Seitan, if you’ve never had it, is seasoned wheat gluten with a surprisingly nutty, meaty taste. But, just like its blander cousin, tofu, it really soaks up flavors from surrounding ingredients.
1 (8 ounce) block of seitan
2 cups button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 (25 ounce) jar tomato sauce
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained OR 1 pound part-skim ricotta
5-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
12 ounces ziti or other dry pasta
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Coarsely chop the seitan and mushrooms, then add to a large saucepan. Stir in tomato sauce and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Cover to keep warm.
Puree the tofu, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor until the mix has the consistency of ricotta cheese. (If you’re using ricotta, just mix in the lemon juice, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper by hand.) Add ziti to boiling water and stir to prevent sticking. Cook until just tender, then drain and return to the pot.
Spread several tablespoons of tomato-seitan mixture in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, making sure to evenly coat bottom and sides to prevent sticking. In a very large bowl, combine drained pasta, tofu “cheese” or ricotta, the remaining tomato-seitan mixture and the parsley. Fold gently to combine all ingredients. Spread evenly in baking dish and bake 15 minutes. Serve hot.