St. Louis chef Gerard Craft tosses spicy marinated tofu into his pasta with tomato sauce to make a hearty and flavorful vegetarian meal. He tops the dish with chopped pistachios, adding a tasty and unexpected crunch. Slideshow: More Pasta Recipes
In a medium bowl, toss the tofu with half of the garlic, the chiles, thyme and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cover and refrigerate the tofu for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, the remaining garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and basil and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat until thickened slightly, 20 to 25 minutes; keep the sauce warm.
In a large skillet, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the tofu and cook over moderate heat until browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned all over, about 3 minutes longer; keep warm.
In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the strozzapreti until al dente. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until coated, about 2 minutes. Fold in the tofu and season with salt. Transfer to a platter and garnish with chopped pistachios, grated pecorino and dried oregano. Serve right away.
The marinated tofu and cooked tomato sauce can be refrigerated separately overnight.
Pair this pasta dish with a spicy, berried Southern Italian red.