Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Warmth in a Dish

Recipe: Pasta with Crunchy veggies, mushroom and sausages in white sauce.

It was a cloudy and wintry Saturday morning. The cold wind blowing through the windows sent shivers across the house. I was all set to make a fiery red fish curry with a generous drizzle of coconut milk to beat this cold weather hoping that the heat of the red chilli powder, the tang of the malabar tamarind and the creamy comfort of coconut milk would knock us out of our hibernation-like existence. The fish was thawing on my kitchen counter and I was getting all the ingredients ready for the curry... I broke open the last of my  stock of coconuts and to my dismay it was rotten inside....




By then it was drizzling outside and the air felt even colder. My son started narrating incidences from his school and about how many of his friends brought pasta to school for their snack. "Amma, can you make some pasta today? You've never made it for me till now", he said.




So that's when I stashed the fish back inside the freezer and went to the shop nearby to get some pasta and other ingredients..




I've never been a big fan of pasta and hence never bothered to make any at home. The only kind of pasta dish that I like are those that are like a treasure-hunt - filled with crunchy veggies and have flavorful morsels of meat or other surprises.




I used fusilli pasta for this dish. But I'm sure even macaroni or any other kind of pasta will do. Any veggie or meat can be added to this dish. Vegetarians can leave out the meat in this recipe and use the vegetable stock instead of chicken stock for the pasta sauce.




PASTA WITH CRUNCHY VEGGIES, MUSHROOM AND SAUSAGES IN WHITE SAUCE 
(makes 1 serve)


Cooked Pasta - 1 cup
Cook the pasta  as per the instructions on the packet. Make sure to add 1 Tbsp of oil and salt to the water to ensure that the pasta does not stick or over-cook


Olive oil - 2 Tbsp
White Pasta Sauce - 1/2 cup (as per personal preference) - See below for recipe
Mushrooms - a handful (sliced)
Bell-peppers / Capsicum - 3-4 slices
Onion - 2-3 slices
Garlic - 3 cloves (crushed)
Sausages - 1 (cooked and sliced)
Spring onions - sliced - a handful
Tomato - 2-3 slices
Dried Red Chilli - 1-2 (crushed)
Salt - if needed

Heat the olive oil in a pan or skillet.

When it is very hot, add the onions, spring onions, crushed garlic, spring onions, bell-pepper slices, mushroom slices, cooked sausages and stir continuously.

Once the mushrooms are just cooked (takes about a minute), make a well in the center and add a the crushed red chillis and let it roast till the raw smell goes away.

Add the tomatoes. Do not over cook the veggies and make sure their crunch is not gone.

Add the cooked pasta and the sauce and mix well. Check the salt.

As soon as it bubbles and begins boiling, switch off fire and serve piping hot.

I would suggest not to make a whole lot of pasta in one go. Better to make small amounts like 1-2 serves at a time. And then repeat the process till all are served :)



Pasta Sauce 
(Adapted from here)

Milk - 1 cup
All-purpose Flour - 4 Tbsp
Butter - 4 Tbsp
Nutmeg - 1/4 tsp
Pepper - to taste
Salt - to taste
Chicken Stock - 1 cup
Mozzarella chesse (grated) - 2 Tbsp (optional)

Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan

Put in the Flour and cook for 4-5 minutes stirring constantly till the raw smell has gone

While stirring constantly, add 1 cup of milk

Let it cook till the mixture thickens. Then add the chicken stock and mix well.

Add the grated cheese (if using) and mix well till combined.

Add the nutmeg, salt, pepper.

The sauce should be of a pour-able consistency. If the sauce is too thick, then add some more stock or even hot water.

Verdict: We enjoyed digging into this juicy pasta dish and loved the crunchy bits of veggie as well as the juicy bites of meat and mushroom. It's definitely in my menu especially for cold wintry weekends.

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