So, this was a simple enough dish inspired by a lovely lunch at The Big Chill, Khan Market (New Delhi). That dish featured sun dried tomatoes (which I shall surely be learning how to make in the near future), onions, and olives in a garlicy, cheesy white sauce.
I’ve never been a fan of tomatoes and onions in pasta, preferring to use a white sauce and mostly root vegetables in the dishes I make (onions aren’t roots, they’re modified stems, two years of Botany FTW!) I was persuaded into trying out this dish because of the company I was with, however; another lover of Italian food who hasn’t steered me wrong so far, so I said ‘what the hell’ and decided to annoy him if I didn’t like it.
But! Good lord, what had I been missing all these years by avoiding sun-dried tomatoes! D:
Since I liked it so much, I (almost) immediately set out to recreate the taste at home, with major success, if I do say so myself.
To serve 2
- Penne pasta – 2 cups (although you can use shell, or fusili, as well)
- Olives – a handful – I usually add more because I love olives.
- Tomatoes – 2
- Onions – 2
- Capsicum (green bell pepper) – 2
- 2-3 tablespoons flour (maida)
- Cheddar cheese – 100 g – I usually shred this so that it will melt into the sauce faster
- Milk – 6-8 tablespoons
- Olive oil – ~ 6 teaspoons
- Oregano, thyme and salt to taste.
- Chop the vegetables into small pieces about a half inch in length.
- Cook the pasta as per instructions on the packet until it is al dente (in other words, firm, not soggy), drain and set aside.
- In a sauce pan, add a teaspoon of olive oil, and temper the oregano and thyme. Then add the vegetables and saute (or, basically, FRY) them well. Once they’re done, spoon out onto a plate.
- Add 5 teaspoons of olive oil to the sauce pan and add the grated garlic, letting it temper in the olive oil till it cooks.
- Now slowly add the flour a little at a time, stirring it into the oil so that it doesn’t clump up. Add three tablespoons of milk so that it becomes like a thick paste.
- Stir in the cheese, and add the remaining milk. Once the cheese melts, your sauce is done. Add salt if you need to.
- Throw the pasta, vegetables and sauce together in a casserole. Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for ten minutes if you like your pasta a little dry, or serve as is.
And ecco fatto! Pasta primavera in twenty minutes, at the most. Enjoy, and if you make this at home, please comment with a picture, I’d love to know how it turned out.