I think its safe to assume that I am obsessed with cooking pasta.
I’ve made it over and over with different versions not too different from each other. If that even makes sense. I’m sure a lot of people would agree that nothing satisfies better than a big bowl of your favourite penne, fettucine or whatever rocks your boat.
“Although researchers claim pasta to be a Chinese invention that was brought to Italy by Marco Polo after his famous trip to the Middle Kingdom in the 13th century, there is no doubt that Italian cooks changed it to what we know as the nourishing and versatile food that we know.”
When it comes to cooking paste at my house it has always been a never-ending battle between white sauce and red sauce. My brother loves the white and I love the red. My mom loves them both. I don’t have a thing for white sauce as I tend to find it bland and would rather use it as a mix with a spicy, red sauce. And since most of the (actually all of it!) pasta culinary is done by me here’s my solution to the problem. Okay I didn’t exactly come up with it; I came across a picture in a magazine. This was the most delicious looking bowl of pasta I have ever seen. The white sauce consisted of a cheesy-spinach bake and the red sauce was just a regular meat sauce. I am not fond of spinach with pasta so I’ve used mushrooms which need to be sauteed in butter and then mixed in with an easy white sauce.
Doesn’t look as good as it did in that magazine photo but I can assure you it tasted darn good.
So don’t be baffled by the long list of ingredients. You could probably find most of it in your kitchen. The steps are simple: Boil the pasta, cook the white sauce, saute the mushrooms, cook the red sauce, and then serve them all together. My white sauce is basically a simple butter-flour-milk mixture with sauted mushrooms and some good old cheese and black pepper. It is the simplest and quickest pasta sauce you will ever make and could probably use it on its own. The red sauce can be your regular meaty pasta sauce.
I personally thought that my red sauce was too dry. I’m not sure if that was because of all the kidney beans or lack of water. Either way, I was surprised that the white sauce tasted so good and that both of them mixed in was too good to describe.
Okay. Enough talking. Here’s the recipe. I’ve written penne for the pasta but I’ve use fusilli instead. So pretty much anything works with this one.
And on a completely unrelated note, what do you think of my new blogger interface? I certainly find it a lot easier to use and think that my older posts are now a lot more visible, but I’m not sure if its as easy for viewers as it is for me. Would love to know what you guys think!
400 grams fusilli, cooked
200 grams mushrooms, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 teaspoons butter
For white sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons plain flour
300 ml milk
40 grams cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
For meat sauce:
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 beef stock cube
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon red chilli flakes
3 green chillies, chopped
200 grams minced beef
1 tomato, chopped
2 teaspoons tomato paste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dried herbs- basil, oregano
1. White Sauce: Heat a pan and add butter. When the butter melts, add flour. Keep stirring until the raw smell of the flour is gone, making sure the flour does not burn. Add milk gradually, whisking continuously so that lumps do not form. Cook on a simmer until the sauce begins to thicken. Add cheese and then season with salt, pepper and keep aside.
2. In another pan add butter and sauté onions and garlic. Add chopped mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Add white sauce and stir well.
3. Meat sauce: Heat oil and sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add the crumbled beef stock cube, cumin powder, chilli flakes and green chillies and stir, adding water as necessary. Add minced beef and sauté until the juices dry up. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for a few minutes with enough water to allow the mince to cook. Add salt and pepper for seasoning and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes.
4. To serve, in a deep serving dish, spoon pasta, meat sauce, and stir-fried mushroom side by side. Top with cheese and herb garnish. Serve hot.