Category Archives: Italiano

Cauliflower Bake

Cauliflower/Phool Gobi/Hoo-kosu/Poo-kosu – one of my favourite veggies right from childhood is something that can cheer me up in no time. Do you agree that some veggies cheer you up, while some others depress you? Yeah, so cauliflower is one of my personal anti-depressants (we’ll talk about the depressing veggies some other time, not now). After a long and tiring day with my students at college couple of days back, I was wishing for a Cheering Charm from the world of Harry Potter! How I wish they were for real ;)

This baked dish is pretty easy and takes just about 25-30 minutes to make. Give just another 5 minutes to prepare the Garlic bread (since your oven is already hot from the bake, no need to pre-heat!), and dinner is fixed in a good half hour! Nice eh? Perfect for weekday dinners, when you’re tired and need something yummy to make you feel better.

Ingredients:

  • Cauliflower – 1 no (large-sized; cut into bite-sized florets and soaked in salt-water)
  • Onion – 2 nos (large-sized; grated/minced)
  • Tomatoes – 2 nos (large-sized; grated/minced)
  • Ginger – 1″ long piece, freshly grated
  • Garlic – 5-6 pods, grated/minced
  • Green chillies – 3 nos, finely chopped/minced
  • Sour cream/Hung-curd – 4-5 tbsps
  • Coriander/Cilantro – a handful, finely chopped
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 2 tsps
  • Cheddar Cheese – 1/4 cup

Procedure:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 230C/450F.
  • In a wok, heat the oil and saute the onions, ginger and garlic till the onions are cooked tender.
  • Add the green chillies and tomatoes. Cook till tomatoes are mushy.
  • Add salt and cook another minute or two.
  • Drain the cauliflower of all water and add to the wok. Stir well and cook covered for about 10 minutes, till the cauliflower pieces are firm but near done.
  • Stir in the coriander and remove from flame.
  • Add the sour cream and stir well.
  • Transfer to a microwave-safe dish. Top with cheese and bake  till the cheese gets bubbly, about 10-12 minutes. Give it a standing time of another 3-5 minutes.
  • Serve hot with freshly prepared Garlic bread. Lip-smacking!

Pasta alla Marinara

Since I’m not keeping too well, I wanted to keep dinner simple last night. Was bored of the daal-chawal which I had overdone in the last 2-3 days. If I’d served the mister anymore varieties of daal, he’d have kicked me without much ado!

I quickly whipped up some fusilli pasta with marinara sauce and it sure did please the palettes, considering I had hardly spent about 15-20 minutes to make it.

Ingredients:

  • Fusilli pasta – 500 gms
  • Onions – 2 nos (large sized; diced)
  • Tomatoes – 10-12 nos (medium/large sized; super finely chopped)
  • Garlic – 7-8 pods
  • Oregano – to taste
  • Black/White pepper – 2 tsps (alter to suit your taste)
  • Red Chilli flakes – 2 tsps
  • Lemon pepper (optional) – 2 tsps (to add to the tangy-ness)
  • Basil – 2-3 leaves
  • Salt – to taste
  • Olive oil – 2-3 tbsps

Serves: 4 persons (of moderate appetite)

Procedure:

  • Set the pasta to cook in a wide, thick bottomed vessel. Add salt and couple of drops of oil (any oil should do) while cooking the pasta so it won’t stick together when done. You will need to cook the pasta to just about 75%, or al dente,  since it will get fully cooked later in the oven. Drain water, rinse once in cold water and drain. Set aside.
  • To get started on the marinara sauce, grind together the onion and garlic to a fine paste.
  • In a wok, heat the oil. Add the onion-garlic paste and saute till the raw, pungent taste is gone.
  • Add the super finely chopped tomatoes and salt. Cook covered for 2-3 minutes on medium heat, till mushy.
  • Mash down the tomatoes with fork or masher; not too much mashing, just a little.
  • Add the black/white pepper, red chilli flakes, lemon pepper (if using), basil and oregano and stir well to mix uniformly.
  • Allow to cook on a medium flame for about 5-7 minutes. Keep stirring in between to ensure the sauce doesn’t get burnt at the bottom of the pan.
  • Remove from flame.
  • Transfer the cooked pasta to a microwave-safe dish. Top with the marinara sauce (don’t stir yet) and microwave on high for 3-5 minutes depending on the power of your microwave.
  • Remove from the microwave, stir well with 2 wide, flat spoons so that the pasta is well covered in the marinara sauce.
  • Transfer required portions to serving plates. Garnish with more oregano/chives and serve hot with/without garlic bread.

Im sending this to Jyoti’s ‘Pasta Party‘ at Panch Pakwan.

Garlic Bread Exotica

I’ve been having this post sit in my drafts for quite some time now. I’d forgotten all about it and then, a close friend asked for the recipe for Garlic Bread, so I managed to look for it and finally hit the ‘Publish’ button! I do have the recipe to a less sinful and simpler version here. However, if you are in that indulgent mood which we all get into once in a while, feel free to give this a try :D.

Ingredients:

  • French bread loaf – 1 long loaf or 2-3 small ones (like the ones they use for hot-dogs/subs)
  • Butter – 50 gms (softened, to make spreading on the bread easy)
  • Garlic pods – 5-6 (pounded or crushed to a paste)
  • Oregano herbs – 1/2 tsp
  • Chilli flakes (optional) – 1/2 tsp (adjust to suit your taste)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Cilantro/Coriander (optional) – a small fistful (finely chopped)
  • Grated Mozzarella Cheese – 2 tbsps (for each slice)

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 C (390 F).
  • Slit the french bread horizontally and keep aside. (If using the very long loaves to make this, also cut into sizable lengths)
  • Get the spread ready by mixing together the butter, crushed garlic pods, oregano herbs and salt.
  • Apply the spread lavishly on each cut slice of the bread.
  • Sprinkle the cheese on the bread once you have applied the spread on the bread.
  • Sprinkle the chilly flakes on the cheese, and lastly the coriander.
  • Bake for about 6-8 minutes or until each slice is toasted to a light and crisp golden yellow. The time needed for the garlic bread to get done varies in each microwave oven since each has a different power. Adjust the time according to your oven.
  • Allow to stand for a minute before you take them out of the oven and enjoy the hot, crisp and gooey garlic bread exotica! :-D

Spinach-Corn Bake

This is another dish that went in for the potluck party…one of my personal, all time favourites. I love to have it straight from the oven, along with garlic bread.

I did not get to take a picture with the final layer of mashed potatoes on. If you have any queries, please do get in touch with me.

IMG_1173

Ingredients:

  • Onions – 4 nos (medium sized, finely chopped)
  • Garlic – 10 pods (finely chopped; the quantity can be altered to suit your taste)
  • Spinach – 6 bunches (medium sized; cleaned, dried and finely chopped)
  • American Sweet Corn kernels – 250 gms (cooked with salt)
  • Potatoes – 5 nos (medium sized; cooked and mashed to a smooth paste. Add little salt and keep aside)
  • Mozzarella Cheese – 250 gms (grated)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oregano – 1-2 tsps (to suit your taste)
  • Cooking oil – 2 tsps

Serves: 4 persons (main course)

Method:

  • Pre-heat the microwave to 180 deg C (350 deg F)
  • In a wok, heat the oil and sauté the onions and garlic on a low flame, taking care not to burn the onions. After cooking, the onions should be tender looking.
  • Add the salt and sauté for another minute.
  • Add the spinach and allow to cook till the spinach has lost its raw flavour (do not use any water).
  • Add the cooked corn kernels, stir well.
  • Lastly, add the oregano and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove from flame and add 1/4 of the grated cheese. Stir well.
  • Transfer to a microwaveable dish. Spread the remaining 3/4th part of grated cheese evenly over the spinach-corn mixture, ensuring that the entire surface is covered.
  • Now, make the top-most and final layer with mashed potato. Evenly spread out the salted mashed potato over the spinach-corn mixture, fully covering the entire surface. Its like packing the entire dish with the mashed potato.
  • Dot with butter and bake at 180 deg C for about 15-20 minutes. You will end up having a slightly crusty surface with soft insides.
  • Serve hot with garlic bread and enjoy the cheesy explosions in your mouth! :-D

(Ensure each serving gets a spoonful from the top layer to the bottom. If just the top layer is scraped off, it wont do much for your taste buds)