Tag Archives: pasta

Pasta Salad with Broccoli,Red Bell Pepper and Feta Cheese

I remember that the Italian husband of one of Shri’s colleagues brought a delicious pasta salad, that had feta cheese in it, to a barbeque last summer.

So when I made pasta salad for lunch today, I made it like that one, which had no sauce. The girls were  therefore not too excited when they saw their plates at lunch especially since I had added broccoli to the salad ; some “Pesto Rosso” (a Barilla sauce they adore) would have helped make that vegetable more appealing, I guess.

But despite the broccoli – which, to be fair, they have been eating more easily recently – they ate without fuss or too much comment and I really appreciated that. And hopefully the Feta cheese made it a little better at least for Indira.

I did think that the dressing of olive oil, lime juice and dried basil flakes left the salad somewhat bland. So I added chilli-infused oil to my portion and that certainly gave it a nice kick and flavor. So I would probably add chilli flakes to the dressing if I make this salad again. I think it would bring alive both the Feta cheese and the broccoli.

150-200 grams of pasta

200 grams of broccoli florets, cut in to smaller portions

1 small can of sweet corn, drained

200 grams of feta cheese, cut in to little squares

olive oil

lime juice

1 red bell pepper, sliced fine

salt, dried basil flakes and chilli flakes to taste


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Filed under Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Salads

Tomato, Ham and Cream Sauce for Pasta – A recipe to mark Mother’s Day 2009

It is Mother’s Day – fete de les meres – in France tomorrow so Shri took us out for dinner today to a  restaurant in Golfe Juan, overlooking the old port and all the boats docked there.

Thank you, Shri, Indira, Noor, for a very nice evening  🙂 The walk back along the port from the restaurant to the car park was wonderful; it was a full moon night and the sea looked really pretty.

The chef at the restaurant was good enough to give me a fairly detailed recipe for the delicious pasta that Noor had.

We all really liked the sauce and it isn’t one I had tasted before. So I decided to go up to the chef -a very young guy- and ask for the recipe.

Here’s what he told me as he took a short pause from putting the finishing touches on a pizza he was about to put in to the oven;  I’ll refine the quantities when I make this sauce myself.

He said “make the usual kind of tomato sauce – some onions softened in olive oil with a bit of laurier, then add some meat (it was little cubes/chunks of ham in the version we had today), cook everything for a little while, then add just a little bit of white wine(he moved his hand in this quick motion which made me imagine him pouring out a tablespoon or 2 from a bottle), let it evaporate, then add tomatoes, and let it all cook for some time (he said an hour but I guess that would depend on the quantity of tomatoes). Finally add a little cream and simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes”.

This should taste good with chicken as well, or diced aubergine for a vegetarian version.

The other interesting thing that happened was that Indira- I think inspired by the neat arrangement of rice, vegetables and salmon on my plate –  told us that one of things she might also want to do in university – apart from studying dance (we talked recently about the concept of university and how being a professional of any sort typically requires some years of study in university) – is to learn to be a chef.

I asked if we could eat free at her restaurant once she is a Cordon Bleu chef so she said yes, but only the first time – after that I believe we’ll have to pay on subsequent visits (though she mentioned a generously discounted sum) !

She seems to be taking our Finance 101-type talks seriously.

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Filed under Dips,Chutneys,Sauces,Spreads, Easy One Pot Cooking

Pasta Salad with Pesto-Easy Dinner for a Summer Evening

It has been so hot this year – or may be I forget from one July to the next how bad it can get – that my usual enthusiasm/willingness to cook has deserted me more often these past few weeks than I can remember it happening before.

But the family has to be fed; so I decided one evening recently to combine everyone favorite ingredients – that’s cherry tomatoes for Noor and me, corn for Indira and Noor and Shri, pasta and pesto for everyone(most of all Indira) -plus some beans and grated carrots for the nutrition quotient, to make this pasta salad. Now that sure was a very quick and easy dinner ! Here’s what I did :

Pasta with Vegetables and Pesto

Pasta (any short shape) – 150 grams

Carrots – 3 medium sized

Frozen beans – 3/4 cup

Sweet Corn – a 125 gram tin

Cherry tomatoes – 150 – 200 grams

3 tablespoons of readymade pesto sauce

(look for brands that make the pesto with pine nuts, and not cashewnuts, which is the more commonly used ingredient in most commercially available pesto)

Snap the frozen beans in to 1 inch pieces and steam them till they are cooked.

(One way to do this is to place the steamer, with the beans in it,over the pan in which you will boil the pasta, so that both get done at the same time)

Boil 1-1.5 litres of water in a kettle, then transfer to a large pan. Add 1/2 tsp salt and a few drops of any cooking oil, and bring it to a boil again. Add the pasta and leave it to cook, stirring it occasionally.

In the meanwhile chop the cherry tomatoes in to halves and put these in a large salad bowl.

Add the corn to the tomatoes, after draining all the liquid in which it was packed.

Peel,wash, and grate the carrots in a food processor, then add these as well to the corn and the tomatoes.

Once the beans are steamed, leave them to cool for a bit, then mix with the other vegetables along with a sprinkling of salt and the pesto.

Once the pasta is cooked, allow it to cool for a few minutes (pasta that is too hot would make the tomatoes go a little soft) then toss it will the other ingredients in the bowl.

This salad works equally well with a different dressing. Combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, and 1/2 a teaspoon of dried basil. Mix this dressing in to the vegetables instead of the pesto.

It is a good idea to make this salad at least an hour before you are ready to eat, since this allows the pasta to soak in all the flavors.

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Filed under Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Salads