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Showing posts with label easy pasta recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label easy pasta recipe. Show all posts

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Spaghetti with Walnut-Spinach Pesto

Pasta is one among the ultimate comfort foods. Quick and almost effortless when you have one of the sauces stocked in the fridge. And just in case you were wondering what to do in the absence of the aforesaid option, there is always the very frugal 'Aglio E Olio' that one can turn to. For folks who believe in having a little more diversity in their pantry, there is yet another option. The whore's style pasta or pasta alla puttanesca is nothing but some olives, capers, anchovies and garlic thrown together.

One of my favorites among all the pasta recipes happens to be spaghetti tossed with some pesto sauce. And I have a lot of variety when it comes to the pesto. For one I believe in making mine at home and using it up within a week's time if not earlier. Recently, I got my hands on some fresh baby spinach and the first thing that came to my mind was a lovely verdant pesto sauce with some walnuts, garlic and peppercorns.

I decided to keep it vegan and skipped the Parmesan. To add a little texture to the whole thing, I added some roasted and slightly charred aubergine to it. A few shredded baby spinach leaves add the requisite crunch to this pasta. Overall, a simple and yet amazing recipe.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -
  • 150 gm spaghetti
  • 3-4 mm thick aubergine slices 
  • a fistful of baby spinach 
  • 1 tsp olive oil
For the pesto -
  • 1 cup tightly packed baby spinach
  • 8-9 walnuts
  • 3 fat garlic cloves
  • 10-12 peppercorns
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2-3 pinch salt

Preparation - Coarsely grind all the ingredients for the pesto.

Add some salt to the aubergine slices and keep aside for 10-15 mins. Once it leaves the water, transfer to a baking tray .

Cooking - Boil 9-10 cups water in a saucepan. When bubbles begin to appear, add sufficient amount of salt to the water. Once it gets to a rolling boil, add the spaghetti.

Cook for 12 mins or till al-dente. Remove 2-3 tbsp of the water and add it to about 2-3 tsp of the pesto.

Drain the water in a colander, give it a good shake and toss back the spaghetti into the same vessel in which it was cooked.

Drizzle some olive oil on the aubergine slices. Roast at around 180-200 degrees in a pre-heated oven till they are lightly charred ( deep brown color ).

Add the diluted pesto and olive oil to the spaghetti. Toss to uniformly cover the spaghetti strands.

Finally add the roasted aubergine slices and shredded baby spinach. Give it a gentle shake.

Serve warm or cold.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Citrusy Coconut Pasta ( Vegan Pasta Recipe )

IMP - This is an original recipe created by the blogger and has been published for the first time on oriyarasoi.com. 

The twain shall meet ! And how !!

Well, my latest experiment of fusing South Indian flavors with the Italian staple aka pasta only reinforces my faith that cross-cultural marriages are not just stimulating but fraught with numerous possibilities. For example, I have always been a big fan of light summery pasta sauces that just about tickle the taste buds without ever dominating the natural taste of the pasta. And the citrus coconut combination is just that.

Keeping it vegan, I omitted the cream and instead opted for freshly squeezed coconut milk. The slight notes of garlic and curry leaf add subtle character to this sauce while the coconut milk infuses it with sweet overtones. But the best part is the uplifting citrus notes that make it the perfect pasta dish for the oppressive Indian summers.

But given that some people are not too fond of coconut, I have tested this recipe by substituting a spot of cream instead of the fresh coconut milk. And it works just as fine. Just remember to go easy on the cream as we do not want to add up on the calories.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 cup chifferi rigate / penne
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 2 garlic flakes (minced)
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Bring 5 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 pasta from sticking to each other.

Cooking - Heat the oil in a wok. Add the minced garlic and fry till golden. Add the orange juice and lemon juice along with the honey. Cook on low flame till it thickens.

Remove from the flame. Add the coconut milk and stir it in for 1-2 mins.

Throw in the cooked pasta along with the curry leaves and chili flakes. Add about 2-3 tsp of the pasta water as it helps the sauce to stick to the pasta. Put it back on the burner and cook for 1 minute.

Remove and allow to cool down.

Serve at room temperature.

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.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Quick Fix Pasta ( and some womanly gyaan on PMS blues )

Most women would agree with me when I say that we all could do without those crazy PMS symptoms. While a few lucky ones get away with minor mood swings, some of us end up becoming quite crabby and downright depressed. Personally speaking, those hormones make me take up the broom/mop/duster or whatever cleaning aid that I have at hand and go on a cleaning spree. But some of my friends suffer from worse predicament like bloating (damn..do I need to buy another pair of jeans just for those few days?) or they feel the need to keep munching/snacking constantly.

Now, while it is not possible to completely alleviate the symptoms, following a few simple rules makes it manageable. For example -

1. Reduce salt intake and increase the fiber intake - Most fried snacks are high on salt so they need to go off the menu. Also, it is a better idea to replace rice with daliya or pasta which are higher in fiber content.

2. Drink loads of warm water - It flushes out the system and reduces bloating.

3. Include herbs like garlic, ginger and basil in your diet .

4. EVOO works like a magic potion. Do try adding some to your salads and pasta.

5. Citrus fragrance is one great mood lifter plus the juice works as a detox agent. Go leverage both.

6. Exercise or even better, try yoga.

Ok. So, we are done with the gyaan. Lets move on to this simple recipe that actually uses some of the ingredients I have listed above -

Preapartion Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 100 gm Delmonte spaghetti
  • 1 cup broccoli floret
  • 3-4 fat garlic flakes
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 6-7 Italian basil leaves
  • rind of 1 lemon
  • salt 

Preparation - Wash broccoli florets under a tap. Then dunk into warm water for 5 mins. Any remaining insects or larvae will float up to the surface.

Cooking - Take water in a large saucepan. Get it to the bubbling point. Add salt.

Throw in the broccoli florets. Remove after a min and put into cold water.

Add the spaghetti to the same water. Cook till al-dente. Tip the saucepan contents into a colander and give it a gentle shake.

Put a wok on the burner. When it is warm to touch, add EVOO . Also add the chopped garlic and chili flakes. Just when the garlic starts to change color, add broccoli florets and spaghetti.

Toss for 2 mins before adding the grated lemon rind and shredded (by hand) basil.

Remove from burner and serve.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Pasta in Creamy Cauliflower Sauce (Low Calorie Recipe)

If pasta in a creamy white sauce is the stuff that your dreams are made of, then you do not have to skip it while on a weight loss regimen. Substitute the fattening cheese with some cauliflower and low fat milk and you have an equally delicious sauce at hand.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 cup Delmonte elbow pasta
  • 2/3 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 1 tsp Figaro EVOO
  • 2-3 chopped garlic flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • dash of freshly ground pepper
  • salt

Preparation - Boil the cauliflower florets till tender. Strain and transfer to blender. Buzz to a coarse paste and then add the milk. Buzz to a smooth consistency. 

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add chopped garlic and fry till it gives a fragrance. Add the pureed cauliflower, add salt and let it simmer.

Simultaneously, boil water in a large saucepan for the pasta . Once the bubbles start coming, salt it.

Wait for water to come to a rolling boil before you add the paste. This way they wont stick to each other.

Keep checking on your pasta . Once it gets to the al-dente stage (10-12 mins), remove from flame and drain off the pasta water while saving about 1/2 cup of it for thinning the sauce, if required.

Transfer the pasta to the saucepan containing the white sauce. Adjust consistency and cook for 2-3 mins.

Serve with a dash of pepper and parsley.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Pasta Al Pesto ( Vegan version with Curry leaves )

Pasta laden with humongous amount of cheese may not be the right fit for the sweltering hot Indian summers. Hence I had to come up with a relatively easy cheese free pasta recipe that did not require working in front of the stove for long duration.

I picked up the regular pesto recipe, gave it a very indian twist with curry leaves, roasted red chilis , urad dal, asafoetida and canola oil and ended up with this winner. Yeah, this is a taste recipe with a very tangible South Indian flavour.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 cup pasta ( I used a mix of different shapes )
  • handful of curry leaves
  • 2 dry red chili ( I used Byadgi variety that has mild heat)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1 tbsp charoli seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • pinch of asfoetida

Preparation - Boil water in a large saucepan. Once the bubbles start coming, salt it.

Wait for water to come to a rolling boil before you add the paste. This way they wont stick to each other.

While the paste is cooking, heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the red chili, asafoetida and urad dal. Once the dal turns brown, add the charoli nuts and roast for 30 seconds.

Transfer the contents of the skillet into a grinder jar. Add the washed curry leaves, garlic cloves and salt. Buzz into a coarse meal.

Keep checking on your pasta . Once it gets to the al-dente stage, remove from flame and drain off the pasta water while saving about 1/2 cup of it for thinning the sauce.

Take the pasta in a pasta bowl or wide dish, add the pesto, 2-3 tsp of the past water and the lime juice.

Toss everything together.

Serve immediately.

For more such vegan pasta recipes click here, here, here,, here and here

Friday, January 16, 2015

Pasta with Kasundi Sauce (Low-calorie snacking !!)

Pasta and Kasundi ?? Whoever would have thought of such an unlikely pairing !! But let me tell you that it works incredibly well on my Indian taste buds. And even before you ask me why I thought of the combination, let me remind you that I have been looking forward to maintaining a healthier lifestyle from this year. That translates into cutting down of fattening food like cheese. Moreover, it being so cold these days, I wanted something hot and spicy to warm me up.

While I could have gone with a regular Marinara sauce, It felt like too much effort. Moreover, the flavors are heavier as compared to this recipe. Since I already had a bottle of tomato Kasundi (recipe at the bottom of this post) sitting in my fridge, it hardly took any time. The trick is to balance the flavors of the fresh tomatoes and the kasundi so that neither one dominates. And yeah, do not forget the peppers. I used the spicy Guntur variety which I personally prefer as compared to the Jalapenos and Habaneros. We do have a lot of good native varieties of peppers/chillis in India which are just waiting to be discovered. And they turn out to be quite economical as compared to the imported varieties.

Read on for the lip-smacking recipe -

Preparation Time - 15-18 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 1/2 cup pasta (chifferi rigata)
  • 1 large fresh tomato ( chopped into small pieces )
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red chili pepper (Guntur variety)
  • 1 tbsp coriander roots (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp coriander leaves (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp tomato kasundi (adjust as per preference)
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • salt

Cooking - Heat water in a large saucepan. Once it gets to a boil, add enough salt so that it tastes quite salty (almost like sea water). Throw in the pasta and cook on medium to high flame till al-dente (cooked yet firm). Retain 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest.

Dissolve the kasundi in 2 to3 tbsp of pasta water.

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the chopped garlic, red chili and coriander roots. Fry till the garlic turns golden. Add the chopped tomatoes and cover with a lid for 30 seconds. Once the tomatoes get a little soft (but still chunky), add the cooked pasta along with the kasundi. Sprinkle some more pasta water if it gets too dry. Cook for 1-2 mins before removing from flame.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve immediately.

Note - Click here for the recipe of Tomato Kasundi. Adjust the amount of pepper as per preference. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Avocado Pasta ( Vegan recipe )

This is another super simplistic pasta recipes that I stumbled upon while surfing the net. Love cooking pasta on my lazy days as it takes very less effort to put together something so tasty. It is one of those high ROI recipes. If you have a ripe avocado on hand, you will easily find the rest of the stuff that goes with it from your kitchen cabinets.

Read on -

Preparation Time - 10-12 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 cup durum wheat pasta
  • 1/2 of a ripe avocado
  • 3-4 Italian basil leaves (optional)
  • 2-3 garlic flakes
  • 1 1/2 EVOO
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground pepper

Preparation - Scoop out the avocado flesh. Roughly chop up and transfer to a blender. Add the garlic flakes, basil leaves, EVOO and a pinch of salt. Ground into a smooth paste.

Cooking - Boil water in a large saucepan. Add salt once you can see the bubbles coming up.

Throw in the pasta as it gets to a rolling boil. Cook till al-dente.

Drain off the water from the pasta ( but retain about  1/2 a cup for thinning the avocado puree if required ).

Transfer the pasta to a dish. Add the avocado puree and 2-3 tsp pasta water. Sprinkle freshly ground pepper. Toss up and serve immediately.

Tastes best when warm. (Do not re-heat)

Note - One can also add a bit of tang by mixing 1/3 tsp lemon juice/sour cream/hung yogurt with the puree.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Chifferi Rigate in Roasted Pepper sauce (Indian Masala Style)

Last week they celebrated 'Red Day' at my son's kindergarten school. The kids were to be decked up in red and the contents of the tiffin box were to be something red as per the school's circular. Pack something like apples, cherries or strawberries advised their class teacher. However since my kid prefers something more filling than mere fruits, i had to cook something palatable but without using any red food coloring.

Thankfully I had bought red and yellow peppers over the weekend. And they looked quite inviting everytime I opened the fridge prompting me to incorporate them into some more than just a mere salad or a quick stir fried mixed vegetable side. Though I had read a few roasted bell pepper pasta recipes, this was the first time I tried it. I decided to roast a tomato along with the pepper and add it to the Indian masala kind of gravy that I had in mind.

It turned out to be fabulous and my kid wanted more even after finishing his box. I made it again for dinner after two days and even my husband loved it. Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 20 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1 cup chifferi rigate pasta ( )
  • 1 big red bell pepper
  • 1 medium sized tomato
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/3 tsp GG paste
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 pinch cumin powder
  • 1/5 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 pinch garam masala
  • 5 tbsp grated processed cheese (I used Amul)
  • 2 tsp rice bran oil
  • a small cube of butter (optional)
  • salt

Preparation - Roast the pepper and the tomato on a low flame till the outer skin turns black.

Keep aside till it cools down to a bearable temperature. Peel/remove the blackened skin and chop up the flesh.

Roughly chop the onions and keep aside.

Cooking - Bring water to boil in a large saucepan. When the bubbles start to form, add the salt.

Once it gets to a rolling boil, add pasta. Cook till al-dente ( do give a stir 2-3 times in between so that the pasta does not catch at the bottom) on a medium flame. Drain the water ( while preserving 1 cup for the sauce ) and keep aside.

Add 1 tsp oil to a skillet. Add the onions and fry on high for 30 secs. Add the GG paste and reduce the flame. Fry till the onions turn translucent. Add the chili powder, coriander, cumin and garam masala. Fry for 20-30 secs.

Remove the contents of the skillet and transfer to a food processor . Add the roasted pepper and tomato as well. Buzz it to get a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining oil and butter in the same wok. Add the pepper-tomato sauce along with 1/3 cup of the pasta water and fry for 2-3 mins on a medium flame. Add the sugar and the grated cheese. Adjust the salt.

Add the pasta. Cook for another 2-3 mins till the sauce thickens and coats the pasta. ( Add a few teaspoons more of the pasta water if the sauce feels too dry )

Serve hot or cold.

Note - Skip the cheese if you want to keep it vegan.

This is my entry for the event Pasta Please~Peppers hosted by Nayna ( blog ) and Jacqueline ( blog). Do check out their page for more details!!

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.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Kadhai Paneer

Kadhai Paneer is a hit recipe with almost all vegetarians and a few non-vegetarian folks too. The peppers and coriander seeds-cloves spicing is indispensable to this dish. While it is supposed to have a semi dry consistency, some of the restaurants serve it with a rich onion-tomato-cashew gravy. I am no fan of the latter and prefer to stick to its dry form which can also double up as a starter. It is quite easy and does not consume much time. One can make the masala powder in more quantity and store in a airtight container in the fridge. For those who dislike peppers, sliced baby corn and carrots can be used instead.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 20-25 mins

Ingredients -

1 cup soft paneer (cut into triangles)
3/4 cup diced red peppers
3/4 cup diced green peppers
1 big onion + 1 small onion
1 tsp GG paste
1 medium ripe tomato
1 1/2 tbsp kasuri methi
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/5 tsp turmeric
3 tsp rice bran oil
coriander leaves for garnishing

To be powdered -
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
5-6 cloves
2 inch long cinnamon seeds
1 bay leaf

Preparation - Chop the small onion into fine pieces. Dice the big onion into chunks.

Peel and chop the tomato into small pieces.

Cooking - Dry roast all the ingredients listed under 'To be powdered' till they let off a fragrance. Remove from flame and allow to cool down. Transfer to a mixer and ground into a powder.

Heat oil in a wok. Add the finely chopped onion. Fry till translucent. Add the GG paste and fry till the raw smell goes away.

Add the finely chopped tomato along with the chili powder, turmeric and a bit of salt. Cover with a lid for 2 mins. Remove lid and mash up the softened tomato with a spatula. Add the diced onions and peppers. Cover with lid and cook till it softens a bit.

Add the paneer pieces along with the powdered masalas and kasuri methi. Add 1/3 cup hot water and adjust the salt. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from flame and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rice or rotis.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Spaghetti al Limone

I love paste recipes that are simple and light with just the right amount of spice. That is why I was delighted to come across the recipe for pasta al limone, i.e., pasta seasoned with lemon. But when I looked up still more, I could find wide discrepancies in the seasonings used in most recipes with the exception of perhaps olive oil, cheese, lemon and basil ( just one recipe used parsley ). So, I added a bit of my own to it. Cheese, lemon juice and mayonnaise with a hint of basil make for the most mind-blowing combination is what I discovered in process.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients -

  • 150 gm spaghetti
  • 2 garlic flakes (finely chopped)
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 1/5 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp grated cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • juice of one lemon
  • grated rind of one lemon
  • 7-8 fresh Italian basil leaves
  • freshly ground pepper as per taste
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Take the chilli flakes, cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon rind, 1 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk together.

Cooking - Boil 8-9 cups water in a large saucepan. Add salt when it comes to a boil. As it gets to a rolling boil, throw in spaghetti. Cook for 12 mins or till aldente ( stir 2-3 times in between ).

After the spaghetti has cooked for 9-10 mins, heat a wok. Add the olive oil and as it warms up, throw in the garlic pieces. Allow it to just turn light brown. Remove and keep aside.

Drain the spaghetti while retaining about 1/2 cup of liquid. Add some of this liquid to the mixing bowl containing the cheese-mayo mix.

Transfer the spaghetti back into the saucepan. Add the olive oil-garlic and toss a bit. Add the contents of the mixing bowl along with some basil leaves and crushed pepper. Toss well.

Serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spaghetti Al Pesto

Simple and frugal is sometimes the best. And i feel that in case of all the pasta recipes that I have worked on/tasted, this is the thumb rule. I would never have thought of combining basil with ingredients olive oil, garlic and cheddar cheese I had I not stumbled on this recipe. And was quite skeptical to begin with. Another reason why this post got delayed. The primary was that I could not find a good Parmesan and pine nuts to begin with. But a recent recipe that I caught on the cookery show convinced me that I could use a Cheddar-walnut combination to make this recipe. And that the basil can be partly substituted with baby spinach. But I stuck to the basil bit. And haven't regretted it a bit.

Read on for the delightfully easy recipe (while I ponder what to do with the leftover pesto....BTW it is sitting pretty in my fridge covered with a generous layer of EVOO). But for those with a nut allergy, do try out Nigella's Pasta Alla Genovese -

Preparation Time - 15 mins ( Not a min extra...mind it )

Ingredients -

  • 150 gm durum wheat spaghetti
  • 1 cup lightly packed Italian basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lightly toasted walnuts
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic flakes
  • 7-8 peppercorns (freshly crushed/ground)
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Chop the garlic flakes and basil leaves.

Take all the ingredients (except for lemon juice and EVOO) in a blender and buzz till you break it all into small bits. Add the lemon juice and EVOO in a trickle till it is well incorporated. The pesto is now ready.

(Actually the quatity will be good enough for two times with a little bit leftover for a chicken and pesto sandwich. Make sure you add a layer of EVOO over the pesto when storing it in a airtight container in the fridge. )

Cooking - Boil 9-10 cups water in a saucepan. When bubbles begin to appear, add sufficient amount of salt to the water. Once it gets to a rolling boil, add the spaghetti.

Cook for 12 mins or till al-dente. Remove 2-3 tbsp of the water and add it to the pesto.

Drain the water in a colander, give it a good shake and toss back the spaghetti into the same vessel in which it was cooked. Add the diluted pesto and toss to uniformly cover the spaghetti strands.

Serve immediately or even after sometime. Tastes good even when served cold.

Note - It takes about 2 litres of water and 1 tbsp of salt to cook 200 gm of spaghetti in the right way.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Farfalle Aglio et Olio

The simplest pasta recipe ever. And I did not even know that it had a name before I read it on Priya's blog. Usually made by me when I am feeling too lazy or low, this one sure perks me up every time. While I do add some grated cheese to it, have skipped it this time as the original do not call for it. And while the fresh parsley is an integral part of this recipe, I seldom have it (or any other herb for that matter) in store when I cook up this pasta. Have to rely on my sun-dried herbs (Keya brand) most of the time.

Read on for the recipe -

Preparation - 12 mins

Ingredients -

1 cup farfalle paste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3-4 garlic flakes (chopped fine)
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
1/4 tsp dried parsley/mixed herbs/pizza seasoning

Cooking - Boil 6-7 cups of water in a large saucepan. When it starts bubbling, add sufficient salt.

When it gets to a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook for 12 mins.

When the pasta has been cooking for about 8 mins, put another pan/wok on the flame. Add olive oil to the wok and allow it to warm a bit. In the meanwhile, drain the still al-dente pasta and keep aside.

Add the garlic flakes and saute till they give off their smell. Add the farfalle along with the chilli flakes and dried herbs. Saute for 2-3 mins.

Remove from wok and serve hot.


A little bit of cheese adds a lot to this simple recipe. Include it if you wish.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pasta in Mango Sauce

I have come across a lot of people who are totally clueless when it comes to preparing pasta. They believe that pasta needs to be smothered in a whole lot of cheese and sauce. And they somehow end up choosing recipes that are unnecessarily complicated and lengthy.

But the reason I love pasta is its simplicity. For me it is something akin to roti. Quickly rustle up a subzi or get some yogurt and you are good to go. A simple marinara sauce or some mayonnaise-yogurt combo with pasta does it for me.  Hence I am forever on the lookout for such super simple recipes. This time I had some ripe mangoes and red peppers sitting in the fridge and I decided to incorporate them in my pasta. Added some raw mango for that extra zing and I loved the end results. A beautiful dish which was quite something on the tongue. Eureka...I had discovered another summery pasta recipe.

[Did you know ?? - White spaghetti made from Durum wheat  and boiled for 12 minutes has a GI of 34 which ranks it among the low GI foods. But when it is boiled for more time, for example 20 mins , the GI value increases to 58.]

Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 15-18 mins

Ingredients -

1 cup farfalle pasta
1 cup peeled and diced ripe mangoes
1/3 cup thinly sliced red bell peppers
1 tbsp grated raw mangoes ( u can also use paste instead)
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
3-4 finely chopped garlic flakes
2 pinch oregano
1 1/2 tsp Fortune Rice Bran oil
salt to taste

Cooking - Bring 7-8 cups of water to boil in a saucepan. Add enough salt so that the water so that it tastes too salty. Once it gets to a rolling boil, add the pasta. (Depending on the brand it takes 12-15 mins to become al-dente. Do give a stir 2-3 times in between.)

Once the pasta has cooked for 7-8 minutes, heat a wok. Add the oil. Once oil has warmed, add the garlic and allow it to turn a light brown.

Add the chilli flakes and wait for 10-15 seconds before adding the raw mango. Stir for 1-2 minutes and then add the ripe mango cubes/chunks. Cook for a 4-5 minutes till they become mushy.Sprinkle the oregano.

By this time, the pasta would be done. Strain the pasta while retaining a few tablespoons of the water used to cook it.

Add the pasta to the wok along with the red peppers. Give it a shake of two and cook for 1 minute. Add a little of the pasta water if its getting too dry. Remove from the wok.

(The flavor of the ripe mango is reduced while being cooked. Mix in more ripe mango while serving.)

Garnish with a few mango slices and serve immediately. (But it tastes good even when cold)

Note - Using the pasta water in the sauce has a dual purpose. It adds saltiness and the starch content in it acts as a binding agent which ensures that the sauce binds well with the pasta.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spaghetti Alla Marinara

Recent showers have cooled down Bangalore and given a respite from the sweltering afternoons. And it has also given me the chance to indulge in some of my favorite dishes which I had given up as I did not feel like spending time in the kitchen.

Spaghetti Alla Marinara is an Italian style tomato sauce which makes use of tomatoes, onions, garlic and some herbs like oregano, basil and parsley. It is mostly used in combination with seafood and pasta. Literally it means 'Mariner's spaghetti but the original recipe had nothing to do with seafood. It was just a dry preparation which relied heavily on the acidity of the tomatoes to preserve the dish for a few days while the menfolk were at sea. It also uses wine (which is also a preservative) to add some sweetness to the dish. Quite easy but requires about 15-20 mins of cooking to get the sauce right. Choosing the right vessel is also important for this dish. Use a thick bottomed skillet/frying pan instead of a saucepan while cooking the sauce.

One of the simplest paste sauces I have ever come across, this makes me wonder why people believe in drowning their paste by adding so much cheese and cream. Read on for the yummy recipe:

Preparation Time - 25 mins

Ingredients -

  • 100 gm spaghetti
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes (blanched)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (one can use a little ketchup instead)
  • 2 tbsp+1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium sized red onion (chopped into small thin pieces but i left them long)
  • 3-4 garlic flakes (chopped or crushed)
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • a few fresh basil leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar (optional)
  • salt to taste

Preparation - Crush the tomatoes.

Cooking - Heat a skillet or frying pan. Add 1 tbsp olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the garlic. Fry till it turns light brown.

Add the crushed tomatoes along with the dried herbs and chilli flakes. Add salt.

In a separate pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the onions and fry till translucent. Add the fried onions to the skillet/frying pan containing the tomatoes. Cook the sauce on medium heat.

Boil water in a large saucepan. Once the bubbles start showing, add salt generously. As soon as it gets to a rolling boil, add the spaghetti.

Boil for 12-13 minutes till al-dente. Drain excess water. Add 1 tsp of olive oil, toss gently and keep aside.

By this time, the sauce would be ready. Stir in the white wine vinegar. (If you find it too dry add some hot water by the teaspoon. If it is too watery turn up the heat for 2-3 minutes.)

Transfer the pasta to a plate/dish. Put some sauce over it and dig it . (No fancy plating/garnishing required for this recipe. Just plain old good food.)

Note - Normally the tomatoes are peeled and pureed after blanching to get a smooth paste. But as I like the coarse texture of this sauce, I have omitted this step.

One can also add some sauteed prawns/octopus/squid to this recipe if you prefer seafood pasta.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

One of the simplest and most elegant spaghetti recipes that I have come across, it takes time to master. But the payoff is excellent and totally worth it. One can add fried bacon, chicken or even veggies to make it a wholesome meal. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 12-15 mins (Or a long as it takes for the spaghetti to be cooked aldente)

Ingredients - 100 gm spaghetti, 1 egg + 1 egg white, 1/2 cup grated cheese (preferably one that melts easily), 1/4 cup warm milk, 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, 2 garlic flakes, 1 tsp olive oil, salt to taste.

Preparation - Chop the garlic into thin slices.

Whish the egg and egg whites togather. Add the grated cheese to it amd mix well.

Cooking - Boil water in a large saucepan. Once it gets to a boil, add the salt.

Now add spaghetti. Cook till done yet firm. (Do stir a few times in between to prevent the strands from sticking to each other)

Drain into a colander. (Take care to save about 1/2 cup of the spaghetti water)

Heat a frying pan (Do this just 1-2 minutes before you drain the pasta). Add the olive oil and allow to warm. Add garlic slices and fry till light brown (do not burn).

Transfer the pasta back into the still warm saucepan. Add the egg-cheese mixture along with the warm milk and mix vigorously (and I really mean it). This will transform the egg-cheese into a white sauce that will coat each and every strand of spaghetti uniformly. (If you think the spaghetti is too dry, add some of the spaghetti water and mix further)

Add more grated cheese and pepper. Mix well and serve hot.

Note - This spaghetti dish tastes best when hot. And the ideal cheese for it is 'Parmesan' but if you do not find some go for cheddar or even mozarella. If you feeling more indulgent, then add cream instead of milk.

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