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Showing posts with label pasta without cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pasta without cheese. Show all posts

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.

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.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Slut's Spaghetti ( aka Spaghetti alla puttenesca aka whore's pasta )

Slut's spaghetti. Now that's not a new term coined by celebrity chef Nigella Lawson. Not that anybody is complaining. Anything for revenge, especially if the person concerned is the current flame of your-ex. And I love her perfect timing, with Valentine's day just around the corner. (Kudos to the paparazzi for picking up a scent as would befit a Police sniffer. The lady in question being none other than Trinny from the 'What not to wear India' on TLC, who I think has definitely got her basics wrong when it comes to Indian dressing.)

The recipe has been around for quite sometime ( since the 60's if I am not wrong ) and one can find quite a versions in cyberspace. One such story goes that the recipe is attributed to the Italian whores who with their uber busy lifestyles did never get around to the markets to buy some fresh produce. Instead they relied heavily on the canned stuff like anchovies, tomatoes, capers and olives. Hence the tangy and predominantly salty flavors.

Quite an effortless dish, it is no connoisseur's delight. Best served for brunch with your gang of girls or even as a lazy dinner for one.

Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients - 200 gms spaghetti, 12-14 cherry tomatoes, 1 large tomato, 2 garlic flakes, 1/3 tsp chilli flakes, 1/3 tsp peppercorn, 1 tsp olive oil, 1-2 small green mango (pickled in brine), 2 tsp fish sauce, 1 tsp dried parsley.

Preparation - Chop the tomatoes into small pieces.

Similarly chop up the green mango into very small bits. (Larger bits can be quite overwhelming if one bites into them)

Cooking - Bring water to boil in a large saucepan. Add sufficient amount of salt till the water tastes very salty. Add the spaghetti and give it a stir or two in between. Cook till aldente. (Takes 13-14 mins for the Borges brand of spaghetti). Drain off the water while saving 1/3 cup for the sauce.

Start on the sauce once you drop the noodles into the boiling water. Add the olive oil to a wok. Once warm, add chilli flakes and chopped/crushed garlic. Fry for 30 seconds.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they soften slightly. Add fish sauce, crushed peppercorn, chopped green mango and dried parsley. Allow the sauce to reduce a bit.

Drop in the strained spaghetti. Add a bit of the water in which it was cooked. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes till it soaks up all the flavors. (Add some more water if you feel it to be too dry)

Serve hot.

Note - The original recipe calls for capers and pitted/Kalamata olives. But I believe in using locally sourced ingredients and I find pickled green mango (or ones preserved in brine ) to be a good substitute.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hariyali Pasta ( Pasta with green sauce )

Preparation time - 15-20 mins

Ingredients - 1 cup paste, 1 cup chopped spinach ( palak, use only the tender leaves with stems chopped off ), 1 medium sized onion, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, 1 green chilli, 2-3 garlic flakes, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/3 tsp chilli powder, 1/5 tsp garam masala (optional), 2-3 tsp tomato ketchup, 1 tsp oil, 1 small cube of butter, inch of turmeric, salt to taste.

Preparation: Bring water to boil in a pan. Add spinach to it for 3 mins. Drain off and fill with cold water.
Drain and squeeze out excess water from spinach. Also known as blanching, this step retains the green color of spinach.
Chop the onions into small pieces. Slit the garlic flakes along their length into thin slices.

For pasta - Heat sufficient water in a pan. When the bubbles start to come, add pasta and salt. Boil till the pasta is cooked yet firm. Drain all the water in a colander and give it a shake to prevent pasta from sticking to each other.

For the sauce - Heat oil in a wok. Add cumin seeds and allow to splutter. Add chopped onions and saute them for 2 mins. Put in the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell is gone ( 2-3 mins ). Add the chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala and blanched spinach. Cook for 3 mins.
Allow to cool down. Transfer to a grinder along with a green chilli and 3-4 tbs of water/vegetable stock. Make a smooth paste.

Heat the butter in a wok so that it just melts. Throw in the garlic slices and stir them so that they give off their smell. Toss in the pasta and saute for 1-2 mins. Add the sauce along with the ketchup. Allow the sauce to coat all the pasta.

Garnish with chilli flakes or crumbled ricotta cheese if desired.Serve hot .

Note: Cook the pasta a few degrees softer when preparing for kids. Also reduce the chilli content and cut up the cooked pasta into bite size portions. Sending this to

Guru's Cooking Giveaway Kids Special 2013

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