Archive for the ‘Italian’ Category

Orecchiette with Basil Pesto & Petite Peas   1 comment

Orecchiette is one of the most popular shapes of pasta from Southern Italy, especially the Puglia region. Traditionally paired with Greens (di rapa) or Peas, it tastes delicious with a combination of Basil Pesto & Sundried Tomatoes.

One of the tastiest sauces I have made in a long time, one of the fun things about this is how adding walnuts at the time of sauteing adds so much crush & fragrant flavour!

Serves 2

-:Ingredients:-

225-250 gm Al Dentè Orecchiette Pasta (Farfalle or Conchiglie work as well)
1 tsp Olive Oil
2 tsp (heaped) Basil Pesto Sauce
1 Tbsp crushed Walnut (or substitute with Pine Nuts)
½ tsp Dried Basil
½ tsp Chilli Flakes
¼ tsp Black Pepper powder
¼ tsp Paprika
1 tsp Tomato Ketchup
1 Tbsp grated Cheddar
Parmesan for garnishing
Salt to taste
—————————–
2-3 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 Tbsp chopped Sundried Tomatoes
1 cup frozen (or boiled) Petite Peas

-: Recipe :-

  1. Boil the Pasta in lots of salted water till it is Al Dentè, drain but retain 1 Tbsp of the salted water.
  2. Around 3-4 minutes before pasta is done, in a nonstick pan, add Olive Oil and saute Garlic & 3/4th crushed Walnut for a minute or so.
  3. Add Chilli Flakes, Dried Basil & Petite Peas and saute for a couple of minutes. Take the mixture off the heat.
  4. Add Paprika, Pepper powder and Sundried Tomatoes. Mix well and stir in the Basil Pesto sauce along with the retained 1 Tbsp salted water.
  5. Mix the pasta with sauce & Tomato Ketchup. Add in salt to taste.
  6. Top the dish with grated Cheddar and garnish with some Parmesan & leftover Walnuts. Enjoy the Ultimate Experience 🙂

Orecchiette with Basil Pesto & Petite Peas

Posted August 8, 2015 by Rahul in Italian

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Scrambled Egg Ziti in Tomato-Mint Sauce   3 comments

A Ziti Pasta creation with a simple tomato sauce, yet with a tangy twist. The flavours of mint, sage & basil combine wonderfully with Mushrooms & Tomatoes to create this delicious offering garnished with hearty parmesan and some sweetly sour raw mango. Scrambled Eggs in an adapted avatar give a chunky base to the pasta which is of course pleasingly delicious!

-:Ingredients:-
150-200 gm Al Dentè Ziti (Fusilli may also substitute)
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Tbsp Butter
2 tsp Tomato Ketchup
1 tsp Cheddar cheese (grated)
1 tsp Parmesan cheese (crumbled)
1 tsp Dried Basil
½ tsp Dried Oregano
½ tsp Dried Parsley
½ tsp Dried Sage
1 Tbsp chopped Fresh Mint (and a sprig for garnishing)
½ tsp Italian Seasoning
¾ tsp Pepper
½ tsp Paprika (Chilli Flakes)
¾ tsp Chilli Powder
¼ tsp Soya Sauce
¼ tsp Sugar
Salt to taste
—————————–
2-3 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 Egg
4-5 medium Tomatoes (peeled, quartered & roughly pureed)
5-6 medium Button Mushrooms (coarsley sliced)
1 tsp grated Raw Mango (for garnishing)

-: Recipe :-

  1. In a bowl whisk an egg with soya sauce, ¼ tsp each pepper & chilli power, parsley and salt to taste.
  2. In a nonstick pan, add Olive Oil and scramble the eggs in medium chunks till they become lightly golden brown. Keep aside in a bowl.
  3. In the same nonstick pan, add butter and saute Mushrooms, Sage & Garlic till lightly cooked. Add Mint & Basil and mix well with the mushrooms for a minute.
  4. Meanwhile, boil the Ziti Pasta till it is Al Dentè, drain water, toss with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Paprika, ¼ tsp Pepper & Salt to Taste, and keep it aside till sauce is ready.
  5. In the pan, add the roughly pureed fresh tomatoes and ketchup. Keep the flame on high and stir till a boil comes. Turn the flame on medium and add Oregano, Salt, ¼ tsp Pepper, Sugar and ½ tsp Chilli Powder in the sauce and stir well.
  6. Cover the pan with a lid and keep the sauce on simmer for around 5 minutes until it thickens; Stir in Cheddar Cheese & Scrambeled Eggs and let them mix well in the sauce for a couple of minutes.
  7. Mix the Pasta in the Sauce and take it off flame in a serving bowl. Garnish with a crumble of raw mango, parmesan and italian seasoning.
  8. Drop a sprig of fresh mint for flourish and Enjoy the Ultimate Experience 🙂

-: Tips :-

  • Always saute mushrooms in butter as it lets it retain its natural flavour and enhance it. Olive oil or other oils might destroy the distinctive woody/foresty flavour of mushrooms.
  • To easily peel off tomatoes and boil them quickly, first heat water to boiling levels. Take tomatoes and slit them in a cross hair fashion for about 1-2 cms from the bottom and add to the boiling water. Take out after about 12-15 secs and wash with cold water. Peel off, quarter & puree accordingly.
-: Pictures :-
P1070069

Posted July 5, 2013 by Rahul in Italian, Recipes

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Linguine Babycorn Arrabiata   2 comments

Pasta dishes are one of the most amenable to bring around a riot of colors. This one being no exception, is an adaptation of the very popular Arrabiata Sauce with a core of babycorns. The layers of creamy Linguine and fiery red arrabiata topped with golden babycorns look extremely delicious! I have used Linguine in this recipe which is a much thinner form of Fettuccine and looks like flattish Spaghetti. This gives it a much more navigable base to the chunky sauce than Spaghetti which seems to be much more suited for pure sauce based dishes like marinara or napolitana.

-:Ingredients:-
200-250 gm Al Dentè Linguine (Spaghetti may also substitute)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Tomato Ketchup
2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
2 tsp Cheddar cheese (grated)
1 tsp Parmesan cheese (crumbled)
2 tsp freshly chopped Basil (or 1 tsp Dried Basil)
1 tsp freshly chopped Marjoram (Marua leaves; or ½ tsp Dried Oregano)
1 tsp freshly chopped Parsley (or ½ tsp Dried Parsley)
½ tsp Italian Seasoning
¾ tsp Pepper
½ tsp Paprika (Chilli Flakes)
½ tsp Chilli Powder
¼ tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Soya Sauce
¼ tsp Sugar
Salt to taste
1 sprig Coriander (for garnishing)
—————————–
1 medium Onion (coarsely chopped)
2-3 cloves Garlic (minced)
½ medium Green Capsicum (finely chopped)
8-10 small Tomatoes (peeled, quartered & roughly pureed)
3-4 Green Olives (thinly sliced or chopped) (Optional)
7-10 medium Babycorns (2 sliced in halves for garnishing, others sliced in 1 cm thick rounds)

-: Recipe :-

  1. In a nonstick pan, add ½ Tbsp Olive Oil and roast the sliced babycorns (including those to be used for garnishing) till they become lightly golden brown. Keep aside in a bowl.
  2. In the same nonstick pan, add remaining 1 Tbsp Olive Oil and saute Garlic & Onion. Add Basil and saute till onions get translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, boil the Linguine till it is Al Dentè, drain water, toss with ½ Tbsp Olive Oil, Paprika, ¼ tsp Pepper & Salt to Taste, and keep it aside till sauce is ready.
  4. In the pan, add tomato puree, stir for a minute and add the roughly pureed fresh tomatoes. Keep the flame on high and keep stirring for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add Capsicum, Olives, Babycorns, Tomato Ketchup, Soya Sauce, Oregano, Parsley, Salt, ½ tsp Pepper, Sugar, Chilli Powder and Garam Masala in the sauce and stir well. Keep the sauce on simmer until it thickens, stir in Cheddar Cheese and then take it off flame.
  6. Arrange the Linguine in a serving bowl and pour the sauce over it while keeping the layers separate.
  7. Garnish the sauce with the 2 lengthwise sliced & roasted Babycorns and sprinkle Italian Seasoning and Parmesan.
  8. Grill in an oven at 180°C for 2 minutes, drop a sprig of fresh coriander for flourish and Enjoy the Ultimate Experience 🙂

-: Tips :-

  • To easily peel off tomatoes and boil them quickly, first heat water to boiling levels. Take tomatoes and slit them in a cross hair fashion for about 1-2 cms from the bottom and add to the boiling water. Take out after about 12-15 secs and wash with cold water. Peel off, quarter & puree accordingly.
-: Pictures :-
Linguine Babycorn Arrabiata

Posted June 14, 2013 by Rahul in Italian, Recipes

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Creamy Paalak Tomatina   1 comment

Creamy Spinach Sauces from the town of Florence are always a delicious and delightful combo. Having typically used florentine with fusilli and other short shapes to enjoy mixed gravy pastas, I wanted to create something different for Spaghetti. Inspired from the lovely texture of Methi Chaman (an Indian Kashmiri recipe) I came up with this new Tomatina sauce with crunches of tomatoes, olives & capsicum. Topped on Spaghetti, it was really an amazing heavenly experience accentuated by the aromatic and flavourful Pecorino & Parmesan cheeses I sourced on my recent trip to Scotland from Valvona-Crolla in Edinburgh.

-:Ingredients:-
200-250 gm Al Dentè Spaghetti (Linguine or Fettuccine may also substitute)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Tomato Ketchup
¼ tsp Tabasco Sauce
1 tsp fresh Lemon Juice
2 tsp Pecorino Romano cheese (crumbled)
2 tsp Parmesan cheese (crumbled)
2 Tbsp fresh Cream
2 tsp freshly chopped Basil (or 1 tsp Dried Basil)
1 tsp freshly chopped Marjoram (Marua leaves; or ½ tsp Dried Oregano)
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
½ tsp Pepper
½ tsp Paprika (Chilli Flakes)
¼ tsp Chilli Powder
Salt to taste
—————————–
1 Tbsp Sweet American Corn
1 small Onion (coarsely chopped)
1-2 cloves Garlic (minced)
¼ medium Green Capsicum (finely chopped)
1 medium Tomato (finely chopped)
3-4 Green Olives (thinly sliced or chopped) (Optional)
1 tsp Capers (Optional)
100 gm Spring Onions (greens & whites chopped separately)
250 gm Spinach Leaves

-: Recipe :-

  1. Wash Spinach Leaves, squeeze water from spinach, remove stalks and chop the leaves coarsely. Boil the leaves in hot salted water till they wilt sufficiently.
  2. In a blender, puree 200 gm of the wilted spinach leaves along with the lemon juice, fresh cream, Pecorino Romano and half of Parmesan cheese.
  3. Meanwhile boil the Spaghetti to just before Al Dentè (with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp oil), add frozen Sweet Corn and keep in the hot stock water, till sauce is ready.
  4. In a nonstick pan, add olive oil and saute Garlic & Onion till translucent. Add spring onion whites, basil and remaining chopped spinach leaves (squeezed out of water) and stir fry for a minute.
  5. Add chopped tomato and capsicum and continue stir frying for a couple of minutes.
  6. Pour in the spinach puree in the pan, mix well and bring to boil. Turn to simmer and stir regularly.
  7. Add Tomato Ketchup, Tabasco Sauce, Oregano, Salt, Pepper, Chilli Powder, Paprika, Spring Onion greens, Olives and Capers in the sauce and stir well. Keep the sauce on simmer until it thickens and then take it out.
  8. Take the spaghetti & corn out of the water, drain and arrange in a serving dish. Sprinkle the spaghetti with Italian Seasoning and pour the sauce over it.
  9. Garnish with remaining Parmesan and Enjoy the Ultimate Experience 🙂

-: Tips :-

  • The tomato should be cold to get a solid bite after stir frying, otherwise it might mash out and lose the texture of the sauce.
  • Do not substitute the cheeses (for puree) with any soft or processed variety as it will melt and make the sauce gooey. You can use any other hard cheese if you prefer some different flavours.
  • As the spaghetti is to be kept in the hot salted water until sauce is ready to serve, make sure to take it out of heat sometime before it gets Al Dentè to prevent overcooking the pasta.
-: Pictures :-
Creamy Paalak Tomatina

Posted November 3, 2012 by Rahul in Italian, Recipes

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Almond Biscotti & Hot Coffee Ice Cream   2 comments

Biscotti are delicious twice baked crunchy Italian biscuits which I sourced from Karachi Bakery in Hyderbad, famous for it delectable biscuits and confectioneries. Looking to make a dessert for a party without any means of baking, brought me to this idea of using Almond Biscotti with Vanilla Ice Cream (which I had read somewhere that it will be a good combination). A new touch to this cold summer dessert was pairing up with aromatic Colarado Hot Coffee. Sounds weird but the eventual soft creamy taste of Ice Cream with crunchy biscuits and warm coffee was a surprising delight!

:Ingredients:-

4 sticks Almond Biscotti
½ Cup Water
1 tsp Strong Instant Coffee
1 tsp Sugar
2 big scoops frozen Vanilla Ice Cream

-: Recipe :-

  1. Boil water and add coffee and sugar. Let it cool at room temperature for 2 minutes.
  2. In two thick short glasses add large scoops of Vanilla Ice Cream.
  3. Break Almond Biscotti in pieces and arrange on top of the Ice Cream.
  4. Top it with Hot Coffee and serve immidiately to Enjoy the Ultimate Experience 🙂

Almond Biscotti & Hot Coffee Ice Cream

Posted June 18, 2012 by Rahul in Italian, Recipes

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Crispy Tomato Bruschetta   3 comments

One of the most famous antipasti from Italian Cuisine comes in the form of Bruschetta. Traditionally thickly sliced bread loaves are roasted, rubbed with Garlic, smeared with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and topped with any interesting combination of ingredients typically Tomato & Basil. Incidently, apart from being a scrumptious appetizer, it also serves as an amazing comfort food, which I found for myself when I had nothing else to make for breakfast when I was sick and it gave me a soul satisfying delight!

This is my very own recipe for Bruschetta which I have developed after much tweaks to the traditional one and it typically manages to overshadow most of the other main course dishes you can accompany it with. This is undoubtedly a party favorite and a must try for a hearty experience!!

-:Ingredients:-

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ tsp Tomato Ketchup
1 tsp Dried Basil
½ tsp Red Wine Vinegar
½ tsp Italian Seasoning
¼ tsp Pepper
¼ tsp Red Chilli Powder
Pinch of Sugar
Salt to taste
1 loaf Garlic Bread
Pizza Sauce Spread
—————————–
3-4 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
2 medium Tomatoes (finely chopped)

-: Recipe :-

  1. In a bowl, add tomatoes, garlic & extra virgin olive oil and mix well.
  2. Add ketchup, basil, vinegar, italian seasoning, red chilli powder, sugar, salt & pepper and mix all the ingrediants thouroughly.
  3. Keep the mixture at Room Temperature for 15 minutes for flavours to seep in.
  4. Meanwhile cut the garlic bread loaf in 1 inch thick slices and spread Pizza Sauce on them.
  5. Top the bread slices with the savoury tomato mixture and keep on high metal rack for grilling.
  6. Use combination mode on microwave oven with low microwave power and grill for 3-4 minutes, checking when done and crisp.
  7. Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Enjoy the Ultimate Experience 🙂

-: Tips :-

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil should not be substituted with any other oil as that is the primary ingrediant of Bruschetta

Crispy Tomato Bruschetta

Crispy Tomato Bruschetta

Posted June 17, 2012 by Rahul in Italian, Recipes

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Crispy Savory Polenta with Tomato Wine Sauce   1 comment

Polenta is one of the most famous staple dishes of northern Italian cuisine. It is essentially coarsely or finely ground yellow or white cornmeal (ground maize) cooked by boiling to a paste in stock water. It is usually eaten as is in its mush form (like porridge) but can be innovated with grilling, baking or frying to make interesting and super tasty dishes topped with tangy sauces like the one in this dish.

I had been thinking about making polenta for quite some time now and finally got myself to work on it today. It is kind of a physical exercise when you make the dish and whisking & stirring the thick mush for minutes is sure to give you toned muscles in arms 🙂 But afterall the effort is well paid and not only does this look highly appetizing and beautiful but is extremely tasty as well. It is also good enough for a party main-course, which I tried with few colleagues whom I invited for dinner served with some Chenin Blanc and it sure did receive some good reviews!

-:Ingredients:-

3 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 cup Vegetable Stock/Broth
1 cup Milk
½ cup White Wine (Chenin Blanc)
1 cup coarsly ground cornmeal (Maize Rawa)
¼ cup grated Cheddar Cheese (or Parmesan/Blue Cheese)
1 tsp freshly chopped Basil (or ½ tsp Dried Basil)
1 tsp freshly chopped Marjoram (Marua leaves; or ½ tsp Dried Oregano)
1 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
½ tsp Pepper
½ tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Tomato Ketchup
3 tsp Butter
Salt to taste
Olive Oil for frying
—————————–
4-5 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 medium Onion (finely chopped)
2 large Tomatos (finely chopped)
¼ medium Capsicum (finely chopped)
4 pitted Green Olives (thinly sliced)

-: Recipe :-

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp Olive Oil in a non-stick pan. Saute Onion till it gets translucent for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add half of minced garlic and after few seconds add Capcisum and saute for another minute. Stir in the Italian Seasoning and mix it well.
  3. Slowly pour in the Vegetable Stock and Milk and bring to boil while whisking regularly.
  4. Gradually add the cornmeal while continuously whisking. Continue stirring for about 15 minutes until the polenta gets thick (add ½ cup water in between if it gets very thick).
  5. Add ¼ tsp each Pepper & Chilli Powder and stir in the grated cheese. Add salt according to taste and mix well.
  6. Pour the polenta mixture in a buttered deep dish and keep it in refrigerator for around 2 hours until it gets cooled and set.
  7. Meanwhile in another non-stick pan, add 1 Tbsp Olive Oil and saute the remaining Garlic for few seconds.
  8. Add Basil, Marjoram and Tomato and cook for 2-3 minutes till water seperates out. Add Green Olives and mix well.
  9. Slowly whisk in the wine & butter and let it heat while stirring regularly till the sauce gets reduced and thick (Add ½ cup water in between when the sauce gets too thick).
  10. Add salt, sugar, ¼ tsp each of pepper & chilli powder and tomato ketchup and mix well.
  11. Keep the sauce aside and when the polenta is cooled, take it out of the refrigerator.
  12. Cut the polenta cake into triangular pieces and fry on both sides till golden and crispy.
  13. Arrange the crispy polenta pieces on a platter and pour the heated tomato wine sauce over the top.
  14. Top it with some Parmesan filings and Enjoy the Ultimate Experience 🙂

-: Tips :-

  • To easily peel off tomatoes and boil them quickly, first heat water to boiling levels. Take tomatoes and slit them in a cross hair fashion for about 1-2 cms from the bottom and add to the boiling water. Take out after about 12-15 secs and wash with cold water. Peel off and chop it accordingly.
  • Substitute Salt with Rock Salt for a more zangy taste as well as a healthier alternative.
  • Enjoy the dish with the remaining White Wine. Chenin Blanc is a good choice for the same as it is semi-dry with a fruity flavour which suits the dish well.
  • The Polenta can also be brushed with olive oil and grilled appropriately if someone does not prefer to fry the same.

-: Pictures :-

Crispy Savory PolentaCrispy Savory Polenta with Tomato Wine Sauce

Posted April 30, 2012 by Rahul in Italian, Recipes

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