Monday, April 1, 2013

Dairy Free Italian baked chicken and pasta - the most delicious casserole. ever. vegan and gluten free options

So, it just looks, okay, nothing special about this? It may not look like the most amazing thing, but I promise you it is. Lasagna, baked ziti, penne alla vodka have nothing on this. Besides fried chicken cutlets, this is probably my boyfriend's all time favorite. What makes this so good? creamy melt-in-your-mouth elbow pasta covered in gooey "cheese" with bits of breadcrumbs, tender chicken, flavorful pops of peas, and sweet tomatoes. The colors of Italy, how could you go wrong?
This recipe is originally from giada de laurentis on Sorry giada, but your dish has nothing on mine.           :b

Ingredients For a large tray: (this recipe can easily be divided in half)

  • 1 lb elbow pasta (for gluten free use quinoa pasta or nonGMO corn pasta, or just quinoa)
  • Organic olive oil as needed
  • approx 1 1/2 cups organic free range chicken
  • approx 1/2 cup diced organic sweet onion
  • 2 (15 oz) cans of organic diced tomatoes in juice (no salt added) or you can cook up some fresh organic tomatoes!
  • about 2 cups organic peas
  • 2 cups shredded rice milk cheese
  • a large handful of fresh organic basil (about 1 cup, about 2 tablespoons chopped) Fresh is the best for this dish if you do not have fresh you can use thawed dorot frozen basil cubes, or dried basil. About 1 tablespoon if you use dried.
  • bread crumbs as needed (for gluten free use GF breadcrumbs,cooked dried quinoa,  flax meal, almond meal, or take whole grain udi bread, pulverize it, toast it in a dry pan, add salt and herbs)
  • sea salt as needed
  • organic earth balance buttery spread as needed

1st, boil water in a medium large pot, once boiling add pasta, a few dashes of sea salt, and a dash of olive oil.  cook for 3-4 minutes (just under al dente)

Cut up your chicken into little cubes. (If your vegetarian or vegan, or just don't want chicken, you can use tofu. Squeeze and drain your tofu, cut it into cubs, marinate it in oil salt and herbs, overnight before using. You could also use mushrooms, or vegetarian sausage.)
First thing in your pan should be oil, about a tablespoon (more if needed) heat it on medium-low heat. Once hot, add your onions, cook until they get some color, like below. 
Then peel and finely chop your massive amount of garlic. Add to the pan, stir and cook for another minute or two.
Then add your cubed chicken, or tofu. Sprinkle with salt and dried basil. Cook just until all the pink disappears,

While that cooks preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. And in a large bowl, put your cooked pasta. you diced tomatoes,
Grab your fresh basil and chop it finely.
 Add the cooked chicken, organic peas, a few dashes of sea salt, and the chopped basil.
Grab any vegan cheese of your choice. For this I use rice mozzarella. No one I have fed this to has ever been able to tell it was not real cheese. Why not use real mozzarella? Because I do not believe it is ethical to limit cows to a small feedlot or indoor factory, rape them, steal their babies, and hook them up milking pumps
Using a cheese grater shred your "cheese" as fine as possible. For easier shredding, place your "cheese" in the freezer a few minutes before you need it.
If your bowl of pasta and ingredients is piping hot, let it cool slightly before adding the "cheese", so it doesn't melt immediately. Mix everything together. 

grease a baking pan with vegan butter or non gmo cooking spray. coat the bottom with a dusting of breadcrumbs.
Add your mixed ingredients to the pan, evening out the top with a wooden spoon.
sprinkle more breadcrumbs on top, and dot with small pats of vegan butter.
Cook in oven for about 30-40 minutes. If the top doesn't start to brown, carefully broil it for a minute or two.

When done baking it should look something like this.

scoop some out with a spatchula or spoon..
The result.
perfection in your mouth

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