I’d been wanting to try Mary McDougall’s Baked Penne Florentine, from The Starch Solution (p. 303) for a long time. Thanks to recent Vegan Mofo experiments with casseroles, I decided to give it a try. The first version even pleased SAD eaters, although not everyone appreciated the spinach. But I wasn’t satisfied with the recipe, I wanted to modify the cashew sauce a little to make it more nutrient dense, so I added cooked cauliflower. I also seasoned it more than Mary’s, which is quite mild and kid proof. Mary cooks some onion separately, then blends it into the sauce. I wanted easier and faster, so I used onion and garlic powder instead. I like my version, as I get a more Fuhrman like combination of greens, beans and a cruciferous vegetable.
Florentine Pasta Casserole
8 oz (dry) small whole wheat pasta, cooked
1/2 head cauliflower, coarsely chopped, cooked
1/2 C raw cashews
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of water
1 T miso
1 t dry mustard
1 t onion powder
1/2 t garlic powder
2 t fresh lemon juice
bread crumbs for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put on a large pot of water to boil
While pasta cooks, cook the cauliflower. You can microwave it, or do as I did, and steam it on top of the pasta pot.
In a high speed blender or food processor, blend all ingredients except pasta and spinach.
Mix pasta with spinach first, trying to spread out the spinach as evenly as possible. Then add the blended sauce and mix well. It’s easiest to do this in a large mixing bowl, then put into a casserole dish. It helps you to figure out how bug a dish you need. Spread pasta evenly, dust with paprika, cover tightly and bake about 45 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Other seasonings that work well are a squirt of fresh lemon juice and/or your favorite hot sauce. Enjoy!