a few years ago, on a visit to Belgium, meagan remembers sitting in a little tiny pub in a small town, possibly brugges. after dark, all the locals, bundled in their big, warm sweaters, would cram into this charming stone-walled cafe and order up large pints of dark beer and small bowls of baked pasta. everyone huddled over their steaming dinners, laughing and talking and drinking in friendship, warmed the heart of the traveler. how to take this snug and cozy meal and make it vegan style became the challenge. meagan's pasta bake became the answer.
1/2 lb. angel hair pasta
fresh spinach, two large handfuls chopped
8 oz.cremini (baby bella's) mushrooms, chopped
fresh basil, 7 or 8 large leaves, chopped
garlic, 3 large cloves, chopped
1/2 vidalia onion, chopped
2 T. vegan cream cheese
15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 oz. red wine
salt and pepper
heat 2 T. olive oil in a skillet and saute mushrooms. add spinach and a pinch of salt and saute. drain and set aside.
heat 2 T. olive oil in a stockpot. add chopped garlic and onion and saute until onions begin to sweat. add tomato sauce and salt and pepper and heat to simmer. add red wine, stir, cover and bring to boil. add vegan cream cheese and stir to heat. remove from heat, then fold in basil. set aside.
in a saucepan bring pasta water to boil with a dash of salt and olive oil. add pasta and cook to al dente. remember pasta will cook more as dish bakes in oven. drain and set aside.
in a skillet heat 1 t. olive oil and saute remaining garlic. mix all ingredients together and place in a baking dish in a preheated 375 degree oven. bake 20 minutes covered, remove cover and bake ten minutes more to brown top.
serve with toasted baugette brushed with garlic olive oil. spectacular! (serves 4)