As I’m writing this it is 26C (79F) outside and the cicada symphony is in full swing. I know this not just because they’re drowning out all other neighborhood sounds, but because the cat just bought one into the house. And then she let it go. Cicadas are way, way noisier inside the house. So it’s not exactly weather that has me hankering for hot pasta with spicy tomato sauce. But let’s backtrack a week or two, when that big old scary storm finally crossed the Tasman Ocean and hit Auckland. Boy was it wet. And cold. Despite my initial recoil, it was actually nice to have a break from the peak-summer heat and enjoy some warm comfort foods again.
I made arrabbiata because it’s Sun’s favourite pasta sauce. Essentially, he loves anything with chili in it; he’s not a fan of all western foods but if it has chili in it then it gets his seal of approval. It’s a deep, rich arrabbiata beefed up with some grated tempeh and broccoli. I haven’t cooked a lot with tempeh before and I thought the soft texture and slight nuttiness worked very well here. It made it hearty and filling, with a good dose of protein to boot.
Arrabbiata with Broccoli & Tempeh Recipe
Serve this over your favourite pasta. I absolutely adore these spelt pagodas from Casalare. I think it would be great with whole grain spaghetti too. If you like, try substituting spinach or other greens for the broccoli.
1 broccoli, cut into small florets and stems
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
⅓ cup good quality red wine
1 tablespoon unrefined cane sugar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes / chilli flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
small handful chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon oregano (I used dried)
28oz / 800g diced tomatoes (canned is fine)
8oz / 250g tempeh, grated on a box grater
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
fresh ground black pepper
fine ground sea salt
fresh grated parmesan (optional)
Start by bringing a large pot of water to the boil. Salt the boiled water generously and cook the broccoli for 30 seconds. Remove the broccoli with tongs (be sure to keep the water for cooking pasta) and rinse under cold running water. Set aside.
Cook the pasta in the same water following the packet instructions.
Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, sugar, tomato paste, lemon juice, herbs, tomatoes and tempeh. Add ½ cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes to blend flavours. At this point you can taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from heat and stir in broccoli and parsley. Ladle over cooked pasta. Top with fresh grated parmesan.