I have been trying to write this post for the past few weeks, I type, erase & retype.I don’t know where to begin and how to put the last few months into words.Its been so exciting.
Me and P were blessed with our baby girl, Alisha, earlier this year. Spring had just started to reach and she came in on a lovely evening, the 14th of February. On Valentine’s day, when everything around was painted in red and the air was filled with love, I could not have thought of a better gift for him.
Sounding really cliché here but she is the best thing that could ever happen to me. The essence of motherhood is slowly sinking in, its gets a wee strong each time I look at her. It’s a new memory each day, something unfamiliar to learn, some fresh expressions to click. Each day she seems a little bigger, a little cuter and a little heavier. It’s difficult to describe how infatuated I feel looking at her dimpled cheeks and toothless smiles. I just want to eat her up when she yawns and oh dare I talk about those baby sounds? Almost 5 months now,our little bunny started her semi solid foods few weeks back. Time really does fly.
Meanwhile, how have all of you been? I hope you did not miss me too much. Thanks for everyone who kept checking on me, for your love & best wishes.I missed being here.
My mom & aunt were here with me since the beginning of the year and I hardly entered the kitchen.They came here for the first time since I left India and cooked up a storm.The meals they cooked made my pregnancy more special.It was so cheering to eat the same tasting food like my growing up years.Cooking with family always manages to engage me. Not only does it evoke comfort,it reminds me that family, cooking and memories are so closely interwoven in my life.
Anyhow, lets talk about it, it is the first ever pasta dish on the blog.It took me long to bring it to the table here on SinfullySpicy. Do not underestimate my love for it though. It’s just that pasta is something which rarely makes an appearance in my kitchen. And whenever it does, it is usually a fusion recipe with lot of indian things thrown in. If a meal involves pasta, it’s comforting for me. But the same doesn’t hold for P, who dislikes it with all his will. Weird, Right? In the most funny ways, he will go lengths to avoid eating it. Huh!
I craved pasta every other day during my pregnancy. Lets just say that I got a good reason to cook it up during those months.And he bowed. Needless to say, this recipe has stood the test of those cravings and I need to admit that it took a few trials to make a spot on sauce, which by the way can be bottled up to last for few weeks in the fridge. This sauce is sorta indian style bell pepper chutney.Once ready,a hearty meal is a matter of few minutes.
Juicy, sweet red bell peppers are the star here. Sometimes,I add them raw,at times I grill or char them to add a smoky hint to the sauce.You have the liberty to make it as you wish. May I also add that this chutney is as good as a spread on baguette slices or for dipping some chips in. Its tangy & spicy with hints of sweetness thrown in.Try it.
For the Bell Pepper Sauce (makes about 1.5 cup)
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 ” fresh ginger, chopped
- 2 large red bell peppers, washed, seeded, finely chopped
- 3 medium Roma tomatoes, washed,finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 -2 Thai green chillies (adjust to tolerance)
- 2-3 tbsp peanuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- Salt to taste
For the Pasta (Serves 2-3)
- 2 cups whole wheat fusilli (or any pasta of choice)
- Enough salted water for boiling the pasta
- 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 whole garlic clove, peeled
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (adjust to taste)
- 1 shallot, finely chopped ( or 1/4 cup red onions)
- Bell Pepper Sauce (recipe below)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Any cut, blanched vegetables of choice (I used asparagus & broccoli, optional)
- Any protein of choice(I used shredded chicken, optional)
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Handful of Parmesan Shavings, Chopped Parsley to serve (optional)
Making the Bell pepper sauce
- In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil till you see ripples on the surface.Once the oil is hot,take off the pan from flame and add mustard seeds, cumin, ginger and chilies to it. Wait for 10 seconds and return the pan to the flame. Be careful while doing so since mustard seeds splutter a lot. Saute for about a minute or so till the seeds crackle and the chillies and ginger turn light brown but do not burn.
- Next, add the garlic, chopped red bell pepper and tomatoes to the pan and saute for about 8-10 minutes on medium heat till soft but not mushy. Turn off heat and cool.
- Tip the cooled pepper & tomato mixture to a blender or a food processor along with the peanuts, cilantro, sugar and salt. Blend to desired consistency ( smooth to chunky) to make a sauce. Set aside.
Making the Pasta
Cook the fusilli in salted water as per package instructions. Drain and set aside. Reserve about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cooking water .
In a heavy bottomed pan, add olive oil+ butter along with whole garlic clove and red chilli flakes. Cook on extremely low heat so that garlic & chilli flakes don’t burn but release flavor for about 3-5 minutes.
Continuing on low heat, add the chopped shallot and saute for 2-3 minutes till translucent. Pick up and discard the garlic clove at this point from the pan.
Add the prepared bell pepper chutney to the pan along with about 1/4 cup of reserved pasta cooking water and warm everything up on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low next and add heavy cream to the pan along with salt to taste and ground black pepper. Let cook for another 2-3 minutes. Next, add the cooked fusilli along with blanched vegetables and shredded protein (if using) to the pan. Toss everything together. At this point, you may add more of the reserved pasta cooking water (depending on how thick or thin you want the sauce). Remove from heat, check and adjust the seasoning.
Serve the pasta warm with a generous sprinkle of parmesan shavings and chopped parsley (if you like).
Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!