Mayo Pasta Salad

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A bowl of scrumptious salad, freshly prepared chilled juice and a bite sized healthy desserts is what I usually crave for during the days when the temperature is soaring. Vibrant, fresh and delicious is what salad means to me and this Mayo Pasta Salad is my definition of a boring salad made exciting. I am sure by now you must be knowing how much I love my food and that I can’t eat the same thing day in and day out. Given this, I cannot thrive on leafy salads all the time and this salad fits in beautifully in my meal plans.

I throw in all the bits of veggies kept in the fridge, play around with a few dressing ideas and tada! my salad in ready. Creamy, crunchy, spicy and sweet – all packed in a single bowl of this mayo pasta salad that you ought to fall in love with this!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 4 people)

  • 1 3/4 cup uncooked fusilli pasta
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
  • 3/4 cup peppers, diced
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise (I used store bought mayonnaise)
  • 6 tbsp yogurt/ hung curd (I used Epigamia Artisinal yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha Sauce (I used Bhut Sriracha Sauce)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

METHOD:

  • Put a pot of water along with a tsp of salt on stove and bring it to a rolling boil. Once done put the uncooked pasta and let it cook until al dente.
  • Once it is cooked, drain it and run the pasta under tap water and keep aside.
  • In a bowl whisk together yogurt, sriracha sauce, mayonnaise, salt and pepper until its smooth.
  • Take a bowl add all the ingredients – peppers, broccoli, pasta, parsley, cilantro and mix it gently.
  • Add the dressing and toss it until all the ingredients are well coated.
  • Garnish with berries and serve!

Roasted Pepper and Tomato Pasta Soup

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The soup season is officially here and I am completely smitten by it. Warm jackets, hoodies, cozy blankets and everything to keep me warm is finally out and shining bright in my wardrobe. All I need is delicious comforting food to kick start my winter in the best way possible. And what better than this Roasted Pepper and Tomato Pasta Soup. Snuggled up in my blanket, this soul warming delicious soup is the perfect way to spend my winter evenings.

I remember as a child that right from the onset of winters, mum made tomato – carrot soup to lush green spinach soup or probably lemon coriander soup. This was followed by a creamy and cheesy casserole and then the usual Indian dinner. I admit I am lazy and can’t cook a myraid of things at once. Not a superwoman like my mum however hard I try. This soup is an inspiration from what she makes during winters – Soup + Pasta = Deliciousness!

The reddish hue comes from the beautifully roasted plump tomatoes, red peppers and fresh red chilis. The Indian and Italian herbs lends bags of flavor to this dish. Fresh herbs to finish it off and everything comes together beautifully with pasta. So grab your pots and pans now because this recipe is a must try.

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 -4  people)

  • 10 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large red pepper, cut into big cubes
  • 1 red chilis (they look like jalepenos, optional)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 piece clove
  • 2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp chili flakes (you can made more for spice)
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • fresh basil leaves, to garnish

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METHOD:

  • Preheat your oven to 200 C for atleast 15 minutes and slightly grease your baking tray with melted butter or oil and keep aside.
  • Meanwhile take a big bowl with the mentioned quantity of olive oil, dried oregano, dried parsley, salt and black pepper and mix it using a spoon.
  • Now add quartered tomatoes, 4 pieces of garlic cloves, bell pepper chunks and red chili to the olive oil mix and massage the veggies generously until coated with oil.
  • Transfer it to the baking tray and bake it for 30 minutes at 200 C.
  • Once done remove it from the oven and let it cool down.
  • Meanwhile take a pot of water, add salt and bring it to boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, add pasta and cook it according to instructions given in the packet.
  • Once pasta is cooked, wash it under cold water and keep it aside.
  • Now take a saucepan and add butter. Once hot add bay leaf, chili flakes and clove and saute for 30 – 40 seconds. Now remove the clove and add chopped garlic and cook it for 30 – 40 seconds on medium heat.
  • Add onion and cook it until is translucent. Add the fresh basil leaves and cook it for 30 – 40 seconds.
  • Now add the pan of roasted veggies and herbs to the saucepan and sauté for 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Add vegetable stock and let the mixture come to a boil.
  • Take it off the heat, remove bay leaf and using a stick blender, blend it to a fine pureé.
  • Add it back to the saucepan on medium flame and adjust for seasoning and let it be hot.
  • To serve, divide the pasta equally into serving bowls, put the soup on top of it, garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve hot!

 

Summer Pasta Salad

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Lets talk salad! A summer pasta salad is indeed a bowl of comforting stuff to beat the heat wave. The fresh and flavorful kick of the salad makes it a quintessential summer dream meal! Beautifully cooked pasta, some fresh summer veggies and a bold dressing and you are good to go!

As soon as I enter the grocery store next to my house, I am awe struck with the freshness of the produce and ideas keep striking at lightening speed. This summer salad is a celebration of the clean and simple ingredients. The cherry tomatoes provides burst of freshness to the salad, the roasted peppers adds the extra oomph to it. The creamy dressing is jam packed with flavor and brings together the entire dish.

Yes, the salad is yummy and you can get on your own adventure ride by tossing in different veggies because its all abut what delights you!

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 1 – 2 people)

For the salad:

  • 160 grams boiled pasta ( I used Farfelle)
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper
  • 12 pieces cherry tomatoes, cut lengthwise
  • 3/4 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds, for garnishing

For the dressing:

  • 3 tbsp mayonnaise ( I used store bought mayonnaise)
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp white vingear
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • salt, to taste
  • crushed black pepper, to taste

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METHOD:

For the salad:

  • Brush the yellow pepper with vegetable oil generously. Place it on a gas stove on medium flame.
  • Keep rotating the sides every 30 – 40 seconds so that it chars evenly.
  • Once charred, place the pepper in cold water, remove the skin, de-seed it and cut it lengthwise into strips.
  • Meanwhile place the broccoli florets in a pot of boiling water with salt for 2 minutes.
  • Once done run it under ice cold water and keep aside.

For the dressing:

  • Take mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, honey and vinegar in a bowl and combine it using a wire whisk.
  • Transfer it into an air tight container. Add extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic in the container. Close the lid and shake it hard until all the ingredients are well combined.

To assemble:

  • Take all the veggies and herbs in a bowl. Drizzle it with the salad dressing.
  • Toss the entire salad using the salad spoon so that each pasta is well coated.
  • Garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve.

Enjoy!

Coriander Pesto Pasta

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Its been only a few months since I moved to Bangalore and besides the weather, I am in love with the food options you get here.  Every nook and corner has something delightful for your palate. Not to forget the food festivals – its a celebration of culture, local artists, music and above all local and gourmet food.  Recently the city hosted an international food festival which no foodie in the town missed.

This food extravaganza was even more exciting since the judges from the infamous show Masterchef Australia were there to give an insight to their style of cooking  and their  dishes. The whole venue was buzzing with people with excitement to witness this gastronomical journey. During these two days, I happen to attend the Masterclass taught my Matt Preston. The flair with which he cooks (and also dresses up) makes me fall in love with him. How local and simple produce can be turned into something so fine and sumptuous, its definitely a skill to imbibe from him. Taking inspiration from one of the recipes he had taught during the class, this dish is a version of that.

I never thought of using coriander in my pesto. Now that I have made it, I know its a winner. The freshness and the aroma from the leaves is beautiful. So the next time you don’t have basil in your pantry or if you want to use local produce, don’t hesitate, this coriander pesto is the way to go. Use it in your pasta, bruschetta or even pizza base, it is delicious. So when your day is hectic and you need a good and quick meal to pep you up, just toss some coriander pesto with your pasta – its yummy!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

For the coriander pesto:

  • 1 1/2 cup of coriander leaves with stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of basil (optional)
  • 20 pieces of cashew nuts
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of ginger (optional)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste

For the pasta:

  • 2 1/2 cups of boiled pasta (it should be al dente)
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • few fresh basil leaves, torn roughly
  • salt, to taste
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • grated parmesan, for garnishing

METHOD:

  • In a blender add coriander leaves with stalk, basil leaves, cashew nuts, garlic, ginger and half the olive oil and blend it together.
  • Once its blended add lime juice, parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper and the remaining olive oil and blend it again to form a smooth paste.
  • Keep the coriander pesto paste aside.
  • In a saucepan heat the oil and add whole garlic cloves. Let it sauté for 3 – 4 minutes on low heat. This allows the sweet garlic flavor to be infused in the whole dish. You can let whole cloves be a part of the dish or remove it from the oil.
  • Next add the chili flakes in the oil and sauté for a 20 – 25 seconds on medium heat.
  • Add the coriander pesto and cook for 30 – 40 seconds. Then add in the boiled pasta and toss it gently until the pasta it well covered with the pesto.
  • Add in the salt, black pepper, torn basil leaves, lemon zest and lemon juice and gently toss it.
  • Transfer it to the serving bowl, garnish it with basil leaves and parmesan and serve hot.

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Enjoy!

Pea Pasta

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When opposites attract, life is indeed fun. The age old saying of “opposites attract” is completely true in my case, especially when it comes to what kind of food my husband and I enjoy. I am not a big fan of peas, infact never charmed by it. And on the other hand its my husband who simply loves these little green pearls. Toss peas in some nice tomato or cashew gravy, make flatbreads with peas or make a pea soup, he enjoys it. To tell you, when I am tired or not having a great day in the kitchen, peas has often been my savior.

A few days ago my husband wanted to have pea pasta. I was quite skeptical about it and tried to convince him to change his mind. That didn’t work so I thought I should try making it before giving up. To my surprise, the pasta was loaded with bags full of flavor. It was visually quite appetizing. The vibrant green hues from the peas and the fresh herbs made the pasta quite flavorful and added a beautiful texture to it.

If you are having busy weeknights or have guests coming over in a short notice, make this comforting dish. It is nutritious and quite satisfying. Simple ingredients, simple recipe combines together to make a delicious meal!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS: (For 2 people)

  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas (If you enjoy peas you can use 1 cup of fresh or frozen peas), boiled around 90%
  • 400 gms of pasta (You can use spaghetti, farfalle or fusilli)
  • 4 – 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chilli flakes
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped (optional)
  • 20 gms of fresh basil
  • 10 gms of fresh flat parsley (optional)
  • 3 tbsp fresh cream
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 1 big lemon
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly grounded black pepper, to taste
  • parmesan cheese, for garnishing
  • toasted pine nuts, for garnishing (optional)

METHOD:

  • Firstly boil the pasta in a pot with some water until its al dente. Once its cooked, drain the water and wash it with cold water to avoid the pasta from cooking further.
  • Drizzle some olive oil over the pasta to avoid it from sticking to each other.
  • In a pan, heat some olive oil and add chilli flakes and sauté for a couple of minutes.
  • Now add the chopped garlic sauté for 2 – 3 minutes.
  • Add the shallots and cook it until it translucent. Now add the peas and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add in salt and black pepper along with the pasta. Toss it well.
  • Now we need to add fresh cream and give it a good toss. Next put in the lemon zest and lemon juice and mix well.
  • Lastly add the fresh basil and parsley leaves and toss it nicely.
  • Serve hot garnished with parmesan cheese, pine nuts, basil and parsley leaves.

Fresh Pasta

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The art of making fresh home made pasta look intimidating, however if prepared with patience, attention and love, the outcome is simply amazing.

Kneading, resting, rolling and cooking – looks like you have a mammoth task ahead of you, however once you have got the science behind it you are definitely in for some treat. The recipe is simple and demand only a few basic ingredients easily available in your pantry. Every person I came across provided me with different ingredient measurement and kneading techniques, forcing me to think that making pasta is almost an unachievable skill. But I think you can crack the code by tinkering with the timings and flavors until you get the texture you desire.

I was introduced to the pasta making technique by my sister in law after which I try to make home made pasta whenever I wish to cook Italian food. Once you try this recipe, you will feel the difference between fresh and dry pasta. You can iterate with different ingredients and feel completely satisfied with the outcome.

So clear your kitchen top and get the dough rolling in your pasta machine!

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RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (optional)

METHOD:

  • Mix flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Take the flour in a bowl or on the table top. Make a well in the center and add EVOO.
  • Crack the eggs into the well and using your fingertips mix the eggs with the flour until fully incorporated.
  • Knead the dough gently using the palms of your hand. Begin folding the dough in itself first and then flattening and folding again.
  • Incorporate more flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the counter top.  Squash the dough on the kitchen top, reshaping it, stretching it and repeat the process until the dough is smooth
  • Cover the dough with a cling film and rest it in the refrigerator for atleast 30 – 40 minutes before using it.

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To roll out the dough, make sure you have enough flour within your reach for dusting. Dust the table top, flatten the dough with your fingers and pass it through the widest setting in your pasta machine. Repeat it a couple of times. Then fold the dough again in the form of a letter. Dust it and pass it through the machine 4 – 5 times to strengthen the gluten in the pasta. Now pass the dough through the machine a couple of times each from the widest to the narrowest setting. Finally you can get different types of pasta (example: fettuccine, spaghetti or sheets for ravioli, etc) depending on what you want.

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Cook the pasta quickly to avoid it from drying. Boil some water in a saucepan and add salt. Put the pasta into the water and allow it to cook for 3 – 4 minutes until al – dente. Strain the water and toss up the cooked pasta with your favorite veggies and sauce. (It’s worth trying fresh pasta with homemade pesto sauce).

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You can freeze or store the homemade pasta which will require a couple of extra minutes of cooking.