One yellow onion
2 or 3 cloves garlic
any cooking wine (optional, I used a white cooking sherry)
1/4 lb dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 lb fresh crimini mushrooms
1 large-ish carrot
1/2 lb macaroni, fusilli, or other small pasta
1 lb firm or extra firm tofu (pressed ahead of time if you want)
instant "beef" broth, and/or bragg's/tamari/soy sauce
Preheat the onion to 350F. Slice the tofu into about eight rectangles. Lightly oil a baking dish, place the tofu in it, and splash with bragg's (or whatever else you're using instead). Get both sides of each slice. Bake for twenty minutes or so, flipping over about halfway through (tongs are handy for this).
Meanwhile, put the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl, and cover with boiling water. Allow to sit while you do other stuff:
Slice the yellow onion in half and then into thin half-moons, and saute with a few splashes of canola oil at a fairly low temperature in a sizeable saucepan. Slice the crimini mushrooms and add to the pan. Smash the garlic with the side of big knife, mince fine, and add those too. Bump the temperature up just a little and saute until the crimini mushrooms get juicy. The temperature should be low enough that you don't have to stir very often.
I like to de-stem shiitakes, but it's up to you, because it can be a pain in the ass when they're reconstituted dried mushrooms. Whether or not you de-stem them, slice or chop them fairly finely, and keep the water you soaked them in.
Before you add the shiitakes, turn up the temperature a little, then splash the pan with a little of the wine. Whee! You're deglazing! (Yes, I've read Veganomicon cover to cover by now.) Stir it a bunch until most of the wine is evaporated, then add the shiitakes plus their soaking water. Cover and turn it down to a low simmer.
Start boiling a big'ol pot of salted water, and grate that carrot you almost forgot about. When the water starts to boil, add the pasta to the water and add the carrot to the mushrooms. When the pasta is done, drain it.
In whichever pot is bigger, mix the noodles and everything in the mushroom pan. Add water until it's where you want it (you may want a thin soup, or maybe you're in a stew mood) and put the heat on medium-ish. Add the powdered "beef" broth and/or bragg's a little bit at a time, stirring thoroughly and tasting after each addition, until it's as salty as you want. Heat just until it starts to simmer.
To serve: Ladle the soup into a bowl or soup plate. Add a slice or two of baked tofu. Voila!!