Creamy Baked Pasta
- 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil*
- 4 ounces baby spinach
- 12 ounces firm tofu
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
- 6 ounces whole wheat penne
- Fresh chives
- 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- *not included
Heat the oven to 400°F. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and salt it. Put the tomatoes and their liquid in the bowl of a food processor along with the garlic, Italian seasoning, a pinch of salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon oil; purée until the sauce is completely smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour 1/4 cup of the sauce into an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish and transfer the rest to a bowl. Rinse out the bowl of the food processor.
Rinse and dry the spinach. Cut the tofu into chunks and put them in the bowl of the food processor along with 1 tablespoon oil, the spinach, nutritional yeast, and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Purée, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until the mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and stir occasionally. Start tasting it after 4 minutes; it should be barely tender and not yet edible. Drain it into a colander and toss with 1 teaspoon oil.
Return the pasta to the empty pot along with the tofu mixture and stir them with a rubber spatula to combine well. Transfer the filling to the baking dish and spread it out evenly over the tomato sauce. Pour the remaining tomato sauce on top. Put the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the pasta is bubbling around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse and chop about half the chives (save the rest for another use).
Put the the bread crumbs in a small bowl and toss with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, half the chopped chives, and a pinch of salt. Scatter them over the pasta. Return the pasta to the oven and bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out hot and the edges are crisp and bubbling, 5 to 10 minutes more. Garnish with the remaining chopped chives and serve.