Monday, February 21, 2011

Love Italian Seitan, no exorcism needed

A quick white wine sauce pasta

Seitan is a wheat/soy based  ‘vegetarian meat.’  Often used by Buddhists (mock duck), Japan, and other Asian cuisines as well as with the macrobiotic movement in the U.S.  If you can’t have wheat in your diet, the other alternatives are of course the sausage or a really well prepared tofu (not straight out of the package).  Seitan is not fattening or artery clogging and it is a lot easier to prepare than sausage.  I think it will be one of my ‘convenience foods.’  I included the label at the end of this blog so you can see the nutrition information.  Italian Sausage style seitan is available at Whole Foods.  I don’t recall if it is available at Woodman’s or not. 

My diet is not vegetarian or vegan, but I’m beginning to like this Italian Sausage style seitan more than Italian sausage.  Italian sausage has great seasonings and texture.  For years I’ve made slowly simmered pasta sauces with it Italian sausage.  Usually, for Italian sausage, I would crumble it and fry out the fat and then add to whatever dish I was making.   I’m finding that I can get that great flavor (without the fat) in my sauces when I use this Italian Sausage Style Seitan.  I am actually beginning to like it more because its texture is more a la dente than the sausage texture.  It is also much faster to prepare than the sausage.  I don’t have to plan ahead (defrost or buy fresh) and I don’t need to spend time frying out the grease.  It is also a great substitute for people who chose not to eat meat or even pork.

Here is a quick pasta recipe that I threw together in no time.  I got a late start with dinner today and didn’t have time for a long preparation. 

For this dish I love the way the seitan works its way into the little shells


16 oz of Conchieglie –shell shaped (I prefer organic-seems to taste more robust-but not a requirement)
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. dried basil (if fresh is not available)
1.5 tsp. or dried oregano (if fresh is not available)
1 cup white wine (I used Gato Negro Sauvignon Blanc 2010 from Chile-reasonably priced for cooking)
½ cup soup stock (if not vegan, then chicken, if vegetarian-than vegetable, I use organic free range soup stock 9if fresh is not available)
6 cloves of garlic mashed (or chopped in a food processor)
2 yellow peppers diced
about a medium head of brocolli or 2/3 head of large on with flowerets chopped off
Note:  you can add or substitute other vegetables-this is what I had on hand today and given all the ice we have ,  I was not in the mood to go out grocery shop

Heat olive oil and start sautéing the broccoli flowerets on medium heat. 
Sauté for approximately 5 minutes
Add the diced yellow peppers-sauté for about 3-4 minutes
Add chopped garlic and sauté for another minute
Crumble the seitan and sauté for a couple of minutes
Add white wine and bring to a boil
Add stock
Simmer opened for about 5-8 minutes

Prepare the pasta in the meantime (this dish is easy , so I multitasked)

Stir pasta into the sautéed mixture.  Make sure it is blended well.  The seitan and sauce will work their way into the shells.

I mostly improvise my recipes, so if you want to vary this with other vegetables, it should work fine.

The sauce is very light and tasty (not oily).  I really like the flavor of this sauce and it combines nicely with the vegetables.  No flavor dominates.  I've had people insist that this dish has Italian sausage. They only believe me (sort of) when I show them the package of Italian Sausage seitan.

Our bodies can tell the difference between sausage and seitan

the sauce and seitan work their way into the shells

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1 comment:

  1. i made this recipe the other day, it was delicious and easy!