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Showing posts with label ITALIAN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ITALIAN. Show all posts

Sunday, November 27, 2011


It’s vacation time here in Singapore and the kids are at home demanding for interesting food. So I decided to make this Italian dish for them which is rich in proteins, calcium and carbohydrates essential for kids.
Risotto is an Italian dish and I recently had this at an Italian joint here in Singapore and kind of liked it a lot. I felt it tasted very much like our Rice Khichdi / Pongal. They usually make this with Arborio rice which is a special kind of Italian short grained rice, this rice is named after the town of Arborio, in the Po Valley, where it is grown. When cooked, the rounded grains are firm, creamy, and chewy, due to its higher amylopectin starch content thus it has a starchy taste but blends well with other flavours. It is used to make risotto. But in my recipe I used normal Indian short grained rice. I also used fresh tomatoes and cheese to make it interesting for my kids.

Arborio rice – 1 cup
Onion – 1
Tomatoes – 2 ripe ones
Garlic – 2 cloves (optional)
Olive oil – 2 tbsps
Italian seasoning – 1 -2 tsps
Salt as per taste
Pepper – 2 pinches or as per taste
Fresh basil – ¼ cup
Fresh parsley – 2 tsp
Parmesan cheese – 3 heaped tablespoons

In a wok, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, don’t allow it to fume. When it’s mildly hot, add in the garlic and the finely chopped onion and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes. Once the onions are transparent, add in the finely chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are squashy and soft. Add the risotto rice and cook, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Allow to cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until rice just starts to brown.
At this point add 1 cup of water and stir well to combine. Add a dash of salt and pepper. When most of the liquid has been absorbed, add one more cup of water, add in the   finely chopped fresh basil and parsley and stir well.
As the water gets absorbed into the rice, continue to add water one cup at a time, stirring frequently, until the rice is cooked. After this I lay this cooked Risotto in a glass bowl and
Sprinkled it with some parmesan cheese and some Italian seasoning (Italian seasoning is a dried mix of popular Italian herbs, this is easily available in the markets) and  put it in the microwave on a high until the cheese melted and became golden brown. After this I cut the Risotto like a cake and served it to my kids. The kids enjoyed it and asked for more helpings.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Spaghetti is served with meatballs in many Italian restaurants and is considered a great combo and there are kids meals with spaghetti and meatballs in the menu.
An emblem of Italian cuisine, spaghetti is frequently served with tomato sauce, which may contain various herbs (especially oregano, and basil), olive oil, meat, or vegetables. Other spaghetti preparations include using Bolognese sauce, alfredo and carbonara. Grated hard cheeses, such as Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, and Asiago cheese, are often added. But since we are vegetarians and the strictest to the order, talking about meatballs would be something I think most readers to my blog would raise an eyebrow for, but the meatballs here are purely vegetarian, made of soya which is not only highly nutririous but also has high protein content
Soya chunks -2 cups
Onion - 1 (medium)
Tandoori Masala Powder – 1 tbsp
Red chili powder -1 tsp
Coriander powder -1 tsp
Cumin powder -1 tsp
Garam masala -1 tsp
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Corainder leaves for garnish
Lemon - 1
Boil soya chunks for about 5 minutes with salt. Drain by passing through a colander. Rinse in cold water and then squeeze the soya chunks to remove the water. Take a big bowl. Add the soya chunks, then add Tandoori masala powder (you can make it fresh, click on the link recipe in my blog)
Aerial view of the spaghetti & meatballs platter
or you can buy it from the market (It is available in India stores) & salt. Squeeze one lemon and mix well. The soya chunks must get completely coated. Allow to marinate for about half an hour to one hour. You can even marinate it overnight in the refrigerator. The longer it marinates the tastier it gets. You can set it for marinating one day earlier or keep some marinated balls in a ziplock bag and place it in the freezer and as and when you want you can fry some. After marinating…the next step is, in a wok take some oil and deep fry the soya chunks as shown in the picture. It should be a nice reddish-golden color. (The tandoori masala powder imparts the color to the soya balls). Remove and set on Kitchen towel to drain excess oil. Once all the soya chunks are deep fried, get ready to serve your spaghetti with soyaballs meal. 
Place the amount of spaghetti you want on the plate, Place some soya balls on the side. And top it all up with some homemade Pasta Sauce.(I will give you the recipe later) You can also serve with grated Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano on the side and a sprig of parsley or coriander leaf(whichever is easily available). Dunk into a wonderful meal which can be prepared in less than 15 minutes(without including the marinating time for the soyaballs). 

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Aglio Oilio is a family favorite dish. I can tell you frankly that I got introduced to western food thanks to me being in Singapore and since we can’t be choosy about eating Indian vegetarian food. I learnt to eat some western food, which are not only healthy but absolutely delicious. One of this is Aglio Olio Spaghetti. When ever I go to this famous casual dining joint called Pastamania which is near my house. I order for this dish, they have choices in normal spaghetti & wholemeal. I always choose the wholemeal one which is a healthier choice. I learnt too cook this at home and now I don’t need to eat out. As it is very easy to cook this and is ready in a jiffy and all enjoy this at home.
Aglio e Olio actually means garlic and oil. This is a traditional Italian pasta dish that can be made cheaply without seasonal or store-bought ingredients. It is said to originate traditionally from the region of Abruzzo, although it is popular across the country.
Usually served with spaghetti, the sauce is made by lightly sautéeing minced or pressed garlic in olive oil, sometimes with the addition of dried red chilli flakes. Finely chopped parsley can be added as a garnish, along with parmesan cheese.
It takes about 20 minutes from start to end and is a favorite dinner or weekend choice at our home, when Iam too tired to cook.

Spaghetti – 1 packet (usually 500 gms)
Garlic -1-2 cloves of garlic, minced, you can add more as per your taste.
Crumbled dried red chilli pepper – ½ tsp, you get this in the store. Don’t use red chilly flakes. If you like it spicy you can add more chilly. If you don’t get it you can use fresh red chillies too.
Extra virgin Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
Salt as per taste
Grated Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano (optional)
In this recipe I have used Linguine (also spelled 'Linguini') spaghetti made from Durum wheat.
Linguine spaghetti(Image courtesy-Wikipedia)
Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water. The water should be enough that the spaghetti can immerse completely. Once the water starts to boil add salt  as per taste and after a minute or so add the spaghetti. Never cut or break the spaghetti, spaghetti is to be eaten long and they used to make very long spaghetti in olden times. After 10 to 15 minutes (the timing is based on the thickness of the spaghetti and many a times you will find it on the packaging as to the ideal boiling time.
After this drain the water from the spaghetti by using a colander (a vessel with holes known as scolapasta in Italian). Mind you the water is hot and the spaghetti too. So use a mitten and keep your face far when you are draining to avoid the steam gushing to your face. The spaghetti is usually cooked “al dente” (Italian for to the tooth), soft but with texture, sometimes even with bite in the center. However, spaghetti is sometimes cooked to a much softer consistency, especially when you make it for children.
Different varieties of spaghetti take different time to cook. Spaghettoni/Fusilli are thicker spaghetti varieties which takes more time to cook. Spaghettini and vermicelli are very thin spaghettis (both of which may be called angel hair spaghetti in English) which take less time to cook.
Meanwhile, in a wok, add the oil and when it is warm (olive oil comes to smoking point very soon, so don’t leave it on the gas unattended), add the garlic and crumbled red pepper, and sauté them in the oil until the garlic begins to brown. Turn off the heat (the garlic will continue to brown; you don't want it to over brown and become bitter). Now add the cooked spaghetti. If you feel the salt is less you can add salt at this point also.. Toss well till the garlic and chilli flavored oil coats the spaghetti for about 5 mins and serve hot garnished with parsley or coriander leaves whichever is available.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


This recipe of mine goes to Srivalli's blog who is hosting the Weekend Herb Blogging event which was started by Kalyn and the herb Iam using in this recipe is " Basil
You can read more about the Benefits of the herb Basil in my blog(Click on the link)
Pesto is a green sauce that originates from Italy.
Pesto is commonly used on pasta, lasagna, strozzapreti or trenette (forms of pasta). It is sometime used in minestrone as well. Pesto tastes good when served on tomatoes and sliced boiled potatoes. It can also be served as a dip for chips also. It can be served, spread on a baguette (French loaf)
It is very important never to cook pesto because basil when heated gets bitter.
Pesto is made with basil, salt, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, European pine nuts (often toasted) and a grated hard cheese like Parmesan or Romano).
Historically, pesto was (and is sometimes still) prepared in a marble mortar with wooden pestle. First the basil leaves are washed and dried and then put in the mortar together with garlic and some coarse crystals of sea salt, crushed to a creamy consistency. Then the pine nuts are added and crushed together. When the pine nuts are well incorporated in the "cream", the cheese plus olive oil can be added and stirred together with a wooden spoon. The sauce is now ready. Store in a tight jar, or simply in an air-tight plastic container, pesto can last in the refrigerator up to a week. Pesto can also be frozen, if needed. If you want to freeze the pesto you may omit the cheese (it doesn't freeze well). Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap, and fill each pocket with the pesto. Freeze and then remove from the ice tray and store in a freezer bag. When you want to use, defrost and add in grated Parmesan or Romano. Most basil pesto recipes call for pine nuts but you can easily substitute it with walnuts.
(Info courtesy Wikipedia)
1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried
3 medium cloves of garlic
one small handful of raw pine nuts
3/4 cup Parmesan, loosely packed and FRESHLY GRATED
A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
Pick out the basil leaves, Use only the leaves, not the stem, seeds or any other part. Wash it thoroughly in a colander. Then spread on a plastic paper to dry.
Traditionally the pesto was prepared using a mortar and pestle, but those who don’t have one, you can chop the ingredients finely, but this involves a lot of chopping so I used a chopper. Of course nothing can beat the taste of pesto crushed with a mortar and pestle. The other option is putting the ingredients into a blender, but doing that would make it into a fine paste. We want it to be in medium texture not too coarse or too fine.
Because I used the chopper (picture on the left), I could take care that the pesto didn’t become a fine paste.
Most pesto recipes call for Parmesan cheese, but I used Romano cheese in my recipe, this has a stronger flavor.

Chop the garlic in the chopper finely, then add the pine nuts(see picture of pine nuts on the right)
and chop into small pieces, then add the basil and chop until all of it blends into a fine mixture. Add the Romano cheese and run until the mixture blends well. Check for salt. The cheese already has salt, so after adding the cheese, if required add salt as per taste and run the chopper to blend it well. Now remove and put the pesto sauce into a glass bottle and top it with 3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Don’t replace with normal Olive oil, Use only Extra virgin Olive Oil (as shown in the picture on your left). Check the label on the bottle while buying the oil.
Your homemade Pesto is ready. You can set this aside or place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Just before serving give the pesto a quick stir to incorporate some of the oil into the basil. Pesto can last in the refrigerator up to a week. Pesto can also be frozen as mentioned above, if needed, this gives it a longer shelf life.


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