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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Putting up a Pasta Dinner

Hi friends, what say you to da li'l effort!!!

Yesterday evening I was absorbed in surfing the net and my hubby in surfing the TV channels in the other room. All of a sudden I heard him calling me. I was so immersed in reading something of interest, that I completely forgot that it was already 9 o’ clock and late for dinner. Not that I have not faced such situations before. But today I was in no mood to make any special effort to cook something from scratch. I was inclined towards some quick fix formula. It was at this juncture I remembered that there are four or five boxes of different varieties of pasta –whole wheat – brought from the US by our daughter and this is the right occasion to put up a pasta dinner.

Now it is a fact that lately we have developed a lot of liking for this Italian dish. It so happened that when we were visiting our children in the US we were taken on a sight seeing tour of New York. After we had meandered through Manhattan and Broadway-my dream destinations- we entered an Italian restaurant for lunch. We placed an order for veggie pasta with Italian sauce. The dish proved to be very delicious as well as filling. After that we tried all variations in pasta cooking at home and enjoyed immensely. It is every thing rolled into one and becomes a full meal. In Indian cooking we have to do so much for a proper meal which has to be planned in advance.

Compared to an Indian meal, preparing pasta is simple and any novice can fix it up fast. It is healthy too, as any number of veggies available can be added. Determined to improvise a meal in a jiffy, I asked my husband to help in cutting the vegetables which I had got from the market a day before. Subsequently the cabbage was shredded ,carrots cut lengthwise into medium pieces, a large onion chopped, a couple of garlic cloves crushed, tomatoes cut into squares and a few threads of green coriander washed and put in place. Here I stood waiting to do my part. On one burner I heated two tbsp.of oil in a pan and sautéed the veggies according to the instructions on the box and added condiments to our taste. On the second burner I boiled about 200 gms.of spiral pasta my favorite shape “al dente”…… (I read somewhere that in socialite circles, it is not enough to mention that one had had the yummy pasta in this or that restaurant. To be considered chic one is expected to know the particular variety e.g. whether it was spaghetti, vermicelli, fusilli, rotini, penne, farfalle, macaroni et al. The list is long)……. In the meantime veggies were done. I added the boiled pasta into the pan and asked my better half to do the blending part, while I laid the table (simple, two plates with forks and a bottle of sauce.) The cooked pasta looked vivid, fresh and inviting. It was for the first time that both of us participated in the cooking process together. Both of us enjoyed ourselves and had a very satisfying and nutritious meal into the bargain.

We have started liking pasta so much that we prefer to eat it every other day. I keep on trying various permutations and combinations of vegetarian and non- vegetarian recipes based on pasta. And I have noticed that we are able to consume more vegetables with it and that too in a semi cooked stage where vitamins are not lost as in our currying of everything. It is heartening that our dietary habits are overcoming the rigidity of taste and we are slowly incorporating dishes of other cultures in our cuisine. The internet is a miracle medium which has opened wide the corridors of information about every thing imaginable in this universe including food. According to Bernard Shaw, “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” Pasta like Pizza is increasingly becoming very popular with the old and the young e all over the world. In good Indian stores pasta is available in various sizes and shapes. It is making inroads into the Indian kitchen, tickling the taste buds of Indian middle and upper middle class youth who is precursor of new trends in every thing: food habits, entertainment mediums as well as haute couture.

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