta.

There are also many things you can do to incorporate to it to make it your own. For example, adding garlic would be excellent, or adding chilli powder, a jalapeno, or tobasco for a little bit of spice.

I hope you have fun with this and enjoy it!

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