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Italian Country Loaf
Recipe Submitted by: Chef Ron Pickarski
Revised: Aug. 1, 2000

Categories: Vegetarian>Entrees
Yield: 24 portions
Ingredients Method
6 red bell pepper
3 yellow bell pepper
3 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 cup pistachios
4 1/2 pounds extra firm tofu
3/4 cup arrowroot powder
24 cloves minced garlic
12 tablespoons agar flakes (or 2 Tbl. agar powder)
1 Tbl sea salt
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
3 cup chopped onions
3 cup chopped fresh fennel (or 3 cup diced celery plus 2 Tbl fennel powder)
12 packed tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 Tbl sea salt
6 cups Sauce Concassé

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Wash, dry, halve, and seed peppers. Rub skins with the first measure of oil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes or until they are soft and skins begin to shrivel. Remove peppers and place in a brown paper bag to steam for 10 minutes. When cool, remove loosened skins, and dice into 1-inch pieces.

Spread pistachios on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and very fragrant. Remove immediately from baking sheet and transfer to a container to cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300° F. Rinse the tofu, then press it dry. In a food processor, combine the tofu, arrowroot, garlic, agar, and salt and process until smooth. Add the second measure of oil and process again briefly until the oil is completely blended. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

In a 10-inch frying pan, heat the third measure of oil and sauté the onions for 5 minutes over medium heat until transparent, then add the fennel and sauté for about 4 minutes longer. To the tofu mixture, add the sautéed vegetables, bell peppers, pistachio nuts, basil, and salt, then combine well.

Lightly wet a flat surface with water and lay 2 pieces of plastic wrap down, overlapping each other in the middle, to form 1 large piece about 2 feet long and 1-1/2 feet wide. Arrange the tofu mixture down the edge of the plastic wrap closest to you to form a log about 4 inches in diameter and about 10 inches long. Carefully roll the loaf in the plastic wrap, working away from you, until you reach the end. Twist both ends securely closed. Cover the roll with 1 layer of aluminum foil. Add 1 inch of water to the bottom of a large roasting pan. Insert a wire rack in the pan, and place loaf on rack. Cover pan and place in oven. Steam bake for 1 hour or until loaf reaches an internal temperature of 150 to 160° F.

Remove pan from oven, take loaf out of pan and set aside to cool, preferably overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to use, remove loaf from foil and plastic wrap, slice and serve.

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