Whole Wheat Spaghetti With Bell Peppers and Red Wine


I love whole wheat pasta and often make it when I crave for a meal in jiffy. It is wholesome complete meal and one can be creative with it by changing the ingredients as per the mood of the day and the season. Packed with nutrition, this pasta, made from durum wheat, is any day better than the refined pasta. It has more dietary fiber too. Spigodoro wholewheat pasta and spaghetti are made from 100% organic whole wheat. The taste is sublime and it can be paired with any kind of sauce.

The market is flooded with juicy vibrant sweet bell peppers these days and I decided to do a variation of spaghetti using garlic cloves, tomatoes, and red and yellow bell peppers. I sometimes add chicken breast/ Italian sausages, even our every desi kebabs to it. The secret ingredient in this dish is the red wine. I had an Argentine Trapiche Reserva Malbec lying at home and used it liberally. It tastes uniquely delicious. The wine has a rich ruby red color and a sweet long lasting aftertaste. It was experimental but exquisite pairing.

To make this delicious spaghetti you will need:

Whole Wheat Spaghetti – 250 gm

Sweet Bell Peppers – 1 Red 1 Yellow (Medium Size)

Tomatoes – 4 Large Plum Tomatoes or 2 Large Tomatoes + Half Cup Fresh Tomato Puree

Garlic Cloves – 4-6 (Large) (Slow Roasted)

Red Onion – 1 Large

Mixed Dried Herbs  – 1 Teaspoon (Optional)

Fresh Cilantro/Coriander Greens –  1/4 Cup (finely chopped)

Fresh Thyme – 1 Teaspoon

Olive Oil – 2 Table Spoon

Salt and freshly crushed Black Pepper – To Taste

Red Wine – Your favorite 🙂 About 100 -150 ml

Cheese – Your Favorite ( I used Britannia Cheese but I normally prefer feta cheese with this)

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Method :

Whole wheat Spaghetti takes a little longer to soften. Boil the spaghetti in a big pot of boiling water with a little salt  and a few drops of olive oil  and cook as instructed on the pack or till al dente. Once done strain the spaghetti and rinse under cold water so they don’t stick together. Keep a bowlful of the starch water from the spaghetti to use later in the sauce.

As the spaghetti cooks, prepare the sauce.

Wash, deseed the bell peppers and dice them in thin slices or small cubes.

Dice onion in thin half moon slices.

Dice 2 large tomatoes in cubes ( discard the seeds if you wish)

Puree rest of the tomatoes.

Slow roast the cloves of garlic. (You can drizzle the garlic cloves with olive oil, cover them in foil and roast in oven for 30 minutes or till the center of the clove becomes soft. It will fill your home with a delicious aroma. Garlic is very healthy so use it generously in your cooking.  This time I just roasted them with skin on slow fire and pounded them in a pestle and mortar along with some black peppercorns. Remember , it is a meal in a jiffy and I was very hungry.)

Now that our ingredients are ready, take a large frying pan and put it on medium heat. Add olive oil, let it heat a little then add some crushed peppercorns and pounded garlic. Let it sweat till it becomes slightly golden.

Now, add the onion and let it sweat along with a little salt. Once the onions become soft and translucent add the bell peppers and stir. We don’t want the bell peppers to become mushy so stir them till they become a little crisp (If you use green pepper too then remember it will take  more time to cook so put it first) .

Once the peppers are cooked a little add the tomato puree, more salt and pepper, coriander greens, thyme and give it a good stir. Add tomato cubes now so that they retain their texture.

Add some of the starch water you saved earlier and let the mixture cook for at least 5-10 min on medium heat.

Once done add the wine. Don’t forget to keep sipping the wine while the meal is cooking. 😀

You can add/reduce the quantity of wine as per your taste. It is also optional. The dish will taste awesome even without it.

Cook for another minute and then add the spaghetti to it and stir so that the sauce covers every inch of the spaghetti or pasta if you using that.

Serve hot with sprinkle of grated cheese or crumble of feta cheese. Don’t over do as it will kill the flavours.

Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint or coriander.

If you are adding veggies to the main dish (mushrooms or spring onions) add them before adding the tomato puree.

Same with sausages or chicken. Prepare them in a different skillet or pan and add them before the tomato puree.

Enjoy this delicious colourful meal any time of the day.

Bon Appetit

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Baked Penne With Herb Chicken Salami And Vegetables


When you have leftover whole wheat pasta and the wish to create something wonderful is at its peak then the best thing to do is to bake it with veggies and herb salami, red onions, spices and herbs.

Pasta is the greatest comfort food and one of my favorites. Imagine a red sauce laden pasta packed with the goodness of chicken and vegetables laying under the layer of bubbling cheese. Digging into it is a sin anyone would like to commit. I had a wonderful Italian dinner last night with mom and today the family is there to sample some of my cooking. I can assure you they will not be disappointed. The main dish will be acompanied with a salad and fresh mangoes to complete the dinner. I am using the leftover boiled chickpeas again to make the salad. The recipe is on the blog.

For this flavorful pasta you will need 

Penne Pasta – 300 gm

Bell Peppers – Red, Yellow  1 big each

Mushrooms – 100 gm chopped roughly

Red onion – 2 big

Tomatoes – 6 big

Garlic Cloves -5

Herb Salami slices – 200 gm (I used the one with pepper and other herbs)

Mozzarella Cheese – 1/2 cup grated (you can use any cheese)

Olive oil – 3 table-spoon

Dry oregano – 1/4 teaspoon

Chili Flakes – 1 teaspoon

Italian Herb mix – 1/1 Teaspoon

Cilantro – 1/4 cup ( you can add other herbs vegetables of your choice)

Salt and pepper – to taste

Mixed herbs ( cilantro, basil etc) – as per taste

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Method :

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Boil the pasts al dente ,drain and keep aside. Keep some of the starchy water for later use.

In a pan heat some olive oil. Toss crushed garlic and rings of red onion ( cut onion rings and put in chilled water. Rings will separate) . Saute a little till both the things turn golden.

Add salami strips and turn flip them till golden in color. ( You can add ham, beef or any other meat preparation to give it a different twist)

Turn off the gas and keep aside.

In a pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil, add chopped onion and stir till it is translucent, add the tomatoes,  add a little tomato sauce to it.

Add salt, pepper and other spices. Cook till you acheive a smooth texture .

Add mushrooms and other veggies.

Stir in the herbs.

Once cooked add boiled pasta and mix well. turn off the flame.

In a ovenproof dish or baking tray layer some of the pasta then layer the salami, onion. Keep layering alternately till all of it is used.

Top it up with grated cheese.

Bake for 10-15 minutes till cheese starts bubbling and turns golden.

Remove from oven and serve with a salad.

BON APPETIT

Whole Wheat Penne Pasta In Charred Red Bell Pepper, Tomatoes And Roasted garlic Sauce


I am very fond of pasta in any form especially the wheat one. For this recipe I have used the Colavita Whole wheat pasta.

It’s now six days to my laser surgery and almost four and a half to the RD surgery. My eyes are healing beautifully and to assist their healing I wanted to do something therapeutic, something with colours, spices, veggies and herbs. This recipe seemed perfect for the occasion. A lovely dinner for three. Mom, Kid 1 and me. Main course complimented by chickpeas Mediterranean salad and rounded off with scoops of vanilla ice cream with fresh mangoes and homemade fresh cherry sauce. I will be putting up the recipes for the other two dishes as well.

The cook is given an off and I am in my kitchen saturated with the various colors and aromas. It is a place I love to be doing what I love most. I made the sauce with those awesome looking juicy red bell peppers, plum tomatoes , garlic and red onion. Perfect combination for a summer meal. Of all the bell peppers Yellow is my favorite in summer but the nicely charred red one tastes delicious with this pasta.

Ingredients :

2 Red bell Peppers – Charred , skinned and chopped

One medium size red onion – finally chopped

Tomatoes – 400 4m charred, skinned and puréed

Garlic – 4 cloves (roasted)

Fresh coriander leaves –  finely chopped 4 table-spoon

Salt and crushed Pepper – to taste

Parmesan cheese – for garnish (freshly grated)

Penne whole wheat pasta – 2 cups boiled and drained (spiral, fusilli, spaghetti, macaroni , farfalle or any other pasta of your choice will also do.)

Extra virgin olive oil – 2 table-spoon

To make this full flavor pasta dish :

1. Char the bell peppers till black ( wash the bell pepper, dry and apply oil all over it before putting in on grill or flame. char them from all sides properly), skin and chop them very fine . You can slightly turn them in mixer too. Just enough to make a pulp. (to skin place the charred pepper in a paper bag for 5-10 min and let them sweat. it becomes easier to peel them)

2. Roast the garlic and squeeze the pulp out from paper. mash and keep aside

3. Boil the wheat pasta till al dente in salted water to which a little oil has been added, drain and keep aside. Pasta should feel firm, not crunchy. It should break easily in half. (You can follow the instructions on the packet too)

4. Place a saucepan on medium heat and add  Olive oil. once warm add the roasted garlic and onion. Saute them till onion becomes translucent.

5. Add the tomatoes a charred bell pepper and stir so that all the ingredients mix properly.

6. Cook the sauce for a while on low heat till it becomes thick in consistency . I don’t like pasta floating in a soup like sauce. Add herbs and spices, salt and freshly crushed pepper.

7. Fold in the cooked pasta into the sauce till each penne is coated with the sauce.

8. Turn off the heat and cover for a minute or two.

9. Take out in a serving dish and garnish with freshly chopped coriander, basil ( your choice) and freshly grated parmesan cheese. I don’t like my pasta cheesy so I  go lighter on cheese. It kind of mars the other flavors imo:)

10. Serve hot.

The mild smoky sweet taste of roasted bell pepper, the tangy sourness from tomatoes and the flavor from herbs will really this a hit with everyone.Roasted garlic is one of my weaknesses so I tend to add it to many of my pasta preparations.

I served it with the chickpeas salad and made another version by tossing in the salad into the pasta. The crunchy yellow and red bell peppers, raw onion and tomatoes along with soft chickpeas enhanced the taste of the dish.

You can make any number of variations with this pasta by adding grilled sausages, chicken, meatballs etc.

This is the most satisfying comfort food I have ever had.

Enjoy!

Recipe – Two Variations Of Fresh Tomato Based Pasta Sauce


I love to experiment with food and cooking is not just a hobby but passion with me. I am not a food blogger yet I love to share the simple dishes I make in my kitchen. Nothing exotic but something that is healthy and filling. Pasta is a “quick meal” option for me any day.

Dry whole wheat pasta is my choice when it comes to Italian cuisine. I make my own variations of sauces and additions to the dish depending on the seasonal availability of stuff that can go with the main dish.

Here we will talk about the fresh tomato sauce for pasta and its variations. A perfect, well executed sauce with tomatoes can enhance the flavor of any pasta dish. The sauce must be used as a condiment , just enough to coat each strand or piece of pasta. I don’t prefer to make it as a ‘gravy’ that collects at the bottom of the dish.

The best way to prepare wheat pasta is to cook it until it is within a minute of being done and then drain and toss it in the stove which is still on the sauce. It helps the pasta to cook further and absorb all the flavours from the sauce. Pasta should be cooked al dente in my opinion.

I use cheese sparingly as it masks the flavours of the dish. A slight drizzle on top is all it takes.

With fresh tomato as foundation of these sauces you may add meat, veggies , herbs or anything you wish to the dish or simply enjoy the earthy basic Pomodero sauce with oregano or garlic as I prefer.

These recipes are for about 100 gms of boiled pasta.

This tomato Concasse sauce is also called Arrabbiata Sauce.  Use  two-three tablespoons of red wine if desired. You can remove the red pepper for the basic concasse recipe. You can use this sauce to make Cottage Cheese in Arrabbiata sauce . Use fresh cubed cottage cheese (Paneer) for this. Toss the cubes in when the sauce is ready. Let it simmer till the cottage cheese absorbs all the flavors.

For tomato concasse sauce you will need :

Red ripe plum tomatoes – 5 large ones

Red bell pepper (charred) – 1/2

Chopped garlic – 2 heaped tablespoon (I love the flavor)

Chopped onion – 1/2 cup

Tomato ketchup -1/2 cup

Oregano – 1 teaspoon

Chilli flakes – 1 teaspoon

Salt – to taste

Sugar – 1 teaspoon ( if the tomatoes are sour)

Crushed black peppercorns – 1 teaspoon

Olive oil – 1 tablespoon

Fresh herbs – according to taste. I usually use basil, thyme, parsley or coriander.

To make the sauce – 

Blanch and skin the tomatoes. Always use the ripe plum tomatoes. The desi variety is usually sour and doesn’t give the desired color. Discard the seeds and the yellow part on the top. Puree them and keep aside. I char the tomatoes sometimes just to be more adventurous. 🙂 Char and skin the red bell pepper. purée that too.

In a heavy bottom pan heat olive oil and add finely chopped garlic. they them become slighty golden then add onions. Onion help to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. When the onions become translucent  add tamatoesand bell pepper purée and stir gently. Let the flavours merge together. Keep the flame low. Then add chilli flakes, oregano, salt , sugar and crushed peppercorns. Add tomato ketchup and stir it well. Cook till it is smooth and nicely textured.  Always make the sauce in open pan or it will have a bland steamed and weak taste. Use wooden spoon for stirring. Toss in the fresh herbs  at this point , add the boiled pasta to the sauce and gently fold it in till its properly covered in sauce. Serve hot garnished with herbs and a drizzle of cheese.

You can add anything like meat, sautéed vegetables etc as per your taste to this basic pasta sauce. I prefer to enjoy both the variations without any extra additions. Improvisation and experimentation is the key to good food. One good option is to use fresh tender chopped spring onions either in the sauce or as garnish.

Two variations of  Mint chutney tomato sauce with distinct flavours of Indian Gooseberry and raw mango. When using this variation with tomato concasse please do not use any other herbs. 

For this sauce you need to make the traditional coriander and mint chutney either with Indian gooseberries (Awla) or raw mangoes ( Kairi). Replace awla with raw mango. Awla is a winter fruit and raw mango is for summer so you can enjoy this sauce in both the seasons.

To make the mint chutney sauce variation

Cut the amount of tomato ketchup to half and add the mint coriander chutney to it. Mix well and add it to the basic sauce. You can stir it in at the last point before serving too. This gives the pasta a different flavor.

So we have a perfect medley of high quality proteins, carbs, minerals and vitamins in these simple variations of  fresh tomato based pasta sauces. Be adventurous and tell me how would you use them and with what other variations.

BON APPETIT

you can see more pasta recipes here 

Recipe- Healthy Whole Wheat Spaghetti With Red Kidney Beans Sauce


 

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Whole wheat spaghetti/ pasta  is one of my favorites when it comes to a “meal in jiffy”. It is healthy and easy to prepare. I use Colavita but there are many brands which make 100% whole durum wheat pasta.  I prefer it over the white refined pasta for its immense nutritive value.

This spaghetti is made with red kidney beans in tomato sauce. Red kidney beans are good source of cholesterol lowering fiber and when combined with whole grains they offer fat-free high quality protein. They have many other nutritional benefits too. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene and have great amount of Vitamin C and beta carotene apart from other benefits. Whether it is whole, crushed, diced or paste, tomatoes provide a healthy base for many dishes with the right balance of sweetness and acidity. So here we have a good combination of carbohydrates and proteins in a healthy quick meal. Enjoy!

 

For the Red Kidney Bean Sauce you need 

Small Kashmiri Red kidney beans – 1/2 cup (boiled)

Tomatoes-  4 big Red ripe ones

Garlic – 4 big cloves

Corriander or cilantro – 1/4 cup

Red Onion – 1 big

Salt  to taste

Black pepper – freshly crushed to taste

Green chilli – 2 medium (depending on taste and sharpness of the chillies)

Chilly flakes – to taste

Tomato ketchup / – 4 tablespoon

Tomato chilli sauce – 2 table-spoon or to taste. (optional)

Other Ingredients 

Whole Wheat Spaghetti or any other pasta – 1/4 packet  (about 100 gm)

Olive oil – 2 tablespoon

Coriander – to garnish

Spring onion to garnish

To make the sauce 

Wash and pressure cook / boil the red kidney beans with a little salt till soft. Keep in mind that they should be soft and  cooked properly  but not squishy. Blanch, peal  and  crush tomatoes or just grate them after removing the seeds. cut the onion and garlic very fine. Grind the green chillies with a bit of salt. I usually grind them in Mortar and pestle with salt and let the mixture dry completely. Then I store it to use in various things.

Take a pan and put it on medium heat. Add olive oil. Add finely chopped garlic and let them roast to a delicate golden brown color then add finely chopped onion. Cook them till translucent then add grated or blanched tomatoes. stir properly and let the mixture cook on medium heat. Add salt and pepper. Oregano  and chilli flakes if desired.

You have to be careful with salt as it is added at various stages. We don’t want to ruin thedish, do we? 🙂

Once the tomatoes getcooked properly add the tomato sauce and the chilli sauce. Stir and lower the flame.

Add the boiled kidney beans and gently mix the sauce and the beans so that the beans don’t get crushed.

Add cilantro/ coriander and finely chopped spring onion ( just two tablespoon)

Let the  sauce simmer for sometime. We don’t need to dry the beans sauce.

Prepare the Spaghetti 

Whole wheat spaghetti takes a long time to cook so before you begin with other things do keep the spaghetti ready to add.

For that, boil the spaghetti in a big pot of boiling water with a little salt  anda few drops of olive oil  and cook as instructed on the pack or till al dente. Once done strain the spaghetti and rinse under cold water so they don’t stick together.

Add the spaghetti to the red kidney beans tomato sauce and toss gently till the sauce lavishly covers the spaghetti.

Turn off the stove and serve it hot with cilantro or coriander garnish. Toss a few chopped spring onions if you like them. You can add herbs of your choice in it but I prefer it rustic and simple.

You can also serve it the way I have. Layer the pasta and Bean sauce instead or mixing them together and garnish. 🙂


 

Garnish Tip –

You can make florets of the spring onions by cutting the white root leaving a two-inch stem. Slice the brown hairy root at the top.  Now slice the white part from the top to bottom lengthwise leaving a little space at the end . Place them in a bowl of ice-cold water and refrigerate for two hours till the leaves curl to form a floret. It looks fabulous as a garnish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta Italiano By Kid #2


We are a family of foodies who love to experiment with aromas, tastes and the colorful ingredients. Kid #2 is a budding chef  and at the age of 15  he dishes out some amazing stuff now and then. Cooking together is always fun and therapeutic too. It is amazing to see kids churning out new stuff . I love it  when boys can manage such wonderful cooking. 😀  I know he won’t starve when alone. By the way he makes the usual regular  dishes also. 🙂

I think it is good to share what your children specialize in , just to give them a boost.

It is  passion with us when it comes to cooking, baking etc.

So here is a Sunday special for all of you .

Pasta Italiano

we can have a lot of variations here  and add our favorite herbs and other toppings. This is a basic recipe. My favorite.

Ingredients

Fusilli Pasta – 2 cup ( you can take any)

Tomatoes –  5

Onions 2

Garlic -2 pods (Big) ( I prefer more)

Tomato Ketchup – 5-6 table-spoon

Dash of Asafoetida

Red chilli – 1/2 tea-spoon

Salt – to taste

Coriander , Theme, parsley, basil or any other herb- 2 table spoon ( chopped)

Green chili- 1 ( de seeded and  slit into two)

Olive oil – 2 table spoon

Method

Heat water with a few drops of oil and a little salt . Add pasta and cook till soft. Remove from heat and drain in a colander. Keep in under cold water for a while so the pasta doesn’t stick .

Keep aside and keep a heavy bottom pan on heat.

Add olive oil and fry  the finely chopped onions, garlic and green chili till golden brown . Add finely chopped tomatoes . Sprinkle asafoetida.

Let it simmer till a nice red sauce is made. Add salt and ketchup .

Simmer for some more time to make a gorgeous sauce.

Add cooked pasta to the sauce and keep it covered on slow heat .

Stir in  fresh chopped herbs like thyme, coriander, basil, parsley  etc

Remove from heat.

Garnish with herb of your choice.

Serve hot.

We really freaked out on this one. He presented it well and the dish was a screamer all the way.

Cheers!!