Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Penne Marinara With Fresh Goat Cheese

Penne in Tomato-Basil Sauce with Goat Cheese

Penne pasta tossed in tomato-basil sauce and garnished with red chilli flavored goat cheese - this classic pasta recipe is easy to prepare and deeply satisfying on a basic, no-nonsense way. Good food to have on a rainy day like today.

I am under the impression that goat cheese is the purest cheese available in the market right now. I am hoping that I won’t find any information that would shatter my belief and prove how naive I am. Again and again, from sugar to table salt to enriched flour, everything I thought decent were proved otherwise here in US. More and more, the ingredient shopping here is becoming like a sightseeing trip to Las Vegas. (I see gondola ride, is this Venice? Nope, it’s not.) Which is genuine and which is maya (fake) - one has to dig deep to discern the difference.

For now, I am going to enjoy goat cheese - my all time favorite cheese.

Goat cheese with red chilli flakes and Penne
Goat cheese with red chilli flakes and Penne Pasta

Recipe:

Penne (a type of pasta) - 2 cups
Tomato-basil sauce (marinara) - Homemade or storebought - 3 cups
Goat cheese - ½ cup
Fresh garbanzo beans - ½ cup
Red onion and red bell pepper, 1 each - thinly sliced lengthwise
Red chilli powder, salt and turmeric - ½ tsp each or to taste.

Cook pasta to tender following instructions on the packet. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add and saut? red onions and red bell pepper to soft. Add the fresh garbanzo beans and tomato-basil sauce. Stir in red chilli powder, salt, turmeric and about a cup of water. On medium-high heat, cook for about 10 to 15 minutes stirring in-between. When the sauce starts to come together, switch off the heat. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Toss to mix and sprinkle in crumbled goat cheese. Serve hot.

Kitchen Notes:
Fresh Goat Cheese type and source: Peppadew Chevre from ‘Trader Joe’s’ (US grocery shop)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Goduma (Wheat), Cheese, Pasta, Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas) (Tuesday November 21, 2006 at 3:01 pm- permalink)
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Basil Spinach Pasta

Basil at My Kitchen Window Sill
Basil on My Kitchen Windowsill

We would have been broke if we had used herbs from the local grocery shops for our daily cooking. :) The herbs in these stores are that much expensive. 10 tiny finger-length branches in a cute little box would usually sell for 2 dollars and some change. The more upscale the grocery chain is, the pricier the herbs are. First few years here, I mostly cancelled the herbs from my shopping list. Later, I started growing them myself. A must to grow would be mint, and some summers I also grow basil and cilantro.

For this summer, I have planted basil in a small container. Kept it on my kitchen windowsill, where it gets plenty of sunlight, and watered it regularly. After a month, the container is full of well grown and overflowing basil. So, the time has come for the first harvest and for a flavorful meal. With trimmed branches of basil, some spinach and cashews cooked together, I prepared a special sauce for pasta for lunch. A different taste from routine tomato sauced pasta. If you like pasta in pesto, then this recipe is for you and the sauce is as good as it looks.:)

Basil, Spinach, Cashews, Green Chillies, Garlic, Tomato and Pasta

Recipe:

1 cup of basil and 1 small bunch of spinach
Medium red onion and tomato - one each, cut into big pieces
6 to 8 green chillies and 4 garlic cloves - sliced into big chunks
Half cup of cashews
Salt and peanut/olive oil to your liking
Pasta of your choice

1. In a skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil. Saut? onion, garlic, green chillies and tomato to golden brown. Remove and keep them aside.

2. Saut? spinach, basil until they wilt in the same skillet. Remove and keep them aside. Wipe the skillet clean, add and dry roast cashews to golden color.

3. When they are all cool to touch, take them all in a blender, add a teaspoon of salt and puree them into smooth mixture.

4. Heat a teaspoon of oil and pour in the pureed mixture. Stir in half to one cup of water. Have a taste, add salt if needed and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce reaches the thickness you desire.

5. Meanwhile bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add and cook pasta until aldente usually for about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and add the pasta to the sauce. Stir to combine and serve piping hot.

Basil-Spinach Pasta with Hard Boiled Eggs
Pasta in Basil-Spinach-Cashew Sauce with Hard Boiled Eggs
From Pot to Plate for L.G’s Green Blog Project

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Spinach, Cashews, Pasta, Basil (Tuesday June 13, 2006 at 3:52 pm- permalink)
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Spaghetti in Spicy Cherry Tomato Sauce

(Imitating Rachel Ray’s 30-minute meal episode narration
for this month’s IMBB-Make it in 30 minutes)

Hi I’m Indira Singari, I’m going to prepare a 30 minute meal today. Spaghetti in spicy cherry tomato sauce. Who said we couldn’t have pasta in a spicy sauce? You know, I’ve tried commercial pasta sauces but my tastebuds, once you are used to spicy stuff, it’s tough to go back to that kind of childhood bland, flat taste. giggle… ok enough of chit chat…

Going to the pantry area… Grabbing 2 pints of cherry tomatoes. You know, I like cherry tomatoes. They have a very thin skin and have more zing than the romas. I bought two of these boxes for 99 cents each from the local grocery shop. What a deal, you know. gigggle…

Next thing on the list is, pasta - I’m in the mood for thin spaghetti. So thin spaghetti it is then. Also to add to the tomatoes… here is a teaspoon of cumin, 5 dried red chillies and 4 big garlic cloves. I see some nuts in my cupboard, ya…grabbing those…hmm…Quarter cup of watermelon seeds and a tablespoon of chironji(sara pappu), just to give that extra nutty sweetness to the tomato sauce. It’s going to be one Yum O sauce… giggle… I’m also going to add boiled and sliced eggs to the pasta as a side dish. 4 eggs are enough…

Garbage bowl is a handy one, I can carry all these in this big bowl and later when I am chopping I can dump all the waste like eggshells etc in the bowl. Believe me, it’s one handy thing to have by side. … giggle

Ok… first cooking the pasta: place the big saucepan on the burner. Fill two thirds of pot with water. Nothing is wrong with tap water, so fill it up. Drop 2 teaspoons of salt into water and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil. Also in other saucepan, take pot full of water, add eggs and pinch of salt, cover and cook them.

Prepping the cherry tomato sauce: It takes at least 5 minutes for water to come to a boil, so in the meantime, we prepare tomato sauce. Let’s go…Separate 10 cherry tomatoes from the box and keep them aside. You are going to see what I’m going to do with them later. Ok, back to tomatoes. Take the remaining cherry tomatoes in a blender; add cumin, garlic, dried red chillies and a teaspoon of salt. Blend them finely. This is going to be our spicy sauce… it took less than one minute, the time it takes to open a can of tomato sauce. giggle…

Now cooking the sauce: heat a teaspoon of EVOO.. that means extra virgin olive oil giggle…and drop one or two finely minced garlic. Also watermelon seeds and chironji (sara pappu). Sauté them till golden, then add the pureed spicy tomato sauce and one cup of water. Close the lid. Hmmm that starts smelling good. Cook this mixture on medium heat for at least 15 minutes, stirring in between.

Checking on the water — the water is boiling ready now. Add the pasta, you know, some people like to break the pasta to half before adding to the water. But I like them long, so here they go into the boiling water. I’ll wait for 5 minutes then I remove them. Checking the other pot…the eggs are cooked perfectly. I’m going to take them out of water with a big spoon.

Now getting ready to plate the meal: everything is coming together perfectly, ahh… the smell… I wish you could smell the tomato sauce… all that cumin, garlic… it’s like heaven in here. giggle… Ok, slice the cherry tomatoes we kept aside, to halves. Place them on a round plate to the edges. Peel and slice the boiled eggs into thin strips.

Pasta is cooked perfectly… slurping one spaghettial dente, just perfect. Pour the whole thing into a colander to drain the water. Add the spaghetti to the spicy tomato sauce and stir. Look how beautiful it looks… Wheaty white spaghetti in ruby red tomato sauce… Gorgeous!

Plating: Grab a couple of forkfuls of pasta and place them on the plate. Arrange some more sliced cherry tomatoes and some egg slices around the pasta to give that pretty look. Our 30-minute meal is ready. For dessert I’m going to have one of those muffin sized Mango Halwa pieces, I prepared yesterday. Just perfect to end the meal.

Tasting: Yum O…not only appealing to the eyes, this super simple meal has everything going on for it. It has carbos, nutty fat, eggy protein and veggies in the form of cherry tomatoes. Even more its spicy…taking a bite…hmm… loving it.. giggles

Hey I’m Indira Singari, you can prepare a great, satisfying meal in just 30 minutes. See… Signing off…(Camera focuses on the meal.)

Spaghetti In Spicy Tomato Sauce
30 minute meal - Spaghetti in Spicy Tomato Sauce served with cherry tomatoes and boiled egg slices

Ingredients
2 fistfuls of thin spaghetti
2 pints of cherry tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
5 dried red chillies
1 teaspoon of cumin
¼ cup of watermelon seeds and chironji (sara pappu, charoli)
Olive oil and salt to taste
Additions: 4 boiled eggs- yellows removed and sliced thin

Thanks “Too Many Chefs” for hosting this month’s IMBB event.
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Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Pasta (Friday March 24, 2006 at 2:56 pm- permalink)
Comments (34)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Melon Seed Pasta with Veggies (Seme Di Melone)

There are several varieties of pasta available in different shapes. Among all, one of my favorites is machine cut pasta in melon seed shape. This teardrop shaped pasta looks so beautiful, cooks easily and the taste is not bad either. For a veggie-upma style recipe, this pasta is perfect.

For a quick meal, this afternoon, I’ve cooked the pasta al dente for about 5 minutes in salted, boiling water. While the pasta is cooking, in a skillet I’ve sautéed some chopped shallots, baby potatoes, tomatoes, chillies and Indian broad beans (chikkudu kaya vittanaalu) in two teaspoons of peanut oil for few minutes to tender. Tossed the boiled and drained melon seed pasta with the veggies and seasoned it with some salt, lemon juice and some bean sprouts. A small bowl of this pasta and a glass of tomato rasam, just enough to maintain our low metabolism .

Melon Seed Pasta with Veggies
Melon seed pasta with veggies

Ingredients
1 cup of raw melon seed pasta
2 teaspoons of peanut oil
4 baby potatoes, cut into cubes
3 shallots, finely chopped
2 to 4 small green chillies, finely chopped
1 medium sized tomato, finely chopped
¼ cup of each - Indian broad beans and bean sprouts
Pinch of turmeric
Salt and lime juice to taste

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Pasta (Wednesday March 8, 2006 at 2:44 pm- permalink)
Comments (18)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Pasta in Chilli, Bell Pepper and Peanut Sauce

“What Kind of Food Are You?” - I tried the fun quiz of 5 questions. I expected Indian, but I don’t think the quiz has Indian food in its list of responses. The answer was ‘Italian food’, and I was satisfied. Like Indian, I think of Italian as another no-nonsense, honest kind of food. Though here in US, a little bit over glorified. What? Have you been watching food TV (US) lately? It should be renamed ‘Italian Food TV’ with its 24-hour Italian this and Italian that programming, and its star-cooks falling over themselves proclaiming their Italian heritage. Sometimes I wonder, why am I paying money for this channel on cable, is this a foodtv or a propaganda machine for Italian cuisine. It would be understandable if majority of Americans are Italians or Italian decent, but that is not the case and further, the minority (here the minority status is determined by the skin color) means non-whites, are climbing up to almost 40%. More and more, it looks like American Food TV has decided to disregard diversity and showcase only one cuisine at the expense of others. What a sad, sad thinking!

Well, I am glad to contribute one more recipe of pasta to IMBB #22, the mother of all events and most popular one in food blogosphere, this month hosted by lovely Amy of ‘Cooking with Amy’ fame. Even though I think of my contribution an original, I am sure there is someone, somewhere already written down this version of pasta sauce. Thousands of dedicated Italian cooks, cookbooks and hundreds of fabulous food bloggers, recipe sites - millions of pasta recipes, it got to be there, somewhere. No… then I am happy to cook up millionth one recipe of pasta.:)

spaghetti, red bell pepper, Tomatoes, Roasted Peanuts, olive oil, Onions, Dried red chillies and garlic

Recipe:

Pasta: I used spaghetti, Hodgson Mills brand, whole wheat with flax seed and organic variety. Like pulao/pilaf taste depends on basmati rice, a good pasta dish needs quality pasta. So I do spend few extra bucks on a fine variety. Hodgson Mill brand without a doubt, quality products.
One fistful of spaghetti for one person - that is the measurement I use for spaghetti.

For Sauce:
1 cup of peanuts - roasted and skins removed
3 red bell peppers - deseeded, cut into big chunks
4 dried red chillies and 4 garlic cloves - halved
3 ripe, juicy tomatoes - chopped into big chunks
1 small red onion - chopped into big chunks
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tsp of each-cumin, salt and powdered jaggery/sugar
I prefer to have sauce, lots of it with my pasta, so the above quantities.

Peanut-Veggie Sauce Spaghetti in pasta sauce

Preparation:

Pasta Sauce: Roast the bell peppers, dried red chillies, tomato, onion, garlic and cumin in 1 tsp of olive oil, until they all are brown and golden. Let them cool down to room temperature.

In a food processor, first add roasted peanuts and make a fine powder of them. To it, add the roasted veggies and half teaspoon of salt. Add half cup of water and grind them into smooth paste.

In a big wide pan, heat olive oil and add the peanut-veggie paste. Add one cup of water, jaggery and salt to taste. Mix and cook covered for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat.

Pasta: While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente, usually for about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta into a colander, immediately add it to the sauce. Mix it thoroughly with pasta sauce. Cook, uncovered for about 2 minutes on low heat and serve.

The sauce can be made earlier and just before mealtime, pasta can be cooked and added. One thing I learned about pasta is, it has to be served hot, to get the best taste.
Spaghetti in Chilli-Red bell pepper- peanut sauce

Pasta in chilli-red bell pepper-peanut sauce: sweet, spicy, savory and smoky - A range of delicious flavors, all blended well together for a wholesome, hearty, filling meal ~ Our Sunday dinner and my entry to IMBB Event.

Recipe Source: My Own Creation
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Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Bell Pepper, Pasta, Dried Red Chillies (Monday January 30, 2006 at 8:32 am- permalink)
Comments (29)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Lasagna Rolls - Indian Way

I was in the mood for something new and different. I had some goat cheese in the fridge (Steelers pizza left over), few beetroots, lot of ripe tomatoes, a printout of lasagna rolls recipe I wanted to try, and an idea of how to make it more suitable for our palate. After 45 minutes in the kitchen, the result was - tasty lasagna rolls, some with goat cheese and some with spicy sweet peanut paste as filling, baked in fresh tomato sauce and served with sautéed onions, beetroots and peas as topping.

Lasagna, Home made Tomato Sauce, chopped onions and beetroots, Goat cheese and Spicy Peanut Paste for filling

Recipe:

1.Tomato Sauce: Cook finely chopped 8 ripe, juicy tomatoes, 4 garlic cloves in one tsp of oil. Also add half glass of water, half teaspoon of red chilli powder and salt to taste. Cook until the tomatoes turn mushy and sauce like.

2. Filling: I prepared two kinds of filling. One is goat cheese, that’s an easy one, buy and open the packet, true Italian way. Roasted peanuts (outer skins removed) made into paste by adding little bit of salt, jaggery, red chilli powder and few drops of water - my idea of Indian type filling.

3. Lasagna: Meanwhile, cook 5 lasagna sheets in boiling salted water according to the instruction on the packet (takes at least 15 to 20 minutes), in a big pan. Drain and keep them in cold water so that they won’t stick to each other.

Spreading peanut paste onto a lasagna sheet, rolling and cutting into two equal parts Cut lasagna rolls in tomato sauce, ready for baking

4. Baking: All the prep work is done and our ingredients are ready for the final step. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Spread the filling (goat cheese or peanut paste) on lasagna sheet evenly. Roll the sheet to the end and cut it into two equal rolls, crosswise. Prepare all lasagna sheets in this way. Pour the tomato sauce in a baking dish, arrange the lasagna rolls (cut side down) neatly in the sauce, loosely cover the dish with an aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes at 375° F.

5. Sauté: Finely chop beetroots and onion. Add peas and sauté them for few minutes. Season with salt and red pepper flakes.

Serve the lasagna rolls in tomato sauce with sautéed beetroots, onion and peas as topping.

Lasagna rolls in tomato sauce with sautéed onion, beetroot and peas as topping

I have to say I liked both goat cheese and peanut paste rolls equally. Tangy tomato sauce and sweetness from sautéed beetroots, onions and peas perfectly complimented the bland, baked lasagna rolls. Little bit time consuming, but I think these beautiful flower like lasagna rolls are terrific for entertaining because they can be prepared in the morning and baked at the last minute.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Milk & Products, Cheese, Pasta (Friday November 4, 2005 at 2:27 pm- permalink)
Comments (17)

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