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- 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.