Monday, April 06, 2020

Pasta Mexilian Bolognese -- or 3 ways to use the same dish

In the face of increasing number of deaths in New York and New Jersey, my lament about grocery stores sounds petty, There are many people getting very sick, there is an army of doctors and nurses and other healthcare workers tending to those that are very sick and getting sick themselves, there are the grocery line workers, the mailman, the garbage guy all risking their lives and out on the street while all I can complain about is going to a grocery store.

I am eternally grateful that we are able to stay home safe and so far doing okay. The little we can do to help flatten the curve is -- stay home and that is all we are doing. Thank you Google for this beautiful doodle thanking healthcare workers and researchers in the scientific community.

I had written this last week to remind me many years later how our day-to-day simple chores like grocery was impacted by the coronavirus.

It is now the 16th day that I have been home and except for groceries once in 8-10 days, or a quick walk around the neighborhood, we have not ventured out anywhere.

Grocery shopping itself has become a nightmare.

Before going to the store, we have to wear masks, gloves, sunglasses.

Then on reaching the store have to wipe the shopping cart down with a disinfectant wipe.

After hauling all the grocery home, is the biggest task!

For the fresh vegetables, I got 2 weeks back,I had washed them and left them out in the sun. I chose a particularly sunny day to do grocery. If I had a Benimadhab Shil er Panjika (a Panchang) I would have consulted that too! I don't intend to buy Vegetables again.
The non-perishables I keep in garage for 72 hrs.

The perishables like milk, meat etc has to be brought inside. Also the frozen stuff. This means more work.
I try to wipe down the bags and then when possible transfer the contents to another bag before putting in freezer finally.

At the end of this whole ordeal, I never want to go back to a grocery store again! Seriously.

Yesterday I went to Costco and it felt I was living in a dystopian novel. Costco has restricted access to only 30 members at a time inside the stores, so it was pretty empty, none of the usual rush. Every person was wearing a mask and gloves and moving around silently, picking up their groceries. No samples. No one peddling Vitamix. The check out persons were all behind a plexi glass shield and the usual happy faces were missing.
The employees were managing the social distancing very well though including the checkout lines. Pretty impressive.
Since we are all staying home, the kids do not have their after school activities and I do not have my grueling daily commute anymore, I do get more time to cook meals during the evenings. Even then it always helps if I can cook one dish and re-purpose it in different ways over the week. That way everyone gets to eat something new and yet I can ration pantry ingredients. Also my efforts in the kitchen are halved.

This dish is one of those which can be very easily serve many purposes. The primary purpose is of course the sauce base for one of our favorite Pasta dishes.
This pasta is my take on Bolognese. But it's Mexalian Bolognese 🤣, like Italian + Mexican!
First I make a chilli with ground chicken, canned tomatoes, garlic, onion, peppers and taco seasoning. Also some good old bhaja moshla and kashmiri mirch.

This chilli is then used used in 3 different ways.

1. First as a sauce base for Pasta. Our favorite Pasta Mexilian Bolognese

2. Second on a Roti or a Tortilla topped with avocados and onions. Or on a crepe made with millet and oat flour

3. Third you can make an empanada or a chicken patties like I did. I had puff pastry sheets and I used those

How to Make Pasta Mexilian Bolognese

Ground Chicken or Ground Meat -- 3 lb. When buying ground chicken buy minced chicken thighs as they have some fat, so ask the butcher for that.
Onion -- 1 small chopped fine
Garlic -- 8-10 cloves minced
Tomato -- 1 can of Diced or Crushed Tomatoes or 3 Large tomatoes chopped fine

Green peppers -- 1 chopped into medium pieces
Taco Seasoning -- 2 heaped Tbsp ( can be substituted with Roasted Cumin-Coriander Powder)
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Roasted Cumin-Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Garlic Powder -- 1/2 tsp
Salt -- to taste

Olive Oil -- 3 Tbsp

* Warm Olive oil in a big saucier or pan
* Add the Garlic and once it starts sizzling add the onion. Saute until the onion softens.
* Next goes in the green peppers. Saute for a couple of minutes and you will start getting the aroma
* Add crushed tomatoes(fresh or canned) and cook until raw smell is gone.
* Then ad the ground chicken (or any other ground meat) and cook to a crumble. The ground chicken will release water so no need to add any
*And some Taco seasoning, Roasted Cumin-Coriander powder, Garlic powder, Red Chili powder, because we love that notch of spice🤣🤣
*Cook until the chicken is done and the sauce is thick.
Cook pasta according to package directions. We prefer penne or bow-tie for this sauce.

The cooked pasta is then tossed in olive oil and the above sauce and simmered for few more minutes letting the sauce to soak in the pasta.
Some grated parmesan is sprinkled but I keep it low. The kids usually add more by themselves. Some basil leaves if you have it for a fresh Italiano fragrance and the Pasta Mexalian Bolognese is all set for the lunch period.

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  1. আপনার দোকানবাজারের অভিজ্ঞতা পড়ে ভয় লাগছে, বং মম। সাবধানে থাকবেন।

  2. It's good to hear you and your family are keeping safe. I've never been so grateful for frozen veggies as I am in these times.


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