Sometimes, you resign yourself to eating certain things only outside of home. It never turns out right when you try to make it at home, even though it is a quick-fix dish for a lot of others. It is so not your dish to make. Veggie pasta was one such dish for me. I could never make it well enough at home. I had to resign myself to eating the cream- and cheese-loaded versions at restaurants.
Did you notice the past tense? All of the above changed for me, yesterday. Yesterday’s night was a rainy, stormy one, and I was desperate for something hot and yummy and different from the usual, for dinner. The husband has been away on work in Delhi, sending me one picture after another of the gorgeous foods that he has been hogging there, while I haven’t been eating anything exciting lately. An e-mail from him yesterday – containing pictures of noodles and soups and momos and what not – was the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back. The sambar and rice left over from lunch just didn’t appeal to me then. I remembered the packet of pasta I had bought some time back at the grocery store, and which was lying in my kitchen unused. I decided to make use of it last night, to get imaginative with the recipe, to cook it the way I *thought* it should be cooked rather than to look it up on the internet or elsewhere. The stars aligned just the right way and the pasta turned out just perfect. Needless to say, a picture of it was sent to the husband immediately, with a big smirk. 🙂
Ingredients (To serve 2):
2 big cups of pasta
Salt to taste
Oregano to taste
Chilli powder to taste
1 medium-sized onion
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 large capsicum
4 large tomatoes
A few pitted black olives in brine
Sugar to taste
2 tablespoons oil
Tomato ketchup, to taste
Red pepper sauce, to taste
1 cube Amul cheese
1. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Usually, this involves taking the pasta in a deep-bottomed pan, adding enough water to cover the pasta as well as salt, and cooking on a high flame till the pasta is al dente i.e. cooked but not overly so. At this stage, remove the pan from heat and pour the pasta into a colander. Drain off all the water, then run cold water over the pasta. Let the pasta remain in the colander for a while.
2. Chop the olives finely. Chop the onions length-wise. Chop the capsicum into large pieces. Keep aside.
3. Chop the tomatoes and peel the garlic cloves. Grind these into a puree.
4. Take the tomato-garlic puree in a deep-bottomed pan. Add salt, sugar and chilli powder to taste. Be careful while adding the sugar and chilli powder, because the recipe calls for tomato ketchup and red pepper sauce too, which are sweet and hot respectively. Let the puree cook on a medium flame for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. By this time, the puree will start to thicken. When it reaches the consistency of a sauce – not too thick and not too thin – take off heat. Keep aside.
5. Heat the oil in a deep-bottomed pan. Add the onions and capsicum and cook for a while. Ensure that the vegetables are cooked, but not overly soft.
6. Add the cooked pasta, the tomato sauce that you prepared earlier, and olives at this stage. Add oregano, tomato ketchup, and red pepper sauce to taste. Mix well.
7. Check for seasonings and adjust. Let everything cook together for about 5 minutes, on a low flame, stirring gently occasionally.
8. Serve hot, garnished with finely grated Amul cheese.
How do you make pasta at home?