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

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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!