For whatever reason, the health virtues of rye have been popping up left and right in my reading material recently. That prompted me to pick up some dark rye flour from Bob’s Red Mill the last time we were in Portland. On the drive home I was contemplating how I could use the flour in a meal and I started thinking about what I used to love rye with. The Reuben sandwich was the hands down winner. So how could I transform this sandwich classic into an alternative meal? With a smile on my face it occurred to me that I could make a dark rye pasta with caraway seeds…and the daydreaming just went on from there.
Russian Dressing Pasta Sauce
This is a wonderful sauce that can also be used as a salad dressing or sandwich spread when cooled.
1 onion, medium dice
3 oz tomato paste
2 cups vegetable stock
1 package organic firm silken tofu
1 T vegan worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chili garlic paste
freshly-cracked black pepper
olive oil for sautéing the onions
Sauté the onions in a small drizzle of olive oil until softened. Add the tomato paste and spread onto the bottom of the pan to caramelize. Add the stock and whisk gently until the tomato paste is incorporated into the sauce. Add the worcestershire sauce and chili garlic paste. Mix well.
In a food processor, pulse the tofu until creamed. Add a ladleful of the tomato sauce to the food processor and pulse. Transfer the contents to the pan on the stove containing the tomato sauce and mix until fully homogenous. Simmer over medium low heat for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Dark Rye Pasta
1 cup dark rye flour [Organic Dark Rye Flour]
1 cup semolina flour
1 tsp caraway seeds
4 tsp olive oil
12-16 oz of water [more may be necessary depending upon the moisture level of your flours]
Add the flours to a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and pulse. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the water and continue to do so until the dough pulls off the sides and clings to the center “S”-blade. Remove the dough from the processor and place upon a flour coated surface. If the dough is too tacky then incorporate in more flour until it is no longer tacky to the touch. Knead the dough a dozen times or so and then shape into a flattened round. Wrap in plastic and set aside to rest for 15-30 minutes.
Remove plastic and divide into two. Run through the largest setting on the pasta roller twice, then repeat two settings higher. Either cut with the fettuccine attachment or by hand into strips.
When ready to cook, gently drop into salted boiling water and cook until the pasta comes to the surface. This should take between one and two minutes.
2 – 8 oz package tempeh, cut in 1/2-inch strips
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp smoked salt [I used an applewood-smoked salt]
1 T sweet paprika
1 tsp corriander seeds
1 tsp brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1-1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp white peppercorns
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dill seed
3 allspice berries
2 juniper berries
Grind the whole spices in a spice grinder and then add the rest of the spices and sugar to the grinder and pulse to mix well. Transfer to a gallon-sized zip bag with 1/3 cup olive oil and mix well.
Steam the tempeh for 15 minutes to remove its bitterness. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, add to the spiced oil in the gallon bag and even coat each piece, gently. If you need more volume to completely coat all the tempeh pieces, add more oil. Refrigerate as long as possible up to a few days. The longer the rub sits upon the tempeh, the deeper the flavors will penetrate. Gently flip the bag every few hours or so in order to evenly marinate the tempeh.
Brush off any spice clumps that may have formed on the tempeh. If you do not do this they shall burn in the grill pan. Place the strips upon a heated grill pan and sear. Crumble into bite-sized pieces.
To assemble the dish you shall need:
1/4 cup crisp sauerkraut per person [I used It's Alive's Raw Sauerkraut with Dill]
fresh dill, for garnish
caraway seeds, for garnish
2 sliced green onions, for garnish
Place the cooked pasta on a plate and top with a generous amount of Russian dressing pasta sauce. Add a layer of tempeh pieces. Sprinkle with some sauerkraut, caraway seeds, sliced green onion and fresh dill.
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