I’ve always been a fan of tofu, but I am not creative in the way that I prepare it. I often feel limited by not really having recipes for it as well as faced with the frustration from my husband who doesn’t care for it. At a recent press luncheon, I had the chance to watch actress Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos cook and share some delicious tofu recipes while also talking about family, moving to Brooklyn and focusing on what matters.
As stars of the Cooking Channel’s show Extra Virgin, this adorable couple is used to cooking together but this usually involves traditional Tuscan fare. Debi, a naive New Yorker, spoke of how her ‘hippy’ mother used to give her tofu and how Gabriele (a big meat eater) scoffed at the idea of eating tofu. However, through their partnership with the brand House Foods, Gabriele has learned more about cooking with tofu and developing recipes using this bean-based protein. As a chef, Gabriele remarked that tofu is actually the ‘perfect food’ since it is very adaptable in recipes and can serve as an amazing addition and substitute for meat dishes as well as the Italian dishes that they make on their show and at home.
At the event, I loved watching the repoire between Debi and Gabriele as they spoke of their love of food (and each other). Through the demo, they created a unique Tofu Salsa Verde with Hearts of Romaine, a Pesto Macaroni Shirataki with Cherry Tomatoes and Green Beans, a Tofu Gnocchi with Spinach and Sage and a Tofu Tiramisu. I was shocked by what they created and how they transformed tofu using traditional Italian flavors. My favorite was the extraordinary Tofu Gnocchi with Spinach and Sage. I couldn’t get enough of this dish (and even made it the next day for my girls) with its rich and savory sage, lemon, butter, spinach and tofu that provided an incredible replacement to ricotta. In fact, everything was amazing and I didn’t feel stuffed (despite eating every last bite) since everything was actually pretty light but packed with flavor since the tofu retains it so well!
Not only a way to mix up dinner, tofu has a host of health benefits since it is a bean-based protein. As a low-fat and low-calorie food, I learned that tofu can be prepared in a variety of different (and delicious) ways to create meals that the whole family will love.
Tofu Gnocchi with Spinach and Sage
Created by Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos, stars of Cooking Channel’s show Extra Virgin
1 (12 ounce) package House Foods Organic or Premium Tofu Extra Firm
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 bunches fresh spinach, washed thoroughly, stems removed (about 1-1/2 pounds)
5 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg yolk
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
Juice of half a lemon
1 handful fresh sage
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Drain the Tofu and then add it to a large bowl; break up with your hands until crumbly. Drizzle with olive oil, add the garlic, and season well with salt and pepper. Keep working the tofu with your hands until it’s very crumbly and looks like ricotta cheese.
Add the spinach to the boiling water and cook 1 minute. Remove spinach from the water and plunge in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
Drain the spinach very well, and using a clean tea towel, squeeze out the extra water. Chop the leaves very fine and add to the bowl with the crumbled tofu. Stir in 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, egg yolk, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix well and shape the mixture into balls the size of walnuts.
Butter a 13×9 inch casserole dish, and lay all the gnocchi in it, top with 2 tablespoons of sliced butter and another sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Bake the gnocchi for about 20 minutes and then add to the broiler the last 5 minutes to crisp and brown the top of the spinach balls.
Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and add the sage once it starts to foam. SautÃ© until it starts to brown. Serve tofu gnocchi topped with warm butter sauce.
The third season of Extra Virgin, starts up again on November 7th.
Momtrends was not paid for this post. We were given samples