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I’m Andrea. I like to cook and bake and take photographs and write about life. Welcome to Bella Eats, where I share these passions of mine with you. I’m glad you’re here.

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Friday
Jan232009

broccoli rabe, squash + tofu pasta

I finally got to cook dinner last night!  Its been such a busy week and it just hasn't worked out for me to make anything substantial in the kitchen.  Sadly, my lack of cooking this week meant the sacrifice of two bunches of swiss chard...I had to toss their poor, limp, lifeless bodies into the trash last night. That will teach me...I hate to waste!

Luckily when I opened the produce drawer I discovered that the broccoli rabe we picked up last weekend at Whole Foods had survived my brief hiatus.  I've had broccoli rabe several times in restaurants, but I've never actually made it myself.  After doing a little research, I discovered that even though it is part of the broccoli family, and has a few similarities in appearance to broccoli, you actually treat it like leafy greens when cooking it.  

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I was originally thinking that I would just cook up the broccoli rabe on its own and have it on the side of some glazed pan-fried tofu and a grain of some sort.  That sounded a little boring until I remembered this article I had seen in the NY Times last week.  I used it as a starting point for my pasta dish, but made plenty of changes and additions to be able to call it my own.

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The recipe has several steps, but its really not as complicated as it may look on paper.  The squash goes in the oven first, and while it roasts you pan-glaze the tofu.  Once the tofu is ready, the broccoli rabe is parboiled, and the squash is removed from the oven.  The onion and squash are added back to the pan that the tofu was just glazed in, with a little bit more olive oil.  Its joined by the drained broccoli rabe and garlic, and then by the already glazed tofu.  Meanwhile, your pasta is boiling and once drained, it gets tossed in the pan as well.  Easy peasy.  :)  I do think it took about 45 minutes of prep time.

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Broccoli Rabe, Squash + Tofu Pasta [makes 4 servings]

Ingredients:

  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1lb), peeled, seeded and cubed

  • pan-glazed tofu, recipe follows

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided

  • 1 large bunch broccoli rabe (about 1lb)

  • 1 small onion

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 3/4 lb brown rice pasta, preferably fusilli

  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

  • salt + pepper


Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400*.  Place cubed butternut squash in small baking dish.  Toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt + pepper to taste.  Roast for 20-30 minutes, until squash is just starting to get tender.

  2. Meanwhile, pan-glaze the tofu (recipe below).

  3. While tofu is cooking, rinse broccoli rabe (BR) very well.  Cut off tough ends of stems, about the last 2”, and discard.  Chop remaining BR into 1/2” pieces.

  4. Check on your roasting squash, and remove from oven if starting to get tender.

  5. Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Add the BR and boil for about 4 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to scoop BR out of hot water and into a bowl of very cold water.  Reserve boiling water for the pasta.

  6. While the BR is resting in the cold water, reheat saute’ pan used for tofu and add 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Add the onion and squash, saute’ for 5 minutes until tender.  Add garlic.  

  7. Drain and squeeze water from BR.  Add to saute’ pan along with the glazed tofu.  Toss all together for about 1 minute.  Remove from heat but keep warm.

  8. Bring water back to a boil to prepare pasta.  Boil pasta until al dente, about 9 minutes.  Drain and toss with sauteed ingredients.

  9. Serve immediately, with parmesan sprinkled on top.


for the tofu:

  • 12oz extra firm tofu, cut into roughly 1” x 1.5” x .5” pieces

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

  • pinch of salt


pan-glazing method:

  1. Cut the tofu into roughly 1” x 1-1/2” x 1/2” pieces.  Lay cut pieces across a few stacked paper towels.  Lay a few more layers of paper towels on top of tofu and press water out gently with the palms of your hands.  Repeat twice more.

  2. Heat olive oil in nonstick pan on medium.  Add tofu pieces and let saute’ for 6-7 minutes, until golden brown on one side.  DO NOT disturb the tofu before turning it over.  Simply lay it in the pan and leave it alone until you check it for color after 6 minutes.  When golden, flip tofu to other side.  Let saute’ an additional 5 minutes on second side, without disturbing it.

  3. While tofu cooks, mix together all ingredients for the glaze.  

  4. Check second side of tofu for color.  When golden, pour glaze into pan, stirring tofu to fully coat it.  Allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes until glaze thickens and most of the liquid is gone.

  5. Remove tofu and pan from heat.  Place tofu on a plate and set aside.  Reserve the pan and any remnants of glaze for use in a few minutes.


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I really enjoyed this dish.  The flavors all went so well together.  And most of all, I enjoyed being in the kitchen again!  :)

A quick recap of my other eats yesterday...

Breakfast:  toasted Ezekiel cinnamon raisin muffin with 2 tbsp natural peanut butter and a sliced banana.

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Lunch:  1 cup of Amy's Curried Lentil Soup and another lovely salad.  

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The soup was really good, but way more calories than I normally look for in a soup.  There are 230 cal/1 cup serving, and I typically look for that many calories total in the can.

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This salad contained:

  • spinach

  • cucumber

  • red bell pepper

  • hearts of palm

  • garbonzo beans

  • dried cranberries

  • poppyseed dressing



    I meant to take a picture of the poppyseed dressing bottle, but I forgot.  :(  I'll try to do that for you this weekend.  I think it is Brianna's brand, the same brand whose honey mustard dressing has a picture of an avocado on the front...  

    Snacks:  a perfect tangelo at work and a handful of granola when I got home.

    Whew!  Ok, I'm glad to be caught up now.  I've got a really busy weekend ahead of me so posting will probably be a little sporatic.  In fact, I know I won't be posting tonight because I already promised my hubb that he would have my full attention getting our house ready for guests this weekend.  Apparently blogging takes up a lot of my evening time...!  :)

    And, THANK YOU ALL for your great comments about my foot injury!  I am definitely thinking that it is plantar fasciitis, and am so angry with myself for getting off of my training last week and then pushing too hard last weekend to finish my long run.  :(  I've gotten great advice from you guys, from the 'net, and from a marathon-running friend of mine that has either seen or had every running injury in the book, so I'm hoping to recover soon.  Its still really painful today, even after resting yesterday. I'm going to see how it feels tomorrow but if its still really sore I made hold off on doing my long run. I'm also going to go talk to my coach at the running shop and see if he has any advice for me and make sure that my shoes are still doing for me what they are supposed to be doing.  And I've got a list of stretches to do, Advil to take and an icing routine in the evenings.  Wish me luck!!!
    « a walk in the woods | Main | injury advice? »

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    Reader Comments (32)

    Good look with foot recovery!

    That tofu dish looks awesome. Thanks for sharing the recipe--and for mentioning that it's not as hard as it looks. I would have been totally intimidated otherwise.

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMica

    Well, if you do determine that is what is going on with your foot, one stretch that really did help me was bring either a tennis or golf ball (preferred) to work and roll this under your foot. It is easy to do while you are work and it does help. Good luck to you I hope you recover quickly!

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

    Beyond delish, as always :-)

    Wishing you a quick and full recovery with your injury!!

    Happy Friday!!

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterVeggieGirl

    wow the tofu pasta looks amazing! Beautiful pictures! I hope your foot heals quck, my wrist was just injured and I found the best way to get better is baby it, take ibprofen, and a bath with epson salts! It really works!

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered Commentercassandra

    The pan glazed tofu looks like of like a stovetop version of Gliding Calm tofu...delicious!

    I threw out a bunch of kale the yesterday that is now chillin' w/your swiss chard in wherever leafy dark greens go to die.

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered Commentersarahannmatheny

    That tofu looks great - was it pretty crispy? That's my big thing with tofu - I like it crispy - if it's squishy it freaks me out! :)

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

    That dish looks lovely - I will definitely be passing this on to Bill so he can make it for one of our Tofu Tuesdays :)

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRose

    Oh my goodness - between that beautiful dinner and that salad, I am in foodie heaven!

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered Commenterksgoodeats

    Dinner lookd great and I haven't seen AMy's Curried Lentil Soup Yet, i will have to search for it next time I'm at the grocery store. :)

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMeghann

    That pasta dish looks divine! You managed to incorporate 3 of my faves (broccoli rabe, butternut squash, and tofu) into one meal... I will definitely have to try this.

    Good luck with your foot :)

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

    thanks for the broccoli rabe tutorial! i've always been curious about it.
    mmm, tofu ... i've been in the mood for tofu for weeks, but i keep ending up in grocery stores where it is astronomically expensive. i feel like it used to be much cheaper? maybe i'll have time to get some at tj's this weekend -- only place it's under $2!

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

    that tofu dish looks amazing...i need to get creative with my tofu and veggies like that.

    good luck w/ your foot too! i hope it gets better soon so you can have a nice long run!

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa S.

    Love the recipe, love the breakfastm love the salad! YUM!

    I hope your foot gets better soom!

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterShelby

    Your dinner looks amazing! I've never made tofu like that before. I usally just bake it, but it looks great!

    Good luck with your injury. :D

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterHangry Pants

    Gluck! And that tofu looks sooo tasty!

    broccoli rabe- I tried it once and I didn't love it. Maybe I need to try it in this recipe as it looks great!

    I do love broccolini, though. :)

    Have a great weekend!

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered Commenterandie

    What a fantastic dinner! I've definitely starred this one. So many of my favorite things.

    Have a great weekend!

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered Commenterrunningwithfood

    Wishing you the best with the foot recovery!!

    Thanks so much for the recipe!!! :) it looks yuummy!!

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJen

    love the recipe, definately going in the to-try pile :)

    01.23.2009 | Unregistered Commenterttfn300

    Wow, that tofu looks so good!

    Good luck with your foot!

    01.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

    I love that first picture of your broccoli rabe! You make such everyday things look so pretty!

    01.24.2009 | Unregistered Commenterthelongweigh

    On your plantar fasciitis, the latest issue or Runner's World (February) has a great way to tape it so you can cut the pain and help it out! There's some other great taping methods, and I can say the shin splints one really works! Try it out and tell us what you think, in case I get it while training for my 1/2 marathon.

    01.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJill

    Andrea, that dinner was absolutely beautiful! I felt like I was flipping through the pages of a gourmet magazine. No joke!

    Ha - I spend so much time blogging at night...my poor husband feels neglected too. :( I'm trying to be better about that and write my post during the day, but it always takes so much longer than planned. Then I start reading other blogs, and I look up at the clock...it's been 3 HOURS. Time goes by so fast when you're doing something you enjoy, no?

    Love Brianna's Poppyseed dressing - so creamy and sweet!

    So sorry about the plantar fascitis. That is no fun at all. Definitely ice ice ice & rest. As a massage therapist, might I recommend myofascial release therapy? This type of massage works with the layer of connective tissue that wraps around each muscle. This is what is inflamed on the bottom of your foot. If you're able to find a good therapist, I know this has really helped people in your situation. Numerous times, the problem lies in tight calves. Best of luck. Sending good thoughts your way.

    PS - sorry about the death of the Swiss Chard. :( I hate throwing out food too.

    Good luck with the foot injury- sounds like you've got in down now. Make sure you include regular stretching in your day, even right before you get out of bed if your foot hurts then, too. Hope the inserts work well for ya- bring them to the store and hopefully they can evaluate them as well as your shoes! And keep in mind the best way to keep plantar fasciitis from coming back (unfortunately, it sometimes comes back after its resolved) is PREVENTION. And that usually means wearing shoes all the time, especially with an insert in or a supportive shoe/sandal. Good luck and make sure you keep us updated on how everything goes!
    :)

    01.24.2009 | Unregistered Commenterjane

    oh my goodness. you have the most gorgeous, mouth-watering pictures. that pasta recipe is pure genius. yum yum yum~
    good luck with your recovery~

    01.24.2009 | Unregistered Commentersophia

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