feast 2I am really bored! Yes, sometimes even I get bored of cooking. It starts with morning tea. Have you ever wondered that preparing such a simple beverage takes so much time?  It’s such a herculean task that even Hercules would feel elated to bear the weight of earth rather than prepare a cup of tea. First put water in the pot. I am sure 90% of you would do this every morning with your eyes half open, struggling to find the pot and pouring water with full confidence on your assumption that water will not fall on the ground. Then put tea leaves, sugar and ginger. Wait till it gets steamed up, when you hear the hiss sound that it’s about to fall off the vessel your sleepy eyes open to turn off the stove and pour it in the cup.  Now I understand the real reason behind green tea’s popularity is that you just have to boil water and add leaves. My thesis on tea and boredom killed me so much that I decided to quit traditional cooking (for some time).

As the chief justice of my house I passed an immediate amendment that my husband has to become my real partner and assist me in cooking or if required cook the whole platter. I am inspired by the COO of FB, Sheryl Sandberg who has written in her book “Lean-In”  that you should make your partner a real partner.

Half-hearted he entered the kitchen and I followed him as a generous loving and caring wife, to make him feel obliged that even after setting up the rule, I am supporting him and happily forgetting that I am the one who has put him in trouble. We stood in the kitchen for 5 minutes looking into each other’s  eyes.  How Romantic! Really nah!  Soft Melody of love becomes inaudible behind the thundering gurgling of the gastric juices.

We decided to cook a non-traditional platter this time and started running on the Rasta (Road) of Pasta.

My favorite is elbow macaroni. It is said that Marco polo brought macaroni from China to Venice but Italians disagree. By the time this heated argument cools down, I poured water in the vessel and kept it for boiling. All set for cooking a great Italian platter.

Indian Style Macaroni

Macaroni

Get Set ready Time (preparation time) 7 minutes 

On the Stove time (Cooking time) 10 minutes

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  •  2 cups of macaroni.
  • 1 each of yellow, green & red capsicum (bell pepper)
  •  ½ cup green peas
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of black pepper powder
  • 1 chopped onion (small cubes)
  • 1 chopped tomato (small cubes)
  • 1 tsp. Garam masala (can be found at any Indian store)
  • 3 tbsp. tomato ketchup.
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil

Pasta

It’s time to act

  • Wash all the vegetables (Have to give clear instructions as my Man is at work!) and chop them into small cubes.
  • Heat oil in the pan.
  • Add onion and wait till it become translucent.
  • Add tomato and all other vegetables.
  • Add salt according to taste and cover the lid , let the vegetables cook in its own moisture.
  • While vegetables are getting tender, put macaroni in boiled water and check till it becomes tender (around 5 minutes)

fried veggies

  • Once tender, strain it and put it under running water for some time. Let it dry.
  • Add macaroni to the vegetables, add tomato ketchup and garam masala,
  • Check the salt by tasting it (always recommended – even the best chefs can forget/have a bad day at times)

If you are cooking large quantity, it’s always better to divide the vegetables and macaroni into portions, add little more oil and then mix them portion by portion.

 

Ragu Rigatoni

Simplest of all the Pasta dishes, which even “I-hardly-enter-the-kitchen” cooks can also cook.

Ragu Rigatoni

Get Set ready Time (preparation time) 13 minutes

On the Stove time (Cooking time) 10 minutes

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  • 2 cups Pasta sauce (I use Ragu sundried tomato & sweet basil sauce – available in most supermarkets)
  • 1 cup Rigatoni (Tubes about 1½ inches long and ¾ inch in diameter, with ridges)
  • 1 green capsicum (Julienne slices)
  • 1 yellow capsicum (Julienne slices)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Grated processed cheese cubes

Pasta

It’s time to act

  • Put oil in the pan and heat it for 40-45 seconds.
  • Put water in a separate vessel and let it boil, add Rigatoni, boil it for 13 mins
  • Add the green & yellow capsicum slices in hot oil and add Ragu pasta sauce. Cook it for 7-8 mins

Red

  • Once rigatoni is cooked, strain water and put it under running water. Let it dry
  • Add rigatoni into the sauce, mix it well, and garnish it with mint leaves and Cheese

A saucy, simple and sumptuous meal is ready to be served.

 

Pampered Pesto Penne : Special thanks to my Kavita Mami (Aunt)

I call this a pampered recipe as it contains loads of cheese, walnuts, cashews and the works. So you have to really forget about calories if you want to pamper yourselves with this pasta.

Pesto Pasta

Get Set ready Time (preparation time) 15 minutes 

On the Stove time (Cooking time) 10 minutes

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Pesto Sauce

  • 2 bunches of fresh Basil leaves
  • 100 gms Mozzarella cheese
  • 250 gms Home-made cottage cheese ( if you don’t prefer processed cheese)
  • Handful of Cashews (30- 40)
  • Handful Walnut kernel (Inside the hard shell of walnut)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil

Pesto Ingredients

For the Pasta

  • 1 cup Penne
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil for cooking

Penne

It’s time to act

  • Put all the ingredients in the mixer/blender and blend it for 4 mins and make a paste. Say to yourself – “ I am too good and an awesome cook”. Blender time is always my self-admiration time
  • Boil Penne (about 10 minutes), strain and dry it.
  • Heat olive oil in the pan and add the paste cook it for 5 mins! Your Pesto sauce is ready. Add penne and toss well.

Pesto Sauce

Serve hot with a side of garlic bread and some chips and let the festivities begin!