Archive for the ‘Tips’ Tag

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.

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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Aglio Olio Peperoncino   4 comments

Aglio Olio e Peperoncino is one of the very famous traditional Italian Pasta dishes. Made with just Garlic (Aglio), Olive Oil (Olio) and Red Chillies (Peperoncino), this sauce is mostly served with Spaghetti. One of the unique things about this sauce is that the entire base is Extra Virgin Olive Oil itself which provides it a very delicate flavor and a subtle taste. It is very different from the more popular Red/White/Rose sauces and strangely one of the very few which does not ask for a sprinkle of cheese, but it is a delight to savor!
I have taken the traditional recipe and tweaked it around to make it much more flavorful and suitable to the Indian palate. It’s one of the lightest, simplest and quickest recipes to whip up almost any time the hunger pang shoots up 🙂


250-300 gm Spaghetti (can try substituting with Linguine)
6 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp freshly chopped Basil (or ½ tsp Dried Basil)
1 tsp dried Italian Seasoning
1 Tbsp freshly chopped Parsley (or fresh Coriander)
1 tsp Tomato Ketchup
½ tsp Paprika (Chilli Flakes)
½ tsp Pepper
Salt to taste
4-5 cloves Garlic (thinly sliced)
½ Green Chilli (finely chopped)
1 dried Red Chilli (shredded and crushed; can add more according to preference)
1 small Onion (coarsely chopped)
¼ Capcisum (coarsley chopped)

-: Recipe :-

  1. Boil the Spaghetti to Al Dentè and keep ¼ cup of the salted stock water.
  2. In a nonstick pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. Saute Garlic & dried Red Chillies, after few seconds add Onion & Green Chillies and saute till translucent.
  3. Add Capcisum, Basil and ½ Tbsp fresh Parsley and saute on medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add Spaghetti and toss it in the oil for a minute till the sauce coats it thoroughly.
  5. Add a dash of the stock water in between for preventing dryness and steaming.
  6. Add Salt to taste with Paprika, Pepper and remaining Parsley. Add a dash of tomato ketchup and toss it well
  7. Sprinkle Italian Seasoning on top and Enjoy the Ultimate Experience 🙂

-: Tips :-

  • Substitute Salt with Rock Salt for a more zangy taste as well as a healthier alternative. Also, it should be kept in very small quantity as much is really required as the recipe is traditionally salt free and depends on the more delicate flavours of garlic and extra virgin olive oil!
  • Do not add tomato ketchup more than a dash as it will overpower the delicate taste of Aglio Olio and will not give the desired flavourful experience.
-: Pictures :-
Aglio Olio Peperoncino

Posted January 14, 2012 by Rahul in Italian, Recipes

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Hungarian Veg Goulash   6 comments

Goulash is one of the most famous Hungarian dishes and a staple one at that. Traditionally made with Beef Chunks and Beef Stock, I have tried to substitute it with Potatoes, Soya Chunks & Veg Stock to suit the Indian palate and values and enable us to enjoy its delicate flavors with similar textures! The aroma comes out to be dominantly continental with Italian and French touches on fringes. Unlike the omnipresent Indian Alu ki Sabzi, this delicious stew is to be had with Crusty European breads to enjoy it as they do in Hungary 🙂

½ Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
4 Tbsp Fresh Set Curd
600ml Vegetable Stock
½ tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Dried Oregano
2 tsp Dried Parsley (or 4 tsp Fresh Coriander, finely chopped)
2 tsp Paprika (Chilli Flakes)
½ tsp Pepper
1 tsp Sugar
Salt to taste
1-2 cloves Garlic (minced)
1 medium Onion (finely chopped)
7-8 medium Tomatos (peeled and pureed)
1 small Capsicum (cut in half and thinly sliced)
100 gms Mushrooms (quartered along with stem)
500 gms Potatos (peeled and coarsely chopped)
300 gms Soya Chunks (Soaked in water for couple of minutes, drained and squeezed)

-: Recipe :-

  1. Clean mushrooms thouroughly and soak when sliced in normal water for 2-3 minutes
  2. In a nonstick pan add olive oil. Saute garlic and dried basil. After  few seconds, add onion and saute till translucent. Add capcisum and saute for a minute.
  3. Add the mushrooms and fry while stirring till they start to color.
  4. Sprinkle Paprika over the mushrooms and fry briefly.
  5. Add Vegetable Stock and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, soya chunks and pureed tomatoes.
  6. Add salt, pepper, sugar, oregano and tomato ketchup and give a good stir.
  7. Cover and Simmer for 20-25 minutes with occasional stirring, till the gravy thickens and potatoes are tender. Check seasonings and keep for a few minutes to let the steam off.
  8. While serving, top with a swirl of fresh curd and garnish with parsely (coriander)
  9. Serve with Crusty Breads and Enjoy the Ultimate Experience 🙂

-: Tips :-

  • Substitute some Salt with Rock Salt for a more zangy taste as well as a healthier alternative.
  • Vegetable Stock is recommended as base to give a proper thick consistency and deeper flavour, otherwise plain water can also be used with extra salt.
  • A small quantity of Red Wine can also be added while adding Stock to give a nice Reddish Brown colour and a distinguished texture.
  • 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 or puree it accordingly.
-: Pictures :-
Hungarian Veg Goulash
Hungarian Veg Goulash

Posted November 7, 2011 by Rahul in Continental, Recipes

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Amori con Melanzane   3 comments

It’s been a long time since I had prepared a red sauce pasta so tried my hand at creating something new today. This dish literally means Amori pasta with Eggplant! Amori is a spiral tubular pasta which is a very delightful shape and adapts to many usual sauces. I have from past few days gone very fond of Cheddar and seem to have a love lost for Parmesan for the time being which can be seen in this recipe too. All in all, it came out beautifully and the combination of eggplant in classic tomato sauce was wonderful!

200-250 gm Al Dentè Amori Pasta (Fusilli, Penne or Rigatoni would also do)
¼ cup grated Cheddar Cheese (or Parmesan Cheese)
2 tsp freshly chopped Basil (or 1 tsp Dried Basil)
1 tsp freshly chopped Marjoram (Marua leaves; or ½ tsp Dried Oregano)
2 tsp Tomato Ketchup
4 Tbsp Tomato Puree
½ tsp Paprika (Chilli Flakes)
½ tsp Pepper
1 tsp Sugar
1 cup Water
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Olive Oil for frying
3-4 cloves Garlic (minced)
4 medium Tomatoes
1 medium Onion (coarsely chopped)
½ medium Capsicum (finely chopped)
1 large long brinjal (eggplant; cut into 7-8 mm thick round slices)
-: Recipe :-

  1. Smear some salt on both sides of eggplant slices and keep them for 20-30 mins.
  2. When the eggplant slices leave off some water, pat them dry with a paper napkin.
  3. Heat Olive Oil in a frying pan, deep fry the slices till they turn medium brown on both sides and remove them on some paper to absorb the oil.
  4. Put up the Pasta to boil till Al Dentè.
  5. Meanwhile boil the tomatoes, peel them and chop them coarsely.
  6. In a nonstick pan heat olive oil. Add Garlic and Basil and saute for a few seconds.
  7. Add Onion and stir fry till translucent. Add Tomato Puree and keep stirring.
  8. Add Marjoram (or Oregano), Capsicum and Tomatoes and stir for a minute.
  9. Add the water, salt, pepper, sugar and paprika and let it cook for around 10-15 minutes till the sauce reduces and thickens, while stirring it regularly.
  10. Add the cheddar cheese and tomato ketchup to the sauce, stir and bring it off the heat.
  11. Mix the Pasta with almost 3/4th of the sauce and place in the serving bowl.
  12. Slowly and carefully coat the fried eggplant slices with the remaining sauce and place it over the pasta in the bowl.
  13. Top it with some Cheddar or Parmesan and Enjoy the Ultimate Experience 🙂

-: Tips :-

  • After taking the Al Dentè  pasta out of the colander, add some tadka in it to make it fresh and zesty. Tadka can be made by heating butter and adding few pinches of chilli powder, salt and pepper and frying that in the heated butter for a few seconds before adding that to the pasta.
  • 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.
-: Pictures :-
Amori con Melanzene
Amori con Melanzene

Posted August 22, 2011 by Rahul in Italian, Recipes

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