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.