Continuing my love of pasta, I’ve discovered a way to make a pasta-type dish but without all the kneading, rolling, and cutting of dough. These semolina dumplings take a little while, but involve nothing more than sprinkling water over semolina flour. Plus, they are sturdy enough to stand up to a spicy tomato vodka sauce!
I started off by placing the semolina flour in a shallow dish. Then, I just drizzle water over the flour, shake the pan, and scoop out the dumplings.
After drying slightly, the dumplings need to boil for just a few minutes, and then are ready to add to the sauce.
This sauce is spicy and almost a little bitter from the vodka, but it is a great combination with the chewy semolina dumplings!
Semolina Dumplings with Tomato Vodka Sauce
3 cups semolina flour
1-2 cups of water
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can of crushed tomatoes (28 ounces), preferably San Marzano
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup vodka
1/4 cup almond milk or vegan cream
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
- Start the sauce by heating the olive oil over medium heat in a wide sauce pan, then adding the onion and garlic to saute until lightly browned. Add the red pepper flakes and saute for another minute then add the vodka. Cook for about 3 minutes. Next add the crushed tomatoes, and cover. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for at least 20 minutes, or as long as it takes you to prepare the dumplings. Just before adding the first batch of dumplings, add the cream and adjust salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if you’d like a spicier sauce.
- Put the semolina flour into a shallow dish or plate, and have the water in a glass or measuring cup.
- Make small wells in the semolina flour, and then dribble a small amount of water (maybe 1-2 tsp) into each well. Allow the water to sit for about 5 seconds, or until absorbed by the semolina flour.
- Shake the dish lightly, then scoop out the dumplings and place on a sheet pan to dry. Repeat until the semolina flour is gone.
- Cook the semolina dumplings in batches by gently adding them to well-salted boiling water. Stir once to make sure they aren’t sticking, and then scoop out with a pasta spoon or strainer, placing immediately into the sauce and stirring to coat the dumplings.
- Continue until all the dumplings are cooked, and serve with a fresh green salad.
I always feel like I should have a little extra veggies with the dumplings, so I like the combination of a nice arugula salad and stuffed mushrooms.
First, I remove the stems from the mushrooms, and place the caps in an oiled baking dish.
The stems get minced up, and sauteed along with some minced garlic.
I love fresh parsley, so I usually chop that up to add to the mushroom mixture. You could also use fresh basil, or of course dried parsley or basil.
Next, I added some white wine, followed by some bread crumbs.
After the breadcrumbs absorb all the liquid, the filling goes into the mushroom caps.
The mushrooms are baked until they are browned and the stuffing is crunchy. These are perfect as an appetizer, or even an entire meal. 🙂
For the arugula salad, I love mixing lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper, then tossing the simple dressing with fresh arugula (or spinach).
8 ounces whole button mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 cup bread crumbs, plus extra if needed
2 Tbsp vegan Parmesan cheese (or real, if desired)
1/2 cup white wine
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Clean the mushrooms and remove the stems. Brush a baking dish with 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, then place the mushroom caps into the dish, stem side up. Mince the remaining mushroom stems.
- In a saute pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, being sure not to brown it too much. Add the minced mushroom stems and 1/4 tsp salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Saute for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is softened and fragrant. Add the parsley and cook for another minute.
- Next add the white wine. Bring to a light simmer, then remove from the heat.
- Mix in the Parmesan, if using, and about half of the bread crumbs, stirring to combine. Continue adding bread crumbs until you have a moist mixture that holds together if pressed into a ball. Taste and add salt or pepper if needed.
- Use a small spoon to place a scoop of the mixture into each mushroom cap, pressing as needed to hold the mixture together and in place.
- Cook the mushrooms for about 15 minutes, then check for browning. You want the mushroom caps to be browned and the stuffing to be crusty on top.
- Serve as an appetizer or with an entree as a side dish.
Simple Arugula Salad
One small container of fresh arugula
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Coarse sea salt
Optional, 1/4 cup shredded vegan or real Parmesan cheese
Place the arugula in a large salad bowl. Sprinkle the lemon juice and olive oil over the arugula. Next, add lots of freshly ground pepper and about 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt (use less if you have a finely grained sea salt). Add the cheese if using. Toss to combine, and taste to adjust salt and pepper if needed.
This simple salad pairs perfectly with any pasta dish or vegetarian pizza. Serves 4.