I have a few packets of different kinds of pasta’s stocked up in my pantry. I tried Basil Pesto Pasta earlier and it was too good!
Italian cooking uses a lot of fresh herbs, garlic and olive oil. All these really make a difference to the dish. It does take a while for the Indian palate to adapt to this cuisine.
What is most important is cooking the pasta well. When you drop pasta into a pot of boiling water, the starch granules on the surface of the pasta instantly swell up to their maximum volume and then pop. The starch rushes out and, for a brief time, the pasta’s surface is sticky with this exuded starch. Eventually, most of this surface starch dissolves in the water and washes away, and the pasta surface becomes a soft solid.
Here are some tips to keep in mind while cooking pasta:
Stir at the start – To keep pasta from sticking, stir during the first minute or two of cooking. This is important.
Add salt, but not oil – Pasta that’s cooked in oily water will become oily itself and, as a result, the sauce slides off, doesn’t get absorbed, and you have flavorless pasta. Salted water flavors the pasta. A generous amount of salt in the water seasons the pasta internally as it absorbs liquid and swells. The pasta dish may even require less salt overall.
Hot pasta absorbs more sauce – Behind every great pasta is a great sauce. And it’s not just the flavor of the sauce that matters, but when and how the sauce and the pasta get combined.
Toss hot pasta with hot sauce quickly – without rinsing it, so the pasta absorbs more sauce and flavor. As it cools, the swollen starch in the pasta crystallizes and becomes insoluble, and the pasta won’t absorb as much sauce.
3 cups fusilli pasta, (or any other of your choice)
5 medium sized tomatoes,
1 large onion, finely chopped,
1 tbsp + 1 tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped,
1 tsp rosemary, (I used dried),
1 tsp thyme, (I used dried)
2 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped,
1/4 cup mixed capsicum (red, yellow, green), diced,
1/4 cup celery, diced,
2-3 tsp chilli flakes,
Salt as per taste,
Pinch of sugar,
3-4 tbsp olive oil,
- Take the tomatoes and give a criss cross at the bottom of each tomato. Tip this into hot boiling water for 5-7 mins. The skin will loosen up. Peel the skin off and chop the tomatoes finely.
- In a pan, heat olive oil. Add the chopped garlic and saute. Add the chopped onions and fry until golden brown.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and mix well.
- Add the sugar, salt, crushed chilli flakes, rosemary, thyme, and basil leaves and cook until the oil separates. Allow it to cool.
- Boil the pasta as per the instructions given on the packet.
- In another frying pan, add olive oil and add 1 tsp garlic. Saute it for a few seconds, and then add the capsicum and celery and mix well.
- Add the cooked pasta and toss it up well. Add the arabiatta sauce as required.
- Adjust the salt and spice and serve hot immediately.
The sauce once prepared, can be stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for upto 1 week. Use it with any sort of pasta for a quick meal.