Spaghetti with Mixed Vegetables and Orange Juice

A couple of weeks ago, I had dinner at a lovely vegetarian restaurant in London where I picked up a recipe card for this dish.  It’s a really nice touch when a restaurant is happy to share their recipes with their customers.  I had to make a few changes to the recipe as I did not have all the ingredients at the time.  The dish turned out great and I hope you will enjoy making it too.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

300 grams spaghetti
300 grams mixed vegetables (I used carrots, broccoli, green beans , green peas and cauliflower)
500 mls semi skimmed milk
100 mls freshly squeezed orange juice
100 mls vegetable bouillon
1 tablespoon olive oil
30 grams fine corn flour
1 teaspoon of salt to add to pasta when it’s boiling
1 teaspoon of olive oil to add to pasta when it is boiling
Salt and pepper to taste
Oregano to garnish

Method:

1. In one saucepan, take plenty of water, add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil to it and cook the mixed vegetables and pasta. (I cook them together but you can cook them separately too if you like)

2. In a second saucepan, mix the cold milk, orange juice, vegetable bouillon. 

3. Put this to boil and keep stirring it all the time to ensure that the milk doesn’t separate.   I was also worried about mixing orange juice and milk but it works fine as long as you keep stirring the mixture. 

4. Once the milk boils, add the corn flour and keep stirring until the sauce thickens.

5. Drain the vegetables and paste.

6. Add the white sauce to the vegetables and pasta and mix. The sauce does thicken as it cools and coats the pasta.


7.  Add the remaining olive oil, salt and pepper and oregano and serve immediately.

8.  This dish was nice and creamy and the addition of fresh orange juice gives it a lovely tangy flavour.

Pasta Bake

Penne pasta baked in a spicy tomato sauce with a delicious cheesy topping.

Ingredients:
Pasta:
240 grams / 8 oz uncooked pasta penne
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 litres Water
Arrabbiata Sauce:
60 grams / 2 oz pre cooked sweet corn kernels
60 grams / 2 oz mixed peppers red /green / yellow diced
1 small onion finely diced
60 grams / 2 oz courgettes finely diced
250 ml passata (sieved tomatoes)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried Italian spice (oregano)
½ teaspoon black pepper powder
2 chillies finely chopped
1 clove garlic finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
 3 oz cheddar cheese
Method:
1. In a pan heat the olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Sauté till translucent.
2. Add the passata and cook sauce for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the peppers, sweet corn, courgettes to the tomato sauce and cook till vegetables are tender.
4. Add the salt and pepper, Italian spice, chillies and sugar and simmer sauce on low heat till sauce thickens. Remove from heat and keep aside.
5. Heat water in a large saucepan when it comes to boil, add 1 teaspoon salt and the penne pasta.
6. Reduce heat to simmer and cook pasta until al dente.
7. Drain the pasta and return it to saucepan, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and stir it into the pasta.Add the tomato sauce and mix well.
8. Transfer the pasta to an oven proof dish and top with the grated cheese. Place the dish under a preheated grill  for 3-4 minutes until cheese melts and starts to brown.
Serve pasta with salad.

Spaghetti in Marinara Sauce

Think ‘Italy’ and you are instantly your mind is flooded with images of well dressed Italians, the Collosseum,  the gondola   and of course  – pasta! What are the reasons that make Italian cuisine so popular and acceptable worldwide – the liberal use of olive oil? the freshly plucked tomatoes? the aromatic herbs used in cooking? Probably all of them and many more reasons make up the highly addictive Italian cuisine!

Under pasta alone you have bewildering variety of pasta available – spaghetti, penne, macaroni, fussili, lasagne, gnocchi, ravioli, fettuccine, tagliatelle (flavoured fettuccine) and so on.

And when it comes to sauces, you are spoilt for choices! You have simple garlic based aglio oglio or tomato based spicy sauce or basil flavoured or  béchamel sauce, pesto and so on. The key feature of all these sauces is the fresh produce and herbs that goes into making these delicious sauces.

Marinara sauce or the ‘mariner`s’ sauce is a Southern Italian tomato based sauce garlic, onions and few herbs. The flavourings may be varied to taste and so you may find some versions of marinara with olives or capers. Traditionally this sauce has been used to flavour pasta, pizza, rice. While tomato sauce alone in Italy is referred to as salsa di pomodoro, the term marinara is used only in association with other recipes in which the sauce is used.

For instance,  you have the spaghetti alla marinara which literally translates to “mariners wife spaghetti”.

The version given below is delicious and creamy yet low cal. Vegans can easily skip the cheese and yet enjoy a comforting and lip smacking version of Spaghetti in Marinara Sauce.

 SPAGHETTI IN MARINARA SAUCE

Type : vegetarian/ vegan ; Ethnicity : Italian

Serves : 6

INGREDIENTS

[ Note : Quantity of uncooked spaghetti required per person is approximately how much you can hold in your fist.]

Spaghetti (uncooked) – 6 handfuls OR 300 gms (yields ~6 cups boiled)

Salt – to taste

Olive or cooking oil – 2 tbsp

For garnish (optional or select any of your choice) :

Extra virgin olive oil – to drizzle on top

Grated parmesan OR cheddar cheese

Chopped black olives

For Marinara sauce : (Makes ~ 3 cups)

Olive or vegetable oil – 2 tbsp

Onions – 2,  medium

Carrot – 1,  large

Green capsicum – 1, large

Garlic cloves – 5, medium

Tomatoes – 1 kg/ ~2 pounds

Tomato puree (tetrapack) – 3/4 cup

Jalapenos – 1.5 tbsp, chopped (optional)

Chopped cheddar or parmesan cheese – 2 tbsp (optional)

salt – to taste

sugar – to taste (optional)

black pepper, freshly ground – to taste

Mixed dry herbs/ pasta seasoning – 1 tbsp or to taste

Bay leaf – 1

 

METHOD

1. To cook spaghetti, boil plenty of water in a deep saucepan. Add salt, 1 tbsp oil, pasta and cook/ boil. Stir in between. Cook for about 7 to 8 mins till al dente (almost soft but yet firm stage). Remove pan from heat and set aside for 2 mins. Drain. Refresh cooked pasta with some cold water. Drizzle 1 tbsp oil to prevent sticking and mix gently. Cover and set aside till required.

OR

Cook the spaghetti as per instructions of the packet.

2. Wash and chop the onions, capsicum. Wash, peel and chop carrots. Peel and chop garlic.

Mark an ‘X’ in the bottom of tomatoes and blanch in hot water till skin peels off easily. Peel and chop the tomatoes.

3. To make the sauce , in a saucepan heat olive/vegetable oil, sauté onions, carrots, capsicum and garlic. Cook until vegetables turn tender.

4. Then add in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, salt, pepper, sugar if needed,  mixed herbs, bay leaf. Bring to boil. Simmer for about 15 mins or till required consistency. Lastly add the jalapenos and chopped cheese if adding.  Remove from  heat.

Discard bay leaf. Now you could either toss cooked pasta in this chunky sauce OR puree half of the sauce and mix with the remaining chunky sauce. Pureeing half of the sauce gives the sauce volume and yet has the bite from vegetables.

5. At serving time, reheat the sauce. Add the sauce to cooked spaghetti/ pasta just enough to coat or as per taste. Let warm through and garnish and serve immediately with some warm and crisp Garlic Bread!

 

NOTES

1. In place of readymade tomato puree, you could add 3 to 4 tbsp tomato sauce/ ketchup.

2. For a vegan version, simply skip the cheese.

3. Replace spaghetti with any other pasta of your choice.

4. Adjust spice level, seasoning and cheese as per taste.