Pasta all’ Amatriciana is a traditional Italian dish that’s usually made with bacon (or pancetta, I’m told, though I have no idea what that is). I’ve never had it the traditional way, but in my less health-oriented days I used to make a vegan version of it with [foodies, close your eyes] Bacos. As anyone who has ever been addicted to Bacos will understand, that recipe was delicious. There’s just something about Bacos…so smoky, so salty, so….
Okay, I’ll quit drooling. Besides being loaded with salt, Bacos are pretty high in fat. In small amounts as a condiment, they’re fine, but as a main ingredient in a recipe, they’re a nutritional no-no. So I set out to update this family favorite using tempeh instead of Bacos, with limited success.
I started out by marinating the tempeh for 15 minutes, but I really think a longer marinating time would improve the taste. Liquid Smoke, which I used to give it a bacony flavor, seems to dissipate during cooking, so I kept adding it while the sauce was simmering. In the instructions below, I say to add it right at the end of the simmering time, to get the full benefit of the smokiness.
Did it taste like the Bacos version? Not really. But this smokey tempeh vegan bucatini was good in its own right and similar enough to remind us of an old favorite that we haven’t had in a long time.
Vegan Bucatini all'Amatriciana
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes drained and juice reserved
- 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (or smoked salt)
- salt to taste
- 12 ounces bucatini perciatelli, or any long, tubular pasta, cooked al dente*
- soy or almond parmesan optional
- Mix the tempeh and marinade ingredients together and set aside to marinate for at least half an hour and up to 24 hours.
- Heat a non-stick skillet. Add the onion and sauté until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the tempeh mixture and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, chili powder, paprika, and 1/4 cup of the tomato liquid and stir well. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 15 minutes. If it begins to look dried out, add a little more tomato juice. Add the Liquid Smoke or smoked salt and salt to taste. Toss with the pasta and serve sprinkled with vegan parmesan. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional info is approximate.