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Lighten up party dishes with tofu

Actress Debi Mazar and her husband Gabriele Corcos, stars of Cooking Channel’s show, "Extra Virgin" -- host holiday get-togethers for their friends and family using Tuscan inspired recipes. Corcos is Italian and the couple enjoys decadent, rich foods but for the holiday season, they like to offer guests some lighter foods, too.

Debi and Garbiele's secret ingredient is tofu. In a news release, the couple explained, "Tofu is as versatile as sour cream, heavy cream, mayonnaise, cream cheese or ricotta and has allowed us to bring new life and healthier component to many of our favorite recipes."

Tofu Gnocchi with Spinach and Sage

Created by Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos, stars of Cooking Channel’s show Extra Virgin

1 (12 ounce) package House Foods Organic or Premium Tofu Extra Firm

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

2 bunches fresh spinach, washed thoroughly, stems removed (about 1-1/2 pounds)

5 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 egg yolk

Dash of freshly grated nutmeg

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

Juice of half a lemon

1 handful fresh sage

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Drain the Tofu and then add it to a large bowl; break up with your hands until crumbly. Drizzle with olive oil, add the garlic, and season well with salt and pepper. Keep working the tofu with your hands until it’s very crumbly and looks like ricotta cheese.

Add the spinach to the boiling water and cook 1 minute. Remove spinach from the water and plunge in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

Drain the spinach very well, and using a clean tea towel, squeeze out the extra water. Chop the leaves very fine and add to the bowl with the crumbled tofu. Stir in 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, egg yolk, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Mix well and shape the mixture into balls the size of walnuts.

Butter a 13x9 inch casserole dish, and lay all the gnocchi in it, top with 2 tablespoons of sliced butter and another sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Bake the gnocchi for about 20 minutes and then add to the broiler the last 5 minutes to crisp and brown the top of the spinach balls.

Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and add the sage once it starts to foam. Sauté until it starts to brown. Serve tofu gnocchi topped with warm butter sauce.

Serves 4-6

Tofu Tiramisu

Created by Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos, stars of Cooking Channel’s show Extra Virgin

2 cups brewed coffee

1 (14 ounce) package House Foods Organic or Premium Tofu Medium Firm

1 cups sugar plus 3 tablespoons, divided

5 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

14 ounces hard lady fingers

2 tablespoons cocoa

Shaved dark chocolate, for garnish

Add 3 tablespoons sugar into hot coffee and stir until sugar dissolves. Let cool.

Drain and add Tofu Firm to a food processor; blend until completely smooth (about 1 minute).

Add egg yolks and 1-cup sugar in a bowl and whisk until fluffy and light yellow in color. Whisk in the tofu until smooth and well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt with an electric hand mixer until they reach medium stiff peaks. Fold into the tofu mixture.

Dip the ladyfingers into the hot coffee and lay them into a single layer in a 9x13 glass-baking tray. Make sure you don’t completely soak the cookies, as you want to retain some crunch. Spread a layer of the tofu on top, and dust lightly with cocoa powder. Repeat layering with cookies, tofu, and cocoa powder. Garnish the top of the cake with shaved dark chocolate. Cover with plastic wrap and let refrigerate for 3 hours so the flavors can marry.

Serves 8.