Thursday, 27 November 2014

Conchiglie in Red pepper sauce !

Hi There,

Conchiglie is shell shaped pasta and it is tossed in red bell pepper sauce today. Roasting the bell pepper in oven gives a unique taste, but i just sauted it in a pan but making sure they get those black spots on them similar to roasting effect. The cream added to this ground bell pepper and onions gives an attractive and inviting orange colored sauce.. I threw in some broccoli but its upto you.


Serves : 1
  • 75 gm conchiglie pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Half onion (preferably white)
  • 1 Red bell pepper
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 red chillies (or chilli flakes)
  • salt
  • 1 tsp Crushed black pepper
  • a pinch of dried herbs (oregano, thyme)
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 6 - 7 broccoli florets (optional)
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan


  • Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and keep aside.
  • In a pan add some olive oil and add roughly chopped onions and red bell peppers and saute them.

  • After 5 - 7 minutes you can see some black spots appearing (actually little burnt).. this is just to give the roasting effect. Turn off stove and let it cool.
  • Grind the bell pepper and onion to a smooth paste.

  • Now add the remaining olive oil, add the finely chopped garlic and saute for few seconds till they sweat.
  • Then add the chopped red chillis or chilli flakes and broccoli. Blanch the broccoli or microwave it for 3 minutes before adding it.
  • Saute the broccoli for 1 - 2 minutes and add the ground mixture.

  • Add some water and let it cook. Add pepper, salt and the dried herbs and cook the for 2 more minutes.
  • Add the cream and mix well.. I just loved the color after adding cream.

  • Add the parmesan keeping a little for garnishing.
  • In 2 - 3 minutes the sauce thickens and then add the pasta and give a mix so that sauce is coated well. 
  • Turn off stove

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining parmesan. Serve hot !

Its official end of Italian week :P meet you soon with some indian recipes !

With Love,

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Vegetable Pulao !

Vegetable Pulao is a very easy and comfort food for lazy weekends. It goes well with a simple onion raita or any kind of gravy dish. Very quick and easy to make and can be done in a pan, cooker or even microwave.

Basmati Rice
1 cup
Oil / Ghee
ennai / neyi
nune / neyyi
thel / ghee
2 tbsp
Cumin Seeds
Bay Leaf
Biriyani Ilai
Biriyani Aaku
Tej Patha
1 or 2
2 Nos
Star Anise
Annasi Poo
Anasa Puvvu
Star Anise
1 No
1 Medium
8 - 10 Nos
1 MEdium
Urulai Kizhangu
Aloo Gadda
1 Medium
Green Peas
Pachai Pattani
a handful
Mint Leaves
a handful
Hara Dhaniya
a handful
AS needed
Water / Coconut Milk

1.5 cups
To Grind to a paste
Green Chillies
Pachai Milagai
Pachi Mirapakaya
Hari Mirchi
2 Nos
2 Cloves
1 inch piece
3 Nos
Dalchini Chekka
1 piece
Fennel Seeds
1 tsp

  • Wash and soak basmati rice and let it soak for minimum 30 minutes.
  • Grind cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic , fennel and green chillis to a paste.
  • Heat a pan/kadai or any heavy bottomed vessel and add a tbsp of oil and a tbsp of ghee (clarified butter). Fry the cashewbuts till golden and keep them aside.s
  • Then throw in the bay leaf, cardamom and star anise.
  • AFter few seconds, add the sliced onions and saute them till transparent.,
  • Add all the vegetables together and saute them for 3 - 4 minutes. 
  • If you are adding broccoli, cauliflower or peppers then add them lastly as they get cooked real fast.

  • Now add chopped mint and coriander leaves and the ground paste and mix well. 
  • Add the soaked basmati rice and give a mix,

  • Add water / coconut milk (or mix of both) and salt as required. Close the pan and cook in high for 5 minutes till the water is almost absorbed and then lower the flame and let it cook for 10 minutes. The rice will be cooked perfectly to separate grains.
  • Transfer to serving dish and garnish with cilantro and fried cashewnuts.

Happy Cooking guys !!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Potato Gnocchi in Creamy Marinara !

Gnocchis (pronunced nokki) are soft dough dumplings cooked in any of your favourite sauces just like pasta. They are generally made from plain flour, wheat flour, eggs and potato. Cheese can be added optionally and they are mostly knuckle shaped.


For the Gnocchi,

  • 3 small potatoes
  • one egg
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan 
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • a pinch of Garlic powder (optional)

For the Marinara Sauce (Creamy)

  • Olive Oil (E.V)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 small onion (preferably white) (optional)
  • 5 ripe tomatoes
  • 7 -8 basil leaves
  • Dried Herbs (Oregano, Thyme and Sage)
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed pepper
  • 3 tbsp Heavy Cream


  • Boil the potatoes in water. Dont overboil them so that they dont turn mushy and watery, It should be firm enough to grate.
  • Peel the skin and use a grater to grate the potatoes on a working board.

  • Once all the potatoes are grated, let them rest for 5 minutes.
  • Ideally a potato ricer is used to rice the potatoes like this. Meaning making the potato into a form like rice grains. But a grater with small holes will do the job.
  • Then add the egg, grated cheese, salt and garlic powder and give a mix.

  • Keep a tray/plate with a cloth/tissue and spread some flour on it.
  • Now add the flour little at a time to the potato mixture and start mixing .
  • This is really a messy work, the dough is very sticky with potatoes and eggs but using hand results a nice soft dough.
  • Keep adding flour and mix till the potatoes absorb all the flour.

  • You get a slightly sticky dough but similar to our chapati dough.
  • Sprinkle some flour on the surface and also on the dough.
  • Take a small portion of dough and roll into logs as shown in picture.
  • Spread flour generously so that they dont stick to the board or your hands.

  • Now cut the log into small pieces and dust them with flour.
  • Use a fork and give the shape of gnocchi. Take a piece and roll along the curved part of fork with your plam. This will roll the piece and make stripes on the gnocchi.

  • Do the same with the remaining flour and spread the gnocchis on the tray dusted with flour.

  • Boil lot of water in a big vessel, and when water boils add the gnocchis to it. 
  • Within 4- 5 minutes they get cooked and start rising to the top.
  • When they increase in size a little and also start floating then it is time to take them out.

  • When the gnocchis are cooking, we can prepare the marinara sauce.
  • Using Italian chopped tomatoes from can results in very nice and thick reddish sauce. But still you can use the below method with normal tomatoes.
  • Place the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute. Take them out and peel the skin and remove seeds as much as you can, Chop/mash them finely.

  • Heat a pan and add olive oil, and then garlic followed by onions.
  • Marinara sauce is similar to ARabbiata except for the spicyness from the red hot chillis.

  • Once onions start sweating, add the tomatoes. Saute them and let them cook for 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Then add the dried herbs, salt and crushed pepper and give a mix.

  • Add the basil leaves and cook for further 4 - 5 minutes.

Add the cream and give a mix. Your creamy marinara is ready.
Now time to add the gnocchis.. :)

  • When the gnocchi is cooked then they become shiny, you can see it in below pic.
  • Add the gnocchi to the sauce and mix. Cook for couple of minutes.

Gnocchi is ready to serve. :) It is definitely a long process to make gnocchi at home.. but worth the effort. I felt like i was cooking forever when i made this and probably the Italian dish that took the longest time till now.:)

Happy cooking ! and Buon Appetito !

With Love,

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Penne all'Arrabbiata with Chicken !

Next in Italian week is... Penne Arrabbiata. My favourite of all pasta dishes just because it is spicy :)

Arrabbiata means angry in Italian and as the name says this is one of the hot and spicy dish that tastes heavenly with the tanginess of tomatoes , hotness of red chillies with the flavours of Garlic.

Arrabbiata sauce is available in stores and can be just tossed with cooked Pasta. But making at home is not so tough.. after all the sauce tastes best and flavourful with fresh ingredients made at home.
I have added chicken pieces but you can make it vegetarian with some fresh broccolis, carrot or mushrooms.
And when making the sauce for any pasta, when it is Italian, make it Italian not Indian way of Italian. Please avoid chilli powders, sambar powder and garam masala etc. If you want to add all these give it a diff name sounding Indian and dont call it Arrabbiata. 

Italian dishes call for very less number of ingredients but good quality ones. Better dont replace them with something else if you want a good Italian dish.


  • 100 gms Penne Pasta (or any pastam of your choice)
  • Lot of water to boil pasta
  • Salt

  • 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 100 gms Chicken Breast / Boneless chicken pieces
  • 3 Garlic Cloves - Finely Chopped
  • 4 Extra hot Red Chillis (Deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 300 gms Italian Tomatoes from can
  • 6 -7 Basil Leaves
  • Salt as needed
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper
  • Dried Oregano & Thyme (or Mixed Italian Seasoning)
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese (or Pecorino Romano)


  • Boil the pasta in lot of hot water with salt until aldente. Then drain the pasta and keep aside.
  • In a pan add a half of mentioned Olive oil, and once hot add the chicken breasts and cook in medium heat. 
  • Sprinkle some salt and pepper on it and flip the pieces and cook on both sides.
  • If the chicken breasts are really thin , it would take only 7 - 10 minutes to get cooked. Without burning the chicken flip them often and let it turn to a little golden brown here and there. Remove and keep aside. 
  • In the same pan add the remaning Olive oil, and add the garlic and saute for a minute.
  • Then add the finely chopped red chillis (or chilli flakes) and saute for few seconds.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes from can and cook them in medium heat. Add salt and pepper and the dried herbs and let the tomatoes cook nicely and turn soft.
  • You can also add normal ripe tomatoes instead of canned ones. Blanch the tomatoes and remove skin and seeds and chop them finely and use it.
  • Once the tomatoes become soft and mushy, add the drained pasta and mix well.
  • Cut the chicken breasts into bite size pieces and add it to the pasta. Add the grated Parmesan and give a mix.
  • Turn off the stove and transfer to a serving bowl/plate and sprinkle some grated cheese before serving.

See you soon with another yummy Italian recipe.

With Love,