Joe’s Corner: Hearty Seitan Ragout

This may be called a ragout but when I cooked it felt more like a stew. Then again I don’t even know what a ragout is. After the initial cooking of the seitan, tofurky and vegetables this pretty much involved a large pot of broth, the vegetables and spices. And what’s nice is that you cook the pasta with it, rather than serving it like a sauce. I had fun with this dish; it has a lot of wiggle room with how you spice it. I was constantly tasting it as I added more of one spice or another. I also thought the cheese taste never really came out, and honestly would have been just as good if not better without it. Some dishes are made for cheese, and some don’t need it. If the cheese isn’t a large part of the taste why add it? I think this is one of those situations, but to each their own. Also, using tofurky sausage still didn’t get me away from the need to remove the “sausage” casing. Having never done this, I didn’t quite figure it out… So I just cut it into slices. The original recipe calls for ground meats, but the sliced tofurky along with the cubed seitan gave this dish a very different texture. I enjoyed it. This was one of my favorites so far.

Ingredients
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground seitan
1/2 lb tofu sausage (italian preferred), casing removed
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
4 beefsteak tomatoes, diced
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tbsp parsley
1 (16 oz) can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup uncooked elbow pasta (I used ziti)
6 oz fresh baby spinach leaves, washed (didn’t have this either unfortunately)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat oil in sauce-pot over medium-high heat. Add seitan, onion, and pepper then cook until  seitan has browned. Add garlic and cook an additional minute.
2. Add broth, spices, basil, tomatoes and beans. Heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and cook until pasta is done.
3. Add spinach and cook just until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in cheese. Serve hot with fresh crusty bread.

I added mushrooms and used 2 cups pasta instead.  As you can guess this is a very versatile dish, but without adding those I think it would have been too light, but maybe that’s just me.