Friday, January 19, 2007

Dil Mangta -- Pasta

I am not a big Pasta fan, at least not the Italian way, give me Desi Pasta (if there is anything like it) and I would happily lick my plate. Yeah wipe that surprise off your face, there are people like me out there. I have had Pasta at Olive Garden, their soup and salad is great but the pasta, naaaaah nothing that I could fall for, then onto Macaroni Grill, their option of “Make Your Own Pasta” sounds great and the creation that I finally make is something that will send the Italians rolling their eyes at me(thank god the waitresses are much more tolerant). Maybe because I have had Pasta at only these chain places and not at an authentic Italian Bistro, I refrain from saying “Mamma Mia” when I see Pasta

No one would believe this and there would be more rolling of eyes, but the best Pasta I have eaten to date is in a restaurant called “Casa Picola” in Bangalore, India, you should eat it to believe it.
The next best pasta happened at home when D discovered Barilla Restaurant Creations, two jars that you mix to get the resultant sauce. He tried sugo alla napoletana and the pasta was divine. But sadly the Shop Rites and Stop & Shops (local grocery stores) carry it no longer and I think it is available only in select stores or online. So that had to go to.
Even S my lil’ one loves Macaroni Cheese and Noodles but Pasta in Sauce, no way, she claims that’s Pasta gone dirty !!!

So I end up Cooking Pasta like I would do Noodles and we all love it, no please, I see that smirk on your face , but I tell you there are people like me out there.
And then I found this Pasta in Mahanadi’s blog. The great cook that she is, trust her to throw a nice Indian touch to this dish. Get the Original Recipe Here.
I liked the idea of cumin and tomato paste as the base for pasta sauce. But the similarity ends there, almost… I did not have red bell peppers and did not want to use peanuts so I omitted them and added some of my own stuff to make it a little more healthy. But I loved what happened, the bold flavor of the cumin and dry red chillis made it smell just right. I also loved the blended soy chunks I used, they added a thickness to the sauce, something that would have happened if I added sausage


Pasta in Tomato Cumin Sauce

What You Need

Whole Wheat Pasta ~ 3 cup. I used Barilla Plus Rotini
Soy Chunks ~ ½ cup . I used Nutrela Soy Chunks
Tomato ~ 1 and ½ finely chopped alternatively use Cherry Tomatoes
Tomato Juice from canned Tomatoes ~ 2 tbsp
Garlic ~ 2 cloves
Dry Red Chilli ~ 4
Cumin Seeds ~ 1 tsp
Mixed Vegetables ~ ½ cup. Other veggies should also do.

How I Did It
Soak soy chunks in water and microwave for 1 minute or more till they are soft. Let them cool
Meanwhile chop tomatoes and garlic
In blender add soy granules, tomatoes, garlic, cumin seeds, dry red chillies, 2 tbsp tomato juice and make a fine paste
Cook pasta al dente according to instructions on the box.
Rinse cooked pasta with cold water and toss with 1 tsp of Olive Oil
Heat Olive Oil in a Frying pan
Add 2 tbsp of onion paste
When the onions turn pinkish brown add the prepared paste and sauté till the sauce is cooked
Add about ½ cup of mixed vegetables. I use frozen mixed veggies which I Cooked in the microwave. You can use steamed veggies if you want.
When the veggies are cooked add the pasta.
Mix till the sauce coats the pasta well
The Rotini pasta retain the spices in their crevices and I like that. Served it with a home made strawberry-banana smoothie to offset the red chillis. Though to be truthful this was not at all hot for my spice level
For my daughter, omitted the red chillies and made the sauce

The good thing about this was that a plateful makes a hearty meal and the way I did it it was a quick mid week dinner. Thanks to Indira but you should really follow her recipe as I am sure that would be much more tastier.
This also goes to my blogger friend Coffee's Monthly Blog Patrol, see you there.
Trivia:Pasta existed for thousands of years before anybody ever thought of putting tomatoe sauce on it. Cortez, a Spanish explorer, brought tomatoes back to Europe from Mexico in 1519. Even then, nearly 200 years passed before spaghetti served with tomatoe sauce made its way into Italian kitchens.


  1. Pasta got dirty! Ha ha ha! Had a hearty laugh. BTW adding soy chunks is a great idea! Perfect entry for MBP!

  2. soy granules, never would have dared!

  3. Hey! Nice entry.A great write up.History and info was excellent.
    I am the opposite.'Don't mess with Itlaian Pasta' kind!:D:D
    Enjoy and have a great weekend!:))

  4. Sandeepa, nice reading your Pasta story, deja vu all over again. But besides me everyone in the house like the so called authentic pasta but I prefer mine Indainfied.

  5. Hi Sandeepa

    Just blogrolled this blog. I like all the recipes here. Cheers!

  6. Hey sandeepa, nice entry.Never tries soy chunks before, don't know kinda off on it.Abt AFAM,No problem, post it t'row.I will be doing the round up on 25th only.So you got time..Thnaks again for the entry.

  7. hi sandeepa..
    pasta is really looking tatsy..even thiogh u are not a big fan of it u have prepared it very nice...:-))

  8. Hahaha!! you did sound like my husband... he always wants pasta home made..with Indian touch or else macaroni grill as u said u can create ur own pasta. I made lasana once and it did come out well.

  9. I love pasta- especially the Indian style ones...I put LOTS of dhania-jeera powder to sauteed onions,canned tomato chunks and jalapenos...and that's it. Just make it like you would make a simple curry. That cumin-coriander powder makes all the difference! Try that sometime.

    Your pasta looks great..what a nice entry.

  10. Pasta going dirty!!!!!! LOL LOL LOL!!!!!! I cant stop laughing at this!!!!! Your lil one is the cutest!!! and so is the mum :D

    Thanks for such a lovely entry sandeepa!!!!!!

  11. I completely agree with you!!! Casa Picola in Bangalore is one of my all time favorite restaurants and their pastas are simply superb just like most of their other dishes. Oh I miss Casa Picola so much!!


  12. Thank you for sharing your ideas on how to prepare such lovely and delicious meals for the family. You can make a snack of a whole meal when you have gatherings and they will surely appreciate the effort that you have made for them to enjoy.


Thanks for your Comments. I hope you will be nice and not Spam.