Contributed by Hollis Paul
Menu Description: A low-salt, quick-fix, tasty spaghetti sauce that contains added protein from Tofu and Beans, and is redolent with herbs. It brings the amazing taste and olfactory components of High-bush Cranberry Ketchup to the mundane dinner of spaghetti.
- Firm Tofu 1 tub
- European-Style Marinara Sauce 1 28-oz (1lb12oz) 794 g size 404 can
- TJ’s Cuban Style Black Beams 1 15 oz (425 gm) size 202 can
- US style Pasta Sauce 1 26 oz (1lb 10 oz) 737g jar
- All your Favorite Chicken herbs Several of each pinches
Or Italian Seasoning 1 Tablespoon
- High-bush Cranberry Ketchup 1 Heaping tablespoon Or
TJ’s Pinjur* 2 heaping tablespoons for sauce for 2 people
- Salt 1/8 teaspoon
- Coarse-ground Pepper 0.5 Teaspoon
- Step 1) Place drained tofu block in a large 12-inch skillet and shave it with a chef’s whip. Cube-ing really doesn’t work well.
- Step 2) Add marinara sauce, black beans, and pasta sauce. Mix thoroughly.
- Step 3) Sprinkle herbs and pepper over the top. Mix into spaghetti sauce.
- Step 4) Cover, not tightly, and heat over medium heat. When it starts to burp, stir and turn down the heat. Eventually, you want it to simmer at low heat for 15-20 minutes, with little volcanic action. The heating process moves the liquid from the bottom to the top, so stir regularly, as the beans will stick if allowed.
Note: I use a European-style marinara sauce from Trader Joe’s, because it adds a distinctive herb base to the mixture from American marinara sauces. I once used a European pasta sauce with it, but that was too much of a good thing. I use the store brand (Haggen) mushroom pasta sauce.
Note: The can of Cuban-Style black beans is really a coating agent and a source of herbs. I was disappointed that my sauces were not coating the spaghetti after it was coated with olive oil to prevent clumping.
Note: We have reduced the salt in our diet and the salt that comes with the canned sauces is quite enough for us. If you are still under the salt-addiction marketing strategy of American, and presumably, European food manufacturers, then you will probably want more. I also only use a ½ tablespoon of salt per pound of spaghetti, when I make that.
Finally, add the High-Bush Cranberry sauce when you spoon a quantity into a serving dish, and then heat in the microwave.
Again this late summer I wasn’t much interested in doing garden magic, and so, it came to pass, that I ran out of High-Bush Cranberry Sauce. The spaghetti sauce has been noticeably uninteresting. Then, our favorite checker at TJ’s was sent to the demonstration table and when we stopped to visit, she was demonstrating a product new to TJ’s–Pinjir. This is “a traditional Macedonian recipe made with roasted [red] peppers and eggplant”. It is also piquant. I took a sample and wandered around the store and could still feel the pleasant hotness for 5 minutes or more. This is certainly more interesting than the standard American fare. So I bought some and added 2 heaping tablespoons to my next serving of spaghetti sauce. Wundebar! Today, I bought a case. I figure that I can add two 12 oz bottles to my usual mix and not have to add it to each meal’s serving.