Tricolored Baked Rice Casserole

Representing the Indian Flag

Representing the Indian Flag

“Are you ever going to post the tricolour rice or no?”, She seemed nettled.
“Er.. but it’s so late, I could tell you now, on the phone” I sputtered.
“No, no time! Put it up and I will catch it in between work’ And she bangs the phone.

My sister – younger, smarter and definitely more headstrong than I have ever been, always gets her work done, somehow! No one says no to her, she makes sure of that. She thinks its her tenacious personality that gets it done when in real we do what she says because we love her. But we let her think otherwise ;).

Indian Independence Day was on August 15th. And I am 12 days late. But like the sister exhorts – Tis better to be late than not post at all. So I put this up now. For one, because she badgered me for a detailed recipe. And for the fact that this one is worth posting!

Creamy healthy and totally delicious

Creamy healthy and totally delicious

So like how it happens every morning of 15th August, we were getting ready for our National Flag hoisting. The child was excited. More so, because she was going to sing a very patriotic song. She had been rehearsing for the past 10 days and had held captive any audience she could find to practise her crooning.

'Aao Bacho Tumhe Dikhaayen'

‘Aao Bacho Tumhe Dikhaayen’

In between adjusting a tricolour sash, combing her hair, sticking various tricolored pictures on her skirt, she spoke persistently and tirelessly. Of matters mundane and routine. And then suddenly she squealed in delight, turned to me and said.. why don’t you make some lunch which is tricolour. I will call Saancha and Sanjana and you can take pictures too for your blog. Now, the picture bit was her act of luring me to make something fancy.

Our lunch was patriotic indeed but in return I got her to get rid of all the gaudy stickers she piled on her skirt 😉

Yumm

Yumm

Rice enveloped in creamy white sauce, dotted with carrot and beans, topped with an orange tomato marinara and a spicy spinach coriander puree, and finished with soft cheese – whats not to like in this! It is creamy soft pillowy flavourful and a delight in every bite. Worth a try, anytime!

Enjoy it with some fresh baked bread

Enjoy it with some fresh baked bread

The recipe –

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice, boiled al dente. Brown Rice works beautifully, but I was going tricolour remember, so I chose to stick to white.
  • 1/2 cup minced carrot-beans and a few peas
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • green chill sauce – optional.
  • 4 tbsp grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • For the Orange Marinara: 3 medium-sized tomatoes, blanched whole in hot water. 5/6 pods of garlic, 3 whole red chilies or kashmiri red chilies, salt and pepper to taste, 1 tsp oregano. 1 tsp olive oil.

    For the Spinach Puree: 1 big bunch of spinach leaves, washed-blanched. 3 green chilies, a tiny piece of ginger, a pinch of sugar and salt.

    Method

    For the Rice:
    Heat butter in a wok, stir fry the vegetables till almost done. Add flour. Saute it as it coats the veggies. Pour milk, mix till the milk thickens. Add boiled rice, salt, pepper, green chill sauce if using. The white sauce will envelope the rice.This taste good as it is!

    For the Spinach Puree:
    Grind blanched spinach, along with salt, sugar, green chilies and ginger till smooth. You can adjust the quantity of the green chilies according to your taste. Keep aside.

    For the Orange Marinara:
    In a wok, heat oil, sauté garlic and red chilli. Add coarsely smashed blanched tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Cook covered on low heat till oil leaves sides. cool the mixture and grind to a fine orange paste. This marinara can be stored in the refrigerator for 3/4 days and is used as pizza toppings or in pastas/noodles or rice.

    Assembling:

    In a butter greased baking dish or casserole, make alternate layers of marinara, rice and spinach puree. Finally garnish with grated cheese. Bake at 200 C for 15 minutes or till the cheese melts and golden dots appear.

    Note: I didn’t do the traditional layering coz I wanted the tricolour pattern, I lay the rice and then poured the sauces to replicate the Indian National Flag.

    flavors all

    flavors all

    Ludicrous interpretation of the colours made me go wide-eyed with shock though amidst peals of incessant laughter. The girls all had appalling insight on this subject! The sublimity of the beautiful colours on our flag was then preached and lectured while their plates were licked clean!

    Courage, Peace and Prosperity

    Courage, Peace and Prosperity

    I am taking this to Angie’s 31st Friday Fiesta! Do pop over to see some delicious recipes!

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    Fun with Farfalle

    Life is too short, and I’m Italian. I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero.
    – Sophia Bush

    Farfalle - Two ways

    Farfalle – Two ways

    We watch what we put in our mouth. Mostly. Usually. But there are times when we give into our cravings, and just run a little longer the next morning. With little Milee it’s one of her most favorite and convenient dinners. If by any chance you get to ask her what she would like to eat, pasta is her quickest reply.

    Sadly, ironically, the cravings are more frequent than desired. Now you see, every week – is frequent. And even with the so-called whole grain and multigrain kinds available today I’m still a little weary, because I am not really sure of how much ‘whole grain’ is actually used to make the pasta. I guess my fears will rest only when I make the noodle at home…and that I don’t think I ever will! 🙂

    Well, among the many different kinds available, each member of my mad family has his own particular favorite. Penne for the dad, spaghetti or angel hair for me, bow tie for Milee. No, I don’t spoil them by making their favorites each time. We take turns ;). So, this time, Farfalle or Bow tie it was!

    Assorted Veggies and Thyme Bow Tie Pasta

    Assorted Veggies and Thyme Bow Tie Pasta

    I made mine a wee bit healthier, by eliminating the sauce, and sauteing with loads of veggies. Dried herbs like thyme and oregano were generously sprinkled and the cheese skipped.

    Husband and Milee like the real deal, super creamy mixed sauce, along with a little bit of cheese! So yumm.

    Creamy Mix Sauce Veggie Bow Tie

    Creamy Mix Sauce Veggie Bow Tie

    Milee pitched in with her with little hands, choosing the veggies, sprinkling herbs and salt – all the while chattering away incessantly. The babble only reduced when she sneaked in huge amount of boiled plain pasta into her mouth and soon when the cheese came out, the pasta was conveniently forgotten. Kids!

    Recipes

    Thyme Veggie Farfalle – No Butter, No Cheese, No sauce

    Simple stir Fry

    Simple stir Fry

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup al dente boiled pasta, any kind.
    • 1 cup assorted veggies, sliced length wise. I used zucchini, colored peppers and mushrooms
    • 1 big onion, chopped roughly
    • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 green chili-optional
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • red chili flakes – according to taste
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp thyme, I used dried.
    • 1 tsp oregano, dried
    • Garnish – torn basil leaves

    Method

    In a wok, heat oil. Saute onions, garlic and green chili. Once a little pink. Throw in the other veggies. Sprinkle salt and stir fry on high. After a couple of minutes, the veggies would be almost done, then add the pasta, along with thyme and oregano, pepper and red chili flakes. Toss.

    Serve garnished with torn basil leaves.

    Best enjoyed with a crusty crunchy slice of bread and some light soup.

    Look at all those colors!

    Look at all those colors!

    Mixed Sauce Creamy Veggie Farfalle

    Creamy Yummy

    Creamy Yummy

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup al dente boiled pasta, any kind
    • 1/2 cup veggies
    • 3-4 tbsp pomodoro sauce
    • 1/2 tbsp flour
    • 1 cup milk
    • salt pepper as per taste
    • red chili flakes as per taste
    • 2 tsp Italian seasoning or mixed dried herbs
    • 1 tbsp butter or oil, I used butter
    • Garnish – parmesan cheese or even cheddar would do
    • Garnish – torn basil leaves

    Method

    In a wok, heat butter/olive oil. Throw in the bowl of veggies. Saute till half cooked. Now add the flour. Let it coat all the veggies, if it seems less, throw in more. Now slowly mix in the milk and stir all the while, till it starts bubbling away. The sauce should start to thicken now. To this, add in some pomodoro sauce. Merge it well. Sprinkle all the herbs, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Now add in the pasta. Toss. Sprinkle cheese and torn basil leaves.

    Serve hot with toasted bread!

    Note: The idea of putting in the veggies first, then the flour and finally the milk – to make white sauce is fool proof. The sauce comes out creamy always. No knots. No frantic stirring or mixing required, that you would normally do while making white sauce.

    Note: Heavy milk or milk with some cream would naturally result in a creamier(read: yummier) sauce.

    Caters to all taste buds

    Caters to all taste buds

    It is really your call to garnish with the right amount of cheese. You will know best how much is too much, but then again, will you? 😉

    If someone ever tells you that you put too much parmesan cheese on your pasta, stop talking to them.
    You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

    Beet-Walnut Pesto, Pink Penne Pesto Pasta and a Sandwich

    Roasted Beet Garlic Pesto - no cheese

    Roasted Beet Garlic Pesto – no cheese

    I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve been told to make my posts shorter and put one recipes at a time. But I still end up combining 2-3 dishes and presenting it to you. Ah! Pains of a stubborn unlearning mind.

    Pink Penne in Pesto Sauce

    Pink Penne in Pesto Sauce

    I do have a reason for my repetitive obdurate intentional attempts of long posts – One recipe and its versatility. Like, the guacamole post showed that apart from the dip you could make a sandwich too or the garlic roasted potatoes make for a very good and filling wrap. Hence my loooong posts.

    Fair enough? I know, NO. 😉 Well, I hope this post is one of the last few of the combined recipes posts!

    Roasted Beets and Garlic

    Roasted Beets and Garlic

    Roasted Beets along with garlic, just rubbed with a little salt and olive oil makes a very very yummy eat!
    I popped one in my mouth, and the flavor was fresh, juicy and succulent. I think, this, on its own is one great way to eat the root.
    But – I saved the roasted way for another day, as now I craved for some gorgeous pasta.

    Simple Flavourful

    Simple Flavourful

    This bookmarked recipe of mine was waiting to be tried and tested. With my little daughter in school, husband traveling and my sudden pasta yearnings, the day seemed perfect to experiment.
    I slightly tweaked the recipe according to the ingredients available at hand and of course my mood.

    Multipurpose Dip

    Multipurpose Dip

    Beet Walnut Pesto

    To make a cup of pesto –

    Ingredients

    • 2 medium sized beets, washed, peeled and sliced
    • 4-5 cloves of garlic
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 8-10 walnut pieces, less than a handful
    • Juice of 1/2 a lime – varies according to taste
    • salt to taste
    • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese – optional (I did not use any as I did not have at hand, still the pesto was yumm)

    Method

    Rub a little olive oil and salt on the sliced beets along with the garlic. Spread on a baking tray and bake at 175 C for 15 minutes or so, till all the juices are released and beets are soft. Alternatively, you could saute them in a frying pan with little olive oil.

    Once cool, put the roasted veggies in a mixer, add parmesan, walnuts, lime juice and salt. Grind to a semi smooth paste. Use water if required. Add olive oil. Mix well. Use as required.

    The verdict:

    The color stuns you, the nutty taste lingers for long and the health quotient gives you enough reason to digg in for more. So with the pink pesto, some corn and fresh basil, I made magic with my Penne.

    Basil and Corn  add to the magic

    Basil and Corn add to the magic

    Pink Penne Pasta

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup penne pasta or nay type of pasta – boiled al dente
    • 1/4 cup corn kernels
    • a little butter or olive oil
    • 2 tsp plain flour
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2-3 tbsp beet pesto
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • red chili flakes and oregano as per your taste
    • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped

    Method

    In a pan, heat oil or butter, saute corn. Once done, add flour to it. Let it coat the kernels. Mix in milk and keep stirring till the milk thickens. Now add salt, pepper, oregano, red chili flakes and pesto. Mix well. Stir in the penne. Then garnish with chopped basil leaves. Enjoy it hot!

    How easy was that?

    Note: Feel Free to add any veggies of your choice – broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, onions and pepper… list is endless.

    Pesto n Grilled Veggie Sandwich

    Pesto n Grilled Veggie Sandwich

    Pesto Grilled Veggie Sandwich

    I sautéed some thinly sliced veggies like onions, peppers, carrots and mushrooms, along with salt and pepper powder. Generously applied beet pesto to 2 slices of bread, placed the sautéed veggies and a slice of cheese on one pesto smeared bread. Covered it with the other bread. Grill with little olive oil or butter. Done!
    Best Enjoyed with ketch up and hot sauce.

    Nutty texture

    Nutty texture

    Ideas to add beet pesto to your food –

    1. Pasta
    2. Sandwiches
    3. Wraps with cheese and veggies
    4. As a dip with crudities or toasted bread or corn chips
    5. on crostinis and on canapes.

    If you can think of any other way, do drop a line.

    Egg Free Vegetable Lasagne

    Last time I made vegetable lasagne I put up a very enticing picture on FB, and teased friends and foodies to name the dish. But the spoiler was that I conveniently forgot to click the end result.
    So no picture, hence no recipe, hence no post.
    I should not have done that – according to my sister. First tempt with alluring sights, tickle the taste buds, and then leave them all high and dry. So not done.

    Vegetable Lasagna

    Vegetable Lasagna

    But fret no more.
    Today dear sisters, friends and foodies, I bring you Vegetable Lasagne made with the same amount of love, excitement and fervor.
    What I have here is a vegetarian version of this supremely delicious dish. Interleaving layers of pasta, marinara, sautéed veggies, spinach bechamel, cashew paneer sauce and Parmigiano-Reggiano makes this pasta DIVINE and of course very fattening.

    Ragu Rich

    Ragu Rich

    I made this dish with so much of soul, that I think if I had to have it on a regular basis, I would actually puncture my very own heart.
    But you know nature is bountiful, caring and very concerned. The things that could damage you she makes them more difficult to obtain.

    Making lasagne itself is not very arduous, but putting together all the contents is. So you will find yourself making it once in a while, but make it with a lot of love, butter and cheese. 🙂

    Need a bite

    Need a bite

    Most Lasagne recipes have egg in them, so when I found a vegan veggie recipe I raced to save it.
    Though not vegan, I have the vegetarianism intact here. An amazing amalgam of paneer, cashews, milk and olive oil, infused with garlic was a new for me. But it worked like no other. My good guess is this heavenly cashew-paneer sauce is an apt replacement for the egg. But I could be mistaken, so holler if you find me wrong.

    The layering is a breeze and actually if you have a little helper around you, it can get fun too! The 6 year old hands that assisted me in the layering, were so darn careful and meticulous, that I had my eyebrows perennially raised.

    Outdoor Lunch

    Outdoor Lunch

    Lasagne is basically layering once you have all the components ready. So, I am going to make it easy for you:

    First, the individual components needed:

    1. Pasta sheets, I used 8 square ones – to layer 4 times.
    2. Ragu/marinara sauce/Pizza sauce
    3. saut̩ed veggies РI used colored bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and carrots
    4. Spinach Bechamel/Spinach White sauce
    5. Cashew-Paneer sauce
    6. Loads of cheese – Mozarella or Parmigiano-Reggiano
    7. Torn basil leaves – optional

    Individual recipe to each follows after this:

    Layering:

    In a well greased baking pan, spread spoonful of marinara, then lay the pasta sheets so as to cover the pan properly. Now spread ragu/marinara again, topped with cashew paneer sauce, then layer the veggies, now the spinach bechamel, some cheese, drop a few basil leaves here and there. Now lay the pasta sheets again, and repeat all over again. End with a nice layer of cheese and bake at 180 C for 15-20 minutes or till the cheese melts and little brown spots appear.

    So, in essence: Ragu–>pasta sheet–>ragu–>cashew paneer sauce–>veggies–>spinach bechamel–>cheese–> basil leaves–>pasta sheets–>ragu……

    The layering

    The layering

    You don’t really have to follow any specific order, but when you have a guideline it simply helps. Feel free to experiment.

    Now for the Individual recipes:

    Boil the pasta sheets according to the instructions on the box. We like it al dente, but if you want you could cook them till nice and soft. A word of caution: advisable to drop in your sheets one by one into a pot of boiling hot water, laced with oil and salt. Using a fork, keep them from sticking to one another. Else you might have one sticky mess. Once done, remove the sheets from hot water, keep aside.

    1. Ragu/Marinara:

    Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil, saute 5-7 pounded garlic cloves, throw in a chopped onion. Saute till pink. Now add blanched 5-6 ripe red tomatoes, along with 3-4 dried red chilies. Stir in salt. Cover and forget about it for at least 20 minutes( actually give it a stir once in a while). Once the oil appears on the sides and the raw smell of tomatoes has vanished. Throw in 2 tsp of oregano, 1 tsp pepper powder. Run a hand blender through it, to get a slightly coarse sauce. You’re marinara is ready.

    Marinara/Ragu

    Marinara/Ragu

    2. Sauteed Veggies:

    In a wok, heat 1 tsp oil. Saute 1 cup sliced colored bell peppers, 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms, 1/2 cup sliced carrots and a few florets of broccoli. Once 3/4th done. Sprinkle pepper powder and salt. Keep aside.

    3. Spinach Bechamel:

    Bechamel is nothing but white sauce. To make this, heat 1 tsp butter, lightly saute 1 tbsp plain flour or whole wheat flour. Add a glass of milk, stir vigorously to avoid lumps. To this creamy sauce, add a cup full of chopped blanched spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Keep aside.

    4. Cashew Paneer Sauce:

    Grind 1/2 cup cashews, 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 cup milk to a smooth paste. Mix in 1 cup crumbled paneer. In another pan, heat a small blob of butter, saute 3-4 garlic cloves and a small chopped onion. Add the cashew paneer mix. Bring it all together. Season with salt and pepper.

    The tempting insides

    The tempting insides

    I have altered my original style of sharing a recipe, but this is all I could think of, to make it easier for you to follow. I hope the above guideline helps. If you have doubts, queries or my writing simply baffles you, please drop in a line. Will gladly respond.

    So, lunch was ready, the table was set and Mr Moody had to walk in and change the venue.
    Outdoors it was. Three people took to two garden chairs and a very swingy swing. This kind of food requires a very perfectly set table, some chilled wine and very sweet talk – I whined. But a slight breeze, soft clouds hiding a very playful sun, a sprightly 6 year old swinging a rickety swing, a tired man sprawled on a very comfortable chair, but all digging in with such vigor that I stop complaining and let the pasta do the talking.

    Digg in

    Digg in

    Paneer Corn Mushroom Cilantro Whole Wheat Pizza

    Simple tastes yet a curious palette. Fond of familiar comfort food yet experimental with myriad cuisines. Happily digg in to something alien and innovative but satiated only with those last bites of conventional native usual viand. Sounds primitive?

    Pizza with Indian Flavors - paneer, corn and cilantro

    Pizza with Indian Flavors – paneer, corn and cilantro

    I married a simple man. He likes dal rice and will be happy if a papad is added. The same guy never shies away trying something new and bold. He is experimental but his taste buds are immensely hard to please. If he doesn’t like something he will not mince his words to say so. He eats without creating a fuss partly because it is already made and he hates to waste food and partly because he loves me 😉 but later declares full throttle, that he will not eat that particular thing again.

    He prefers familiar food. Something he has grown up with. Well, his case is not as severe as a friend of ours who even after having a full blown chinese meal wouldn’t be satisfied unless he had a small bowl of curd rice. 🙂

    Yummy Slice

    Yummy Slice

    Just 2 posts back, I tried my hand at this wonderful 100% whole wheat pizza dough, which was a fabulous sunday lunch for all of us at home. A simple margherita with astounding results.

    Happily gobbled in no time, husband craved for something closer to home…No basil-shasil, lots of garden fresh veggies and a whole lot of coriander/cilantro leaves to garnish. The guy is in love with coriander leaves from time immemorial. He likes it in everything (except desserts). Daal, sabzis, soup/stew, pav bhaji, bread, rice or in parathas!

    He told me to hide the basil, and get the coriander leaves out. Along came the corn paneer and mushrooms with a wee bit of tandoori masala to tantalize his austere palette.

    One for all

    One for all

    The Recipe:

    To make 1 medium sized pizza:

    Ingredients

    • 100 % whole wheat pizza dough
    • 2-3 tbsp pizza sauce or simple ketchup
    • 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
    • 1/2 cup chopped button mushrooms
    • 1 big onion, chopped
    • 4-5 tbsp grated paneer
    • 1 tbsp grated mozzarella cheese
    • 1/2 tsp oil
    • 2 tsp tandoori masala
    • salt to taste
    • 2-3 tbsp fresh chopped coriander leaves to garnish
    • seasoning and red chili flakes – to serve with

    Method

    In a pan, heat oil. Saute onions. Once pinkish, add corn and chopped mushrooms along with a little bit of tandoori masala and salt. Takes hardly 3-4 minutes. Keep aside.

    Roll out your dough into desired thickness on a pre oiled parchment paper. Spread the pizza sauce or ketch up on it. Spread the corn mushroom mix on it evenly. Top with grated paneer and little bit of cheese.

    Ready for the oven

    Ready for the oven

    Bake at 200 degree celsius till the base slightly browns. Don’t wait for the paneer to brown, it won’t.
    Once out of the oven. Sprinkle seasoning and chopped coriander leaves. Let is sit for 2-3 minutes – hardest to do. Then… Attack!

    Right out of the oven

    Right out of the oven

    So, I chopped. He topped. We baked and then we devoured with such frenzy right on the kitchen top, that Milee definitely puts a check on the crazy parents box. The delightful bites with very Indian flavors won me over so much that I had to put this recipe up for you guys to try.

    Healthy Indian flavored Pizza

    Healthy Indian flavored Pizza

    Milee did not care much for this mix mash of punjabi-italian slice. She was well fed with her simple margherita. But her amused, curious and ‘u guys are mad o wot’ look did seal the deal for a perfect end to a Sunday Brunch.

    Thin Crust Classic Margherita – 100% whole wheat!!

    An impromptu picnic at the very beautiful Kanheri Caves(Mumbai), relentless rain, a homely sweet birthday party, hot steaming cups of chai, some sweet succulent corn on the cobs and a very runny nose – the weekend just zooms away. Before it fully whooshed past, I grabbed the chance to make some very healthy crisp thin-crust Margherita!

    Divine Bite

    Divine Bite

    A confession – I have never been a fan of pizza – don’t worry, I’m real.
    When we were growin up, pizza hut made its presence felt loud and clear. I still remember my first bite, the when and the where… a brand new sleek looking pizza shop on Cunningham Road. An afternoon out with friends. We- a bunch of teens, eager to try the enticing cheesy gooey triangle, with barely 100 bucks in our tiny pockets. All smiles and chatty till I have my first bite! And oh! how I disliked the doughy mass gulped with gallons of coke. I was so upset – (more with the fact that I just wasted my precious money on something so highly distasteful!).

    Tempting triangles

    Tempting triangles

    Seven years back, a tiny quaint little pizzeria in Times Square of NYC transformed my charred taste buds. Super thin crust – fresh simple ingredients, incredible flavors and the fact that I could eat with my fingers… (pick,fold and bite!) was a revelation to me. That one huge slice satiated and more than made up for all the years that I had given it all up for. Since then I have been eating this ultimate deliciousness but of course on my terms and conditions 🙂

    Fresh Basil to garnish

    Fresh Basil to garnish

    This(Blogging) wonderful medium has introduced me to new people, new cuisines, awesome photography and of course stupendous new recipes! I stumbled upon this very enticing formula to make whole wheat pizza sans the refinery, using very little ingredients and emphasizing the simplicity of the procedure. I had to bookmark it. With ingredients readily available in your pantry, a classic thin crust margherita can be created, all you need is – Time.

    So simple

    So simple

    The Recipe:

    Ingredients

    For the pizza dough:

    • 2 and 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
    • 2 and 1/2 tsp yeast
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • salt according to taste
    • luke warm water
    • 1 tbsp olive oil

    For the Assembly:

    • 6-8 tbsp of pizza sauce
    • 8-9 tbsp of grated mozzarella cheese
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • chopped sweet basil to garnish

    Method

    For the Dough:
    Proof the yeast according to instructions on the pack. I have given a small tip at the end of the post. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, salt and 1 tsp sugar. Make a well in the center, add olive oil, proofed yeast and luke warm water to bind. Get all of it together. Knead for at least 5-6 minutes. Then in a well oiled bowl, place the kneaded dough and cover with a plastic film. Let the dough rise to double the volume. This takes approximately 2 hours.

    For the Assembly:
    Once done, preheat your oven to 250 degree C for 5-6 mins.
    Remove the cling film, punch the dough and grab a handful of it, and using extra flour roll it out or spread with your fingers to form a pizza base. Carefully pick the base and lay on a pre oiled parchment paper. Brush little olive oil on the base. Spread your desired quantity of pizza sauce and loads of grated mozzarella.

    Carefully pick the parchment paper, place in the pre heated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes at 200 degree C till the edges brown and cheese melted.

    Once done, remove. Stay for 5 minutes. Sprinkle chopped basil.

    Serve with seasoning n tabasco.

    Scrumptious Slice

    Scrumptious Slice

    Proofing the yeast: I dissolved 1/2 tsp sugar in 1/2 cup luke warm water. Then added 2 and 1/2 tsp of active dry yeast. Mixed it vigorously, till a pasty structure was formed. Covered and kept it aside for 10 minutes. After the said time, the yeast was all frothy and bubbled up. Ready to be used. Sorry I forgot to click it, I was way too excited to get going with the dough.

    Classic Easy Peasy Pizza Sauce: Heat olive oil, saute garlic(5-6 pods), 1 chopped onion, 3-4 dry red chilies, and 5-6 round fat ripe red tomatoes(skin peeled), along with 1/4 tsp sugar and salt to taste. Simmer for at least 30 minutes till the oil leaves the sides. Cool. Coarsely grind. Add oregano and 1 tbsp chopped basil. Ready to use!

    No cook super simple Pizza sauce: 1 cup tomato ketch up, 1 tbsp butter, 3 minced garlic, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp red chili flakes, salt and pepper to taste. Combine all together, microwave for a minute or two. Mix well. Use!! Its good.. seriously. When you don’t have time to make the original, this works like a dream.

    Link to the original: http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2013/05/100-whole-wheat-pizza-dough.html

    Simple comfort food

    Simple comfort food

    No sauce Broccoli Ziti Pasta

    Simple No sauce, broccoli ziti pasta

    Simple No sauce, broccoli ziti pasta

    No cream, no sauce, simple wholesome, scrumptious dinner of healthy nutritious broccoli and al dente ziti, mildly spiced with oregano and flavored with loads of fresh chopped basil! Oh! so yumm!

    Basil is my most favorite herb. I love the smell, the taste, the leaf.. ‘the’ everything about this highly aromatic herb. Inclusion of the Indian tulsi transforms my mundane dinner to something totally exotic. Basil goes bad pretty easily when exposed to refrigerated conditions as well as summer heat. So, I intend to grow it at home, but am a little weary of trying it out. I have absolutely zero clue about gardening and growing produce, and would hate it if any living thing died/wilted or withered away under my watch. So still treading this road with caution.

    Easy and Quick.

    Easy and Quick.

    Italian food is comfort food for many. The creaminess of the alfredo. The tart-spice of the arrabiatta. The highly piquant pesto or the amazingly sublime tomato cream. Choice of sauce is not hard to find. But when you whim for something light and natural, with fresh flavors from herbs and vegetables, this pasta is right out there for you.

    Earthy broccoli and perfectly boiled pasta, sauteed in light garlic olive oil, enveloped in aromatic herbs and spices, sprinkled with just a wee bit of parmesan. Oh! you could not ask for any sauce to coat your meat.

    Grab a bite.

    Grab a bite.

    The recipe:

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup pasta, any kind, boiled al dente
    • 1/2 – 3/4 cup broccoli florets, washed
    • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2-3 tbsp basil leaves, chopped
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tsp chili flakes or 2 minced fresh green chilies
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese – optional

    Method

    Heat oil in a skillet. Throw in the minced garlic. Saute for just about a minute. Time to put in the broccoli florets. Saute on high till almost done. Toss the pasta in, along with chili flakes, oregano, salt and pepper. Toss. Blend in the chopped basil and parmesan. Give it one final toss. Serve hot with toasted bread and something cold to sip on.

    Divine, isn’t it?

    Sublime Suppers

    Sublime Suppers

    Pomodoro Sauce

    Pomodoro Sauce

    Pomodoro Sauce

    Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. This quick tomato sauce can be used in varied ways, as pizza / Pasta sauces or on crostinis or for your poached eggs. The uses are many. It is very similar to Marinara sauce, but only thicker but still liquidy. It feels a lot like minced tomatoes in your mouth rather than the chuncks you get with marinara sauce. It’s cooked a little longer so it’s darker in color than the marinara.

    I have tweaked the original by adding onions and a little bit of italian spices. I find this version tastier and better suited for Indian palettes. Liberal use of this chunky tomato sauce in pastas and on breads has made it a house hold favorite.

    Tomatoes simmered in Olive oil

    Tomatoes simmered in Olive oil

    Real Simple and quick to make, you can keep it for 3 days refrigerated and for more than a month in the freezer:

    Ingredients

    • 5-6 red ripe tomatoes
    • 2 small onions, minced
    • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
    • 7-8 basil leaves, chopped
    • salt to taste
    • 1/4 tsp sugar
    • 2 tsp red chili flakes
    • 2 tsp olive oil

    Method

    Make 4 deep cuts on the tomatoes, taking care not to slice it completely. Put all of them in hot boiling water for a couple of minutes. Once blanched, remove from water, peel the skin away. Roughly chop up the tomatoes.

    Now, in a skillet, heat olive oil, saute minced garlic and onions till translucent. Now to this pinkish mix, add the chopped tomatoes and sprinkle the italian seasoning, red chili flakes, salt and sugar. Cover and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. Repeated checking to ensure it doesn’t burn at the bottom should be taken.

    Once done, the sauce will be thicker with a deep red hue. To this add the chopped basil leaves. Basil imparts this amazing aroma, which makes me dizzy with love of food..:)

    Now, u could run in the blender once for a finer paste or use as it is. I like to blend it coarsely when using as a spread for pizzas and breads.

    Varied uses of this tangy tomato sauce

    Varied uses of this tangy tomato sauce

    Tip: cool the sauce completely before storing in.

    Vegetable Au Gratin

    I know, what you guys are thinking… another vegetable dish!? Yea, I love my veggies… I was a good kid. For me, anything tastes better when combined with sauteed veggies(Desserts are excluded of course!;))

    Chili flakes on Cheesy gratin!

    Chili flakes on Cheesy gratin!

    Exotic vegetables in a light creamy milky sauce, mildly flavored with herbs, topped with cheese and bread crumbs, baked to golden brown perfection — enjoyed with garlic bread and something cold to sip on!

    creamy veggies baked to golden brown.

    creamy veggies baked to golden brown.

    yummm!

    yummm!

    So here’s the recipe:

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup assorted exotic veggies, diced and parboiled — I used carrot, broccoli, beans, corn, baby corn and peas.
    • 1 small onion, cubed
    • 1/4 cup assorted colored bell peppers, cubed
    • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour or refined flour
    • 2-3 cups of milk
    • 1 tbsp thick cream
    • 1 spoon olive oil
    • 2 tsp italian seasoning or mixed herbs
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
    • 4 tbsp grated cheese
    • 2-3 tbsp bread crumbs

    Method

    In a large pan, heat olive oil. Lightly saute the onions and bell peppers. Once 3/4th done, add the flour(whole wheat or refined). Allow the flour to coat the veggies, after a minute, pour the milk, stirring all the time, to make a white creamy sauce. Stir in the cream. When the sauce is slightly thicker, add the parboiled veggies and season with herbs, salt and pepper powder.

    Now transfer the contents to a baking dish, spread cheese and bread crumbs over the saucy mix. Bake at 150 degree centigrade till the cheese melts and turns a golden brown hue.

    Once done, digg in along with toasted bread….. haha, like it needs to be specified..;)

    PS: garlic lovers can throw in a pod or two before the onions while sautéing. Garlic lends this beautiful aroma, which reminds every foodie…that its ultimate italian that you’re indulging in!

    Some Garlic Bread to go along with....

    Some Garlic Bread to go along with….

    I love my cheese!

    I love my cheese!

    Make, Bake and Let me know — one last loving look :

     oooh... yum!!

    oooh… yum!!

    Stir Fry Penne

    When in a mood for some fresh vegetables, and mild spices without compromising on the carbs, I have a simple light recipe for you. Al dente pasta, along with fresh slightly sautéed veggies seasoned with oregano and pepper. No cheese, no creamy sauce. Almost a salad, but a salad with some meat!

    Stir Fry Penne

    Stir Fry Penne

    Substitute the penne with any pasta of your choice. Add veggies according to your taste. Combine in minimal olive oil and italian seasoning, and some fresh basil leaves. I love basil leaves in my pasta or Thai food. This simple herb transforms an entire dish with its amazing flavor and fragrance. Watch the wonders on your taste buds!

    A colorful ensemble!

    A colorful ensemble!

    To make 2 servings:

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup Penne, or any pasta of your choice, boiled al dente
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 5-6 pods of garlic, minced
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1 cup assorted veggies, I took – bell peppers, broccoli, baby corn and mushrooms
    • 6-7 leaves of basil, torn
    • 1 tsp italian seasoning
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • red chili flakes according to taste

    Method

    In a wok or kadai, heat oil. Saute garlic and onions till they turn translucent. Then throw in the other veggies. Saute on high, till almost done. Now add the boiled pasta, along with seasonings, pepper, salt and red chili flakes. Garnish with basil leaves.

    See! that’s it. You’re done! the result is a yummy light pasta salad. Satiates the hungry and those craving for a filling yet light meal.

    Crisp veggies and al dente penne.

    Crisp veggies and al dente penne.

    For all the men out there, who have never ventured into the kitchen, but would like to woo your girl with some great food. This recipe is for you! Simple yet Flavorful.

    Enjoy with a drink

    Enjoy with a drink