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Showing posts with label chifferi rigate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chifferi rigate. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pasta Arrabiata ( For a Lazy Valentine Brunch )

Love is in the air. And so are glorious hues like pinks, tangerine and reds. I have been so bombarded by visuals of desserts and starters in the aforementioned hues that I have almost started hating the stuff I cook these days. As we have turned more health conscious, I hardly ever cook any desserts or fried stuff. So, the only color I get to see is that from fresh fruits and veggies in the salads.

As I went through my severely limited options ( given that I woke up feel somewhat sick ) for lunch today, red was the theme that dominated my thoughts. With my fridge rather overflowing with tomatoes (got them cheap from a 'thela'), I quickly decided to make a Arrabiata which is an all time favorite. Dunking a few tomatoes in hot water, I quickly got the rest of the ingredients on my kitchen table. Apart from the great taste, the greatest thing about this dish is that even an idiot can cook it to perfection.

[Psssst...gals this is a hint for you if you want to pass on the apron to your better half on V-day which falls on a Sunday this year! What a bounty ! Who knows, providence willing, you might even end up with a rather intimate Tomatina festival in your very own kitchen. But just make sure that the maid not taken a day off on Monday ;).]

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 1/2 cup pasta ( I used Chifferi Rigate though Penne is more popular )
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 3 tsp tomato ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar ( I substitute it with honey )
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes ( I used homemade one with lightly roasted Kashmiri chilis for more flavour)
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp dried oregana
  • 1 tsp dried basil (fresh is preferable)
  • 2 pinch red chili powder or paprika ( just for that red hue else optional )
  • salt 

Preparation - Dunk the tomatoes in hot water for a few minutes. Peel them and chop them up.

Cooking - Put the skillet on a flame. Drizzle olive oil. Add the chili flakes and garlic to the cold oil . Let them warm together for a intense flavour.

Next add the chopped tomatoes to the skillet and sprinkle salt on it. Cover with lid and let it turn a little mushy.

Add the puree, ketchup, oregano, sugar and lime juice along with 1/2 cup water. Cook for 15 mins till you get it to the right consistency.

Simultaneously, bring 6-7 cups water to boil in a large saucepan. Once it gets to bubbling, add salt and then when it gets to a rolling boil, throw in the pasta. It will take about 15 mins to cook to an al-dente stage.

Once the paste is done, save a cup of the pasta water and drain the rest using a colander. Give a good shake to the colander to prevent the paste from sticking to each other.

Add the paste to the Arrabiata sauce and sprinkle a few teaspoons of the pasta water over it. Add the basil and toss everything together. Cook for 1 minute.

Remove from flame and serve with a drizzling of cheese (optional).

Note - If using honey, add it along with the basil leaves at the final stages of cooking.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Relishing Springtime with Pasta Primavera Reloaded !!!

1977 - A famous restaurant in New York. And an almost famous chef. A customer, who also happens to be an eminent citizen and loyal patron, walks in a few minutes before the closing time. He wants something light and fresh. The chef is in a fix. He casts a look at the almost empty pantry and sighs. He walks over to a window for some inspiration and is stuck by the colors of the spring .

He rushes back to the work station and looks through the fresh veggies that came in the morning. The emerald tones of the Zucchini and the broccoli, the ruby red of the cherry tomatoes and the yellow of the squash cheer him up. Why not put these beautiful colors on a plate along with some pasta and a light sauce? And voila !! Pasta Primavera was born .

2015 - Lady Multi-tasker is on a break. The man of the house is off to an offsite for the next two days and troublesome five year old has been packed off to spend a fortnight with his grandparents. Yesterday's presentation went off spectacularly and hence she is entitled to a few extra hours of sleep.

But she is up by 7 am. After her daily dose of detox, aka a glass of warm water with honey and lemon juice, she is ready for some power yoga. She had been skipping this ritual for almost a week and hence her limbs protested as she twisted herself into a particularly difficult posture.

After accomplishing the yoga and spending sometime on reading a few pages of 'Go Set a Watchman', she saunters into the kitchen. The domestic help has been given a holiday as Lady wants to do the cooking and cleaning herself. It is a part of her "De-stressing" ritual as she puts it. The fridge is not exactly stocked. She then takes a look at the cupboard and her favorite Delmonte pasta arrests her attention. She cannot help but smile as her thoughts travel back in time. In those first few blissful months after her marriage they would not wake up before 11 am on the weekends and then they would take turns to cook some pasta for brunch. She drew in a deep breath to shoo away the cobweb of nostalgia that had begun to engulf her. It had been a long time since she had stepped into the kitchen except for when she had needed some caffeine while working late.

Picking up the right pasta was a tough choice. Spaghetti happened to be her favorite as she was a sucker for simple sauces. And she instinctively reached for it. But instead on a whim, she picked up the unopened packet of Chifferi Rigati sitting next to it. The grooves would do a better job of holding the sauces. Thank God Del Monte has a pasta for every sauce and every occasion.

Something light yet delicious and with loads of fiber (read veggies). Her requirement was rather vague but as she stepped out into the tiny vegetable garden, the broccoli heads caught her attention. Her husband was addicted to organic farming and while she would have berated him another day, today she was plainly grateful. There was some parsley growing along the sides and a few bunches of cherry tomatoes hung from the overhead pots. And there was the zucchini that had been inching towards an edible size. Plucking a few of the tomatoes, a head of broccoli, a zucchini and a few curls of the parsley, she returned to the kitchen.

There was some red pepper sitting in the fridge and she decided to throw it in along with the fresh veggies.

As she put a saucepan on the stove to reduce some Balsamic vinegar, another larger pot was filled with lots of water and put to a boil. Keeping an eye on the vinegar, she chopped up the veggies. The water was coming to a boil.The broccoli was thrown in, scooped up a minute later and rinsed under cold water to retain their verdant glory. By then the reduction was also ready.

After throwing in a handful of salt, the pasta was also dropped into the same pot. After 5 mins, a wok was put on the other burner. A generous amount of a good quality EVOO was her weakness. The chopped garlic was thrown in into the cold oil itself to extract maximum flavor. The veggies meekly followed suit.

She scooped up a bit of the pasta and popped it into her mouth. Umm. It was cooked perfectly. Al-dente. With just the right amount of bite left to it. Saving some of the pasta water, she promptly drained the pot into a colander. Giving it a quick shake, she tossed the pasta over the veggies and sprinkled some of the pasta water into the wok to infuse the pasta with the vegetable juices. A quick stir was followed by the balsamic reduction, a wee bit of Demerara sugar, salt and the zucchini strips. Finishing it off with some chillis flakes, freshly ground pepper and dried oregano to add that extra zing, she tossed the pasta onto a plate. Garnishing it with some chopped parsley and pouring out a glass of chilled wine to go with it, she sauntered onto the terrace to enjoy the labor of her love aka 'Pasta Primavera Reloaded'.

Pasta Primavera Reloaded

Preparation Time - 20 mins
Serves - 1

Ingredients -
  • 100 gms Chifferi Rigati
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper (cut into 1 1/2" long strips)
  • 7-8 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 small zucchini (peeled and cut into thin strips)
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/3 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp EVOO 
  • salt (about 1 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp Demerara sugar 
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar ( to be reduced to about 3-4 tsp)
  • parsley for the garnishing

Preparation -

Preparing the Balsamic Vinegar reduction - Take 1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar in a thick bottomed saucepan. Let it simmer on low heat. Keep stirring constantly till it thickens and just about 3-4 tsp of the liquid remains. Remove from heat and keep aside.

Cooking the Pasta -  Take about 5 liters of water in a saucepan. Wait till the bubbles begin to rise. Then add quite a bit of salt so that the water tastes almost like sea-water. Once the water gets to a rolling boil, throw in the pasta.

Give it a stir every 3 mins to prevent from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook the pasta till it is al-dente.

Scoop up a cup of the pasta water and keep it aside for later use. Transfer the pasta to a colander and give it a shake.

Blanching the Broccoli - Immerse the Broccoli florets in boiling water for a minute or two. Strain and wash under/put into cold water for another 2 mins.

Getting it all togather -  Put a wok on the burner. Pour the olive oil into it and throw in the chopped garlic. Once the garlic turns fragrant, add the blanched broccoli and stir fry for 2 mins before adding the other veggies.

After a minute, add the pasta and 2-3 tsp of pasta water. Stir fry for 2 mins or till the water disappears. Then add the reduction, Demerara sugar, a pinch of salt and zucchini strips. Up the heat for a few seconds while giving the pasta and the veggies a quick shake.

Season with freshly ground pepper, chilli flakes, dried oregano (rub it between fingers before adding) and switch off the flame.

Finally garnish with some chopped parsley and serve hot !!

A quick pictorial recap is shown below -

Trivia - Did you know that zucchini flowers are perfectly edible ?? Next time you have some on hand, do not hesitate to throw them into your pasta.

A special thanks to Del Monte India .

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chifferi Rigate in two-tomato sauce

[Pasta facts - Did you know that Durum wheat has a yellow endosperm, which is what gives pasta its distinctive color ?? Also, Durum is a high protein but low gluten variety of wheat which makes it a healthier option as compared to other wheat variants.]

As the name suggest this is an easy sauce which has the smoky flavour of roasted tomato and the juicy tang of the fresh one. With some garlic and basil thrown in for adding more flavour, one can choose to omit the heat ( but i prefer chili flakes too along with the usual freshly ground pepper in mine).

Read on for the easy recipe -

Preparation Time - 12-15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 2/3 cup chifferi rigate pasta
  • 2 medium sized ripe tomatoes
  • 3-4 garlic flakes
  • 5-6 Italian basil leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • a dash of freshly ground pepper
  • salt for the pasta water

Cooking - Boil 6-7 cups water in a large saucepan. Once it gets to bubble, add enough salt. As you put the pasta water to boil, start roasting one of the tomatoes on a low flame. It should be done by the time your pasta is ready.

Add the pasta next and cook it till al-dente. (that is it should be cooked yet firm)

Drain the pasta while reserving 1 cup of the pasta water for adding to the sauce.

Skin the roasted tomato, dice and add to a food processor jar. Dice the fresh one and drop into the same jar. Add olive oil, chili flakes, basil leaves and a few teaspoons of the pasta water. Buzz for a second or two so that you get a numbly/coarse sauce.

Toss the pasta along with the tomato sauce adding a little more pasta water if required.

Dig in.

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