‘Almost’ Vegan Red Wine Spaghetti & Almond-Milk Granita

A couple of months ago, my precious and only sister, Kelli told me she had made red wine spaghetti, “It’s almost vegan” She said. “You guys can eat this, right?” she asked. “It just calls for a little bit of anchovies.” she added. I get one of these sweet calls about once a month from her.

For those of you who are just joining us,

Rick and I are ‘almost vegans’. I explain that healthy choice in my first blog, cookingforyoumylove:

During the first month of our new veganism, I noticed in our pantry, a case of our beloved Wild Planet (sustainably caught); Wild White Anchovies, in Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Damn, does this mean we can’t enjoy Friday evenings; anchovies on Wasa Rye Crackers, smeared with Dijon Mustard, lovingly sprinkled with Capers, diced green peppers, and topped with a sprinkle of lemon juice. We had $40 bucks invested in this preciously packed fish from Morocco. The voice in my head said, “Clio go ahead, Rick needs the 16 oz. of protein.” So, the hard turn to the left, took a short curve back to the middle of the dietary road. That being said, except for occasional fish, we adhered to a vegan diet. It’s all flow baby”…

Back to the recipe. When Kelli told me the beauty of this recipe is cooking the pasta in wine, I didn’t get it. “Did you say make a sauce with wine?” I asked. “Literally, you bring the wine to a boil and add your noodles right to it. Clio, you won’t believe how fabulous this is, with it’s very subtle flavor.”  So, here’s to you my Kelli.

(My sister Kelli and I in Sicily, where ‘Spaghetti all’Ubriaco’ and Granita di Mandore were born.)

Almost Vegan Red Wine Spaghetti *(Spaghetti All’Ubriaco) 

Serves: 2-3           Prep time: 30 minutes

  • 2 cups plus 2 tbs. full-bodied fruity red wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 9 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 oz. can Wild Planet Wild White Anchovies (Omit these if you’re vegan!)
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves finely sliced
  • ⅔ pitted green olives
  • ½ tsp. dried red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbs. tomato paste
  • 1 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • Sea salt

Almost Vegan Red Wine Spaghetti Recipe

  1. Measure 1 ¾ cups of the red wine into a sauce pan and add 2 cups water plus 2 tbsp. water.
  2. Bring to boil, add a 1 tsp. salt, and the spaghetti for about 7-8 minutes.
  3. Drain, reserving half cup of the cooking liquid.
  4. Meanwhile, drain the anchovies, reserving oil.
  5. Add the anchovies oil plus additional olive oil to skillet.
  6. Fry the garlic over very low heat.
  7. *Chop anchovies and halve the olives.
  8. Add the red pepper flakes to the garlic.
  9. Spoon in the tomato paste along with the reserved pasta cooking water and the rest of the wine.
  10. Bring to boil, add the anchovies, olives and simmer for a few minutes.
  11. Add the partially cooked spaghetti into the sauce and leave over low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  12. Add the three quarters of chopped parsley to the pasta and toss well.

*Regarding the anchovies: before you chop, with a sharp paring knife, slice the anchovy lengthwise and with the tip, gently lift the bones out. You don’t have to take this extra step, and actually those little bones are loaded with calcium, but it doesn’t look too appetizing. (We call taking this step, a gesture of love 🙂 )

Remember a couple ‘blogs’ ago, (sounds kinda science fiction-esq) where I regaled the easiness of making my own almond milk? Well, left over from the process is around 2 cups of almonds solids which I roast in the oven, and have been using in salads, smoothies and gorp for hiking. Kelli’s daughter, Heather, another one of the fine chefs in my family, suggested I use the almonds for making Almond-Milk Granita (Granita di Mandorle).

Hedy, I made it yesterday. And Rick will attest to the incredibly pure floral flavor of almonds in this Scillian dessert. A perfect finish to a spectacular meal.

Almond-Milk Granita Ingredients

Serves: 6       Prep time: 15 minutes     Total time: 3 hours

Almond-Milk Granita Recipe

  1. Use a blender to grind the almonds to powdery texture (I use my Melitta Coffee Grinder)
  2. Add powdered sugar, sugar, and almond milk. Blend to mix
  3. Strain, (we use a cheesecloth bag) the mixture to get rid of big chunks of almonds. Pour into a metal loaf pan that can be placed in the freezer.
  4. Freeze uncovered for an hour or two, until the top has solidified a bit.
  5. Scrape using a fork. Put the container back in the freezer and repeat every hour, for the next 3 hours. (lots of love going into this)
  6. Serve by spooning granita in a pretty glass. I garnished with a few licorice mint leaves…so good!!!

One of the unexpected delights of writing this blog, 

has been the outpouring of love and support from you guys out there in the blogosphere. I mean it. When I started this, I saw blogging as a creative outlet for writing and source of healthy, ‘vegan recipes’ for those who are dealing with prostate cancer or any kind of cancer for that matter. After I realized that approximately, 235,000 men will be diagnosed this year, and another 35,000 will die from this dreaded stuff,  another of my goals was to bring the conversation to the forefront. Almost everyone I have talked to, my kids have mentioned and of course our friends; know somebody who is going through what we are.

But what I didn’t anticipate; the tangible sense that we are not alone on this journey. A long time friend of mine who is traveling her path with other worldly grace sent me this quote from The Nomadic Monk. I have to share this mediation, and like everything Mary sends us; we were brought to utter stillness…

Transformation arises only from fullness of journey.  Perhaps where you are today is not where you thought you’d be, where you think you need to be, where you want to be.  The fullness of a journey comes not from its directness and predictability, but from the unexpected wandering that fills out its contours, and from the heart that gives itself over to the adventure of living, to the adventure of Time.

“There is not a single straight line on your body, and yet you thought you’d somehow make a straight line with your life? There exists in the entire universe only one direct line from point A to point B, one path that binds them perfectly and effortlessly: humble love.  But the straight lines of love are drawn only with the crooked lines of life! You think you have been blown off course, when in fact, for the heart given over to the adventure of living, every wind blows Home, no matter where you are.” 

-Nomadic Monk. 

Until next week, Clio


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