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 

Two Tangy Recipes With Indian Gooseberry (Amla) – Green Chutney and Pickle


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I thought of listing the enormous health benefits and nutrients that make this tangy fruit one of my personal favorites but then I thought I will just give a link here Know 50 Health benefits of Amla  . This posts tells almost everything and for more there is always mother Google. 😀

Did you ever eat raw  Amla and had water over it? If yes, then you must be remembering the natural sweetness it gave to water.  As a kid I loved to eat the fruit raw with a little sprinkle of salt or just mix the grated amla in my food. It gives a lovely flavor to arhar dal especially. I still love it.

For those to prefer this wonderful delightful fruit  in a chutney or a spicy tangy pickle here are two recipes perfected in my kitchen.

 Amla Mint Chuntney and  Instant Amla Pickle 

Let us first go green with fragrant home grown Mint which again like Amla has a lot of health benefits. You can always look them up on Google.

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I love mint in my drinks, soups, chutneys and yogurt or as a mouth freshener too.  Mint chutney with some fresh coriander (cilantro) and Amla is one of my favorite condiment with anything and everything. I just love this fresh green soothing spread.

To make Amla , Mint Chutney you will need:

Amla – medium size  2 nos.

Fresh Mint leaves – One small bowl

Fresh coriander – one small bowl

Onion – I small (roughly chopped)

garlic – 2-3 nos.

Ginger – 1/2 inch (roughly chopped)

Green Chilies – 1-2 9 to taste)

lemon juice – I teaspoon

Roasted cumin power – a pinch (optional)

Salt – to taste

Sugar – 1 teaspoon ( optional)

Method

 Wash the leaves and chop them roughly.  Put the first 7 ingredients in a blender with salt and blend till they make a coarse paste.  all the ingredients should turn into coarse paste not smooth .. although some prefer it the other way.

Take out in a bowl and add sugar, cumin powder and lemon juice. Mix well. Garnish with twig of  fresh mint.

Your delicious , tangy green mint amla chutney is ready to serve.

Now for the Instant pickle 

Ingredients 

Amla or Indian Gooseberry  – 5

Green Chilies – 2-3 nos.

Asafoetida – a pinch

Salt – to taste

Mustard  (sarson)  seeds- 1 teaspoon

Fenugreek (methi) seeds – 1 teaspoon

Turmeric – 1/4 tespoon

Red chili powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Mustard Oil – 2 tablespoon

Method 

Steam the washed and dried Amlas and cut them into small pieces once they cool.

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Heat mustard oil in a cast iron or non stick pan (I use cast iron) till it smokes. Remove from heat.

Cool it just a little and add both the seeds and hing ( asafoetida).

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When they begin to splutter add red chili powder and turmeric powder.

Stir in the pieces of steamed amla and raw chopped green chilies. Also add salt.

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Once all the ingredients are mixed properly let it cool completely in a bowl or in the pan itself .

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Take a clean glass bottle to store the pickle and keep it airtight.

This pickle can last for at least a week if not more. I make it in lesser quantity and fresh through out winter.

You can adjust the salt and chilies according to taste but try to keep the natural flavors. Over spiced pickle can lose its flavor and nutrients.

Your pickle is now ready to eat.

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Do give me feedback on the recipes and any  suggestions that you would like to share are very much welcome. 

Enjoy !