Saturday, November 24, 2012

Penne Alfredo

Some places become integral part of our life that they are not places anymore, they become characters. Olive Garden is such a place for us. This has been always our favorite restaurant to celebrate small victories and remember our special days. We have been to this place N times that we can feel it, smell it. We rarely look at the menu. I would always order stuffed pasta in marinara sauce and he would go for either Fettuccine Alfredo or Five Cheese Ziti. But these days our hang out at restaurants have stopped for obvious reasons. But they could not stop me from trying restaurant menu at home.

The sharpness of fresh and aged Parmesan Cheese wrapped within richness of cream and butter ----- aahaaa, just mouth watering. I exactly wanted to replicate Alfredo Sauce recipe but my calorie conscious soul refrained me from doing so. This sauce requires cream cheese, butter and heavy cream. Instead I used plain flour to thicken the sauce and avoid/reduce quantity of cheese and cream. This pasta paired with salad and orange juice made perfect Friday Night Dinner.

Serves 2
Preparation Time: 10 Minute
Cooking Time: 40 Minute

2 cup pasta
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
2 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup + 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese
2 loves of garlic, minced
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Cook pasta as per instructions
2. Heat butter in a thick bottom pan, when melted add flour
3. Cook flour till it turns pink/light brown. Then add heavy cream
4. Add garlic, salt and pepper stirring continuously
5. Cook for 5-10 minute till it is thick and consistent
6. Add cheese, mix well and turn off the heat
7. In a baking tray, layer pasta and sauce. Top with olive oil spray and remaining cheese
8. Bake at 350 F for 20 minute and then broil for 5 minute till cheese becomes bubbly and forms nice brown crust

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Green Bean Kachori

Kachori is simply irresistible deep fried snack where pastry sheets ( made from plain flour dough) is stuffed with filling made of either potato, moong dal or pigeon peas. The one made with pigeon peas is quite popular in Gujarat. It is winter specialty and we eagerly wait for this time of the year when we have first of the season.

However, we do not get fresh peas here. So my mom taught me this green bean version where peas are simply replaced by beans with remaining ingredients exactly the same. In the beginning, I was bit hesitant  but thought it was worth a try. If we like it we can have them whenever we want as we get fresh beans at very reasonable price round the year.

Makes about 16-18 pc
Preparation Time: 1 Hour
Cooking Time: 30 Minute + Cooling Time

1 Lb Beans
1 tsp oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
Pinch of asafetida
1 tbsp green chili paste
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (Best if Green Garlic is used)
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp clove-cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp Coriander leaves
Salt and lemon juice as per taste

For dough,
2 cup plain flour
1 tsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp oil

Oil for frying

1. Finely chop  green beans using chopper
2. Heat oil in skillet, add sesame seeds, asafetida and chopped beans
3. Cook it on low flame uncovered
4. Add chili paste, salt and sugar
5. Stir frequently so it does not stick to the bottom of the skillet
6. When it’s almost cooked, add lemon juice, garam masala and clove-cinnamon powder
7. Turn off the heat, add garlic and coriander leaves
8. Now stuff is ready, let it cool down thoroughly at room temperature
9. Mix flour, oil and salt and knead hard dough like puri
10. Roll two thin puris, fill in the stuffing between them and seal thoroughly
11. Deep fry on low flame until golden brown
12. Serve hot with tamarind and/or green chutney. 

Lemon Rice

Though I am not much into rice, lately I have started liking this quick simple fix. Make it from scratch or use leftover rice, this is indeed delicious twist to regular 'Masala Rice'. I started making this kind of rice long ago just for a change from Masala Rice. Funny part is, then I did not know that it was called Lemon Rice. Then once I was talking to a South Indian friend enthusiastically about this new invention (!) and she did not react at all. Later I figured out it is quite common yet popular dish in South India.

The best thing I love about this dish is that it does not ask for any special ingredients or preparation other than soaking rice. After Dosa/Uttapam/Idli, now I have started liking this South Indian dish as well :). Ideally rice should be cooked first, but I like it better if it is cooked along with all other ingredients.

Serves 2-4
Preparation Time: 5 Minute
Cooking Time: 20 Minute

1 cup rice
2 tsp oil
1 dried red chili
1 tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of asafetida
12-15 curry leaves
1 tbsp cashew nuts
1 tbsp raw peanuts (I do not like, so I didn't use)
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp udad dal
1-2 green chili, chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp lemon juice or as per taste

For garnishing,
Coriander leaves
Grated coconut

1. Soak rice for 1-2 hour and keep it aside
2. Heat oil in the pan, add red chili, when it pops, add mustard seeds and asafetida
3. Add curry leaves, chana dal and udad dal
4. When both dals turn light brown, add green chili, peanuts and cashew nuts
5. Add this mixture to soaked rice, add salt and turmeric powder
6. Cook rice covered with 2 cup of water on low flame
7. When rice is almost cooked, add lemon juice and mix well
8. Turn off the heat, garnish with grated coconut and coriander leaves
8. Serve hot