I love reading about food history and this is a cool story. Cacciatore is Italian for 'hunter' but typically made with chicken - so what's the connection there? Well, if the hunting party was unsuccessful they would kill a chicken and make a stew with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, peppers and red wine. This dish was inspired by an old Vegetarian Times recipe, but I tried to make it more authentic by researching variations on more traditional recipes. I'm not a huge fan of tofu, but it really works well here absorbing all the tomatoes, red wine and sage. Serve over any pasta you like - I used vermicelli. Use rice or corn pasta for a gluten-free recipe.
Time: About 15 minutes active; 75 minutes total
Price: About $9.85 total; $1.65 per serving
Nutrition (per serving):
Saturated fat: 0.74g
1 Tbsp EVOO
2 medium onions, chopped
1 medium pepper, cut into strips and halved
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb carrots, cut into 2-3" pieces and halved diagonally
1/2 mushrooms, quartered
6 oz baked tofu, preferably Italian flavored
28 oz canned tomatoes, if whole break up with your hands
1/2 cup red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel
1 Tbsp sage, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp black pepper
12 oz pasta, I used vermicelli
1. In a large skillet or pot, heat EVOO over medium heat. Add onions and pepper and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Add carrots, mushrooms and tofu and cook 5 minutes more.
2. Add tomatoes, red wine, sage, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook one hour until all the vegetables are tender and the sauce is fragrant. Depending on how you like your sauce, you may want to turn the heat back up to medium and boil some of the liquid off before serving - about 5-10 minutes to thicken.
3. When about 20 minutes are left, heat a second pot of water with 1/2 Tbsp salt. When it comes to a boil, drop in pasta and cook until al dente, about 6-8 minutes depending on the thickness of the pasta. Drain.
4. To serve, put equal amounts of pasta in each bowl and top with cacciatore. Garnish with chopped sage and red pepper flakes.