Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tofu Cacciatore

I never considered using tofu in an Italian dish until I saw a recipe for tofu cacciatore on http://www.recipezaar.com/. Genius! I sort of made up my own version with what I had on hand and it turned out to be delicious. The sauce is really yummy and would be great on pasta or rice. One of the ingredients I used, fennel pollen, is a bit hard to find and of course you can leave it out. Fennel pollen is the actual pollen of the wild fennel plant. It tastes like fennel seeds, but more subtle and a bit floral. I really love using it, though it's rather a luxury to be used sparingly.

Tofu Cacciatore

2 green bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
olive oil
handul of chopped kalamata olives
1 small can of tomato paste and 1 can of water
1 large can of peeled, whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
crushed garlic or garlic powder, to taste
salt, pepper, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, to taste
pinch of fennel pollen

two containers of firm tofu that have been pressed of their liquid-to get a "meatier" texture you can freeze the tofu after pressing and then defrost it before cooking
flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
olive oil

Saute the onions and peppers in a little olive oil. When they are just tender, add the tomato paste and garlic. Cook the tomato paste just for a couple minutes being very careful not to scorch it. Add the crushed tomatoes with their liquid, the olives, the water, and the seasonings. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until nice and thick.

While you sauce is cooking you can fry the tofu. Slice the tofu into 1/2-inch slices. Dip each slice of tofu in flour and brush off the excess. Pan fry the tofu in a little olive oil until it is crisp on both sides.

Serve the tofu with the sauce and some nice Italian bread. Enjoy!

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