Pasta alla Norma (Pasta with Eggplant, Basil & Tomato sauce)

Participation to ‘A to Z recipe challenge’ provokes to think about recipes which are off-beat, not exactly run-of-the-mill and thus interesting. This time around, the challenge is to prepare a dish with key ingredient starting with the letter ‘E’. Eggplant comes naturally to mind which I thought to use in Pasta. And the pasta has to be ‘Pasta alla Norma’, a typical Sicilian cuisine, coming from southernmost part of Italy. The original recipe is prescribed to be made with macaroni, tomatoes, ricotta salata cheese, fresh basil leaves along with fried egg plants. I could find neither ricotta not fresh basil easily and replaced them with the dried basil and local cheese, without much ado. And I have used ‘penne’ as well. The result is yummy creamy Pasta all Norma with the Italian job accomplished.

Pasta alla Norma

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Farfalle with Cream & Parmesan

Green peas are largely used in Indian cuisine. During winter, I have a tendency to add fresh peas in many vegetarian dishes, whenever it is available. I absolutely love the peas puri, peas pulao and those made with it. However there is a funny connection to this prelude with this recipe. When I came across this recipe for the first time, I found there was the strange ingredient called, Petits pois. I was taken aback to find using my translator that this is nothing but the small peas. My assumption of green peas only in the Indian cuisine is in shambles now, and now I know that they are used in pastas too !!! Long live green peas 🙂

Farfalle with Cream & Parmesan

Farfalle with Cream & Parmesan

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Penne with pepper & goat’s cheese sauce

Recently I had a visit to a cheese making factory here in Netherlands. There a pretty lady, wearing a beautiful traditional dress of Dutch cheese makers, demonstrated how to make cheese right from the very basics, which I liked immensely. Again I enjoyed a lot tasting diverse varieties of cheeses which was an added attraction. I knew little bit about cheeses made from cow milk before; however what seemed interesting to me was the ‘goat’s cheese’. It was a much softer and easy to melt in your mouth, although seemed a bit stronger in taste too. I packed some of it back home and since looked to utilise in a proper recipe. While scrolling down the pages of my small pasta book, I hit upon the simplest one of the lot and had a great dinner with cheesy pasta.

Penne with pepper & goat's cheese sauce

Penne with pepper & goat’s cheese sauce

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Penne in a creamy mushroom sauce

Experiment with pasta at dinner is still going on. Few days back I prepared this pasta and discovered mushroom to be a great ingredient to make a delicious pasta sauce. Both me and my husband, who is not a big fan of mushrooms, liked the dish very much. I highly recommend this recipe to both my vegetarian and non-vegetarian friends.

Penne in a creamy mushroom sauce

Penne in a creamy mushroom sauce

Ingredients to serve 2 :

  1. Butter – 25 gm.
  2. Olive oil – ½ tbspoon
  3. Shallots (sliced) – 3
  4. Chestnut mushrooms (sliced) – 225 gm.
  5. Salt and pepper
  6. Plain flour – ½ teaspoon
  7. Double cream – 75 ml.
  8. Dry wine – 1 tbspoon
  9. Sun-dried tomato in oil (drined and chopped) -60 gm.
  10. Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  11. Dried penne – 175 gm.
  12. Chopped fresh parsley – 1 tbspoon

Procedure :

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan.

Add the shallots and cook over low heat, stirring occasionaly, for 4-5 minutes, or until softened.

Add the mushrooms and cook over low heat for a further 2 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the cream and dry wine.

Return to the heat, add the sun-dried tomatoes and grated nutmeg and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large, heavy-based saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil.

Add the pasta, return to the boil and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until tender but still firm to the bite.

Drain the pasta well and add to the mushroom sauce.

Cook for 3 minutes, then transfer to a warmed serving dis.

Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.

 

 

Spaghetti with Tomato, Garlic & Basil sauce

After a long time we had dinner with my favourite Italian food, pasta. Since I am very fond of Italian food, I couldn’t resist myself from buying a handy book on pasta as soon as I saw it in the book store. Today’s recipe belongs to this book. It requires few ingredients and is easy to make. Hope you will like it and try at your own kitchen.

Spaghetti with tomato, garlic & basil sauce

Spaghetti with tomato, garlic & basil sauce

Ingredients to serve 2 :

  1. Extra-virgin olive oil – 2½ tbspoon
  2. Finely chopped onion – 1
  3. Canned chopped tomatoes – 400 gm.
  4. Garlic cloves, cut into quarters – 2
  5. Salt and crushed black pepper
  6. Dried spaghetti – 225 gm.
  7. Handful fresh basil leaves, shredded
  8. Parmesan cheese to serve

Procedure :

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes and garlic. Bring to the boil, then simmer over medium – low heat for 25 – 30 minutes until the oil separates from the tomato. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain and transfer to a serving dish.

Pour the sauce over the pasta. Add the basil and toss well to mix. Serve with Parmesan cheese.