Review of Vegan Pasta Night by Brianna Claxton

Pasta, yes, but more, much, much more! If you have a vegan pasta lover in your life, Vegan Pasta Night would make a great gift!

Blurb: Whether it’s cheese, butter, pancetta, or any number of ingredients, it can seem impossible to eat delicious Italian classics while staying vegan. Not anymore. Join Brianna Claxton (founder of plvntfood) for a unique tour through pastas, sauces, and signature dishes perfect for sharing. Start by learning how to make a variety of pastas from scratch. Whether you want straightforward semolina dough or a more creative dinner built around activated charcoal “squid ink” pasta, you’ll learn how to do it. Brianna also covers techniques for filled pastas and shaped pasta.

Then move on to recipes and techniques for the vegan cheeses and meats that are essential for cooking Italian. With amazing versions of staples including parmesan, mozzarella, and calamari, you can make all this and more:

– Baked Pasta: Sausage and Ricotta Stuffed Shells, Lasagna Bolognese, Baked Rigatoni, Penne Arrabbiata Parmesan, and Orechiette with Pesto Cream and Walnut Crumble

– Fancy Pasta: Pancetta and Pea Linguine, Roasted Fennel and Sausage Rigatoni, Sweet Pea and Tarragon Alfredo, Short Rib Ragu with Pappardelle and Ricotta, Kale Alfredo with Chorizo and Farfalle, and Linguine with White Clam Sauce

– Filled Pasta: Beet and Tarragon Tortellini, Ricotta and Chicken Mezzalune with Marsala Cream Sauce, Sun-Dried Tomato Ricotta Agnolotti with Asparagus Sauce, Lemon Cappelletti with Pistachio Cream, Raviolo al’ Uovo, and Lobster Ravioli with Saffron Mascarpone Cream

– Other Italian Mains and Sides: Fennel Gratin, Ratatouille, Wild Mushroom and Sage Risotto, Insalata Mixta with Lemon Poppyseed Vinaigrette, Caprese Salad, Cured Olives with Rosemary and Citrus, English Pea Arancini, The Perfect Charcuterie Board, Stuffed Banana Peppers

Whether you are a vegan longing for your Italian favorites or simply interested in reducing your dependence on animalsVegan Pasta Night will become a go-to resource for both weeknight meals and special occasions.

Purchase Links:
Amazon | Shop your local indie bookstore

For a while it seemed like every vegan cookbook I picked up shared the same recipes with minor, hardly life-changing adjustments, which resulted in some pretty uninspiring ideas. Vegan Pasta Night by Brianna Claxton is the complete opposite of those cookbooks. She has created something exciting and drool-worthy with Vegan Pasta Night that takes the reader beyond just pasta.

A part of me has always wondered why make pasta from scratch when you can buy perfectly good dry and fresh pastas at the store? A new part of me thinks I might give making my own pasta a try because what’s the absolute worst that can happen? (I’ve cooked for years so I’m pretty sure that I won’t set my kitchen on fire! 😉 ) Vegan Pasta Night goes beyond making your pasta from scratch to incorporating homemade vegan cheeses and meats.

My first introduction to how to make your own vegan cheese and meats is in this book. Claxton gives recipes for parmesan, two mozzarellas, goat cheese, and burrata, the latter of which is definitely intriguing. I focus on these vegan cheese and consider making them because cheese is the reason why I am not vegan. But if I could have nutty, melting goodness that I didn’t have to feel guilty about? Oh, I am all over that!

Equally intriguing is the idea of making vegan meats from scratch. I have never tried to make my own seitan although the thought has definitely crossed my mind. Claxton’s recipes seem like something I would like to try. And, probably the biggie: she uses jackfruit to make a version of short ribs–maybe there’s a vegan ropa vieja in my future (Sorry, yes, I know it’s not Italian)!

Savory sauces, appetizing sides, vegan caponata and pestos? It’s all here and different. I haven’t mentioned many specific dishes because I think the blurb does a good job with that.

The only thing I’m put off by is that some of the dishes seem time consuming, especially if you consider making your own pasta, cheese, meat, and sauce. (Focaccia, I love you but why will you have to take 24 hours?!) That said, she does have a section at the end where she recommends replacements that you can easily get from the shop. And some of the recipes really are weeknight friendly like puttanesca and cacio e pepe.

I have bought very few of the cookbooks for which I’ve received an ARC (sorry, folks) because they just haven’t inspired me to but this one is probably going to find a place on my shelf. I wonder if she has a recipe for vegan pepperoni? If not, hopefully soon.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

3 thoughts on “Review of Vegan Pasta Night by Brianna Claxton

  1. Vegan cheese will be tough. I use nutritional yeast as a sort of cheesy flavor for a topping on pasta, but I really haven’t found much vegan cheese to recommend except for Kite Hill which makes an almond milk cream cheese which is pretty darn good. I thought I could never live without cheese, but it only took a few months of not eating it to be fine without it. Making your own “meat” would probably be much healthier than buying the ultra-processed substitutes, which are still better than dead animals. Let me know if you give that a go.

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