Tuesday, August 18, 2015

My recipe for an Italian escapade

A decade ago, the only Italian food I knew of was 'Pizza'. I used to junk on Pizzas so much that Italy was the destination I craved to visit (And still is).

Gradually, I was introduced to 'the brother of pizzas', the pasta. Usually, to Indians, pasta is what one eats at a pizza place as a starter. At some point, I too believed the same. But as I was educated to the world of Italian cuisine, thanks to my dear husband, I was now well acquainted with the types of pastas, the types of sauces, the flavour combinations, the cheeses and was proud to have the knowledge to distinguish between a lasagna and a ravioli.

And then one fine day, Del Monte came along with their flavourful contest - Del Monte: Blog Your Way to Italy- on creating an original recipe of their Pasta to win an all expenses paid Italian escapade. (I bet some of you reading this, did not know Del Monte beyond their ketchup. You're welcome :P)

Thoroughly eggcited, I signed up. A few days alter, as promised, I received a packet of Del Monte's Durum Wheat Premium Chifferi Rigati Pasta, all carefully packed with a printed letter. My gastronomical adoration for pasta knows no bounds, but I needed to get my creative juices flowing in in creating an original recipe.

My ticket to Italy :D

So I sought some expert guidance (yes, from my hubby) on creating pasta with some subtle Indian flavours for those who cannot have a lot of spice (the elderly and young children).

So sample a taste of Gauri's original recipe, with step by step instructions:

Chifferi Rigati with Saffron and Garlic

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 15 minutes


About 250 gms Del Monte's Chifferi Rigati Pasta
1 Zucchini cut into bite sized pieces
1 Yellow Bell pepper cut into bite sized pieces
1 Broccoli cut in florets
1/2 Onion finely chopped
7-8 cloves of garlic finely chopped
3-4 tsps of Oil (Olive oil is best)
1-2 tsps Oregano flakes
Salt as per taste

For the White Sauce:
7-8 Strands of saffron
1 tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
200 ml Milk
2 tsps Butter
2-3 tsps Refined flour (Maida)

For Garnish:
Grated Mozzarella cheese


  • In a pot, bring water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook till al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander and add a tbsp of oil. Set aside.

What I really adored is the thoughtful little hack Del Monte has adapted on their pasta packets with a reclosable safety seal, to seal back your pasta packet for the next use.

  • In another pot, bring water to a boil. Add the veggies till cooked. Drain in a colander and pour cold water over the veggies to retain their crunch and lively colour. Set aside.
Blanched zucchini

Blanched Broccoli

You can also add mushrooms, red bell pepper and other veggies if desired.

  • In a thick bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and add the cornflour little by little. Beat vigorously using a whisk. 

  • Reduce the heat, and gradually add in about 150ml of the milk till there are no lumps. Take off the heat and let it cool.
  • Warm the remaining milk in a microwave for 5-10 seconds and then add the saffron strands; soak the saffron, till it dissipates the rich colour and aroma. Add this to the other milk mix.

  • Once this mix cools a little, add the kashmiri red chilli powder and add salt as per taste and strain.

  • Heat the oil in a wide saucepan. On high heat saute the garlic for 1-2 minutes. Toss in the onions till translucent. Add the veggies, and saute for a few minutes.
  • On low heat, add in the sauce gradually mixing in with the veggies. Mix well. The combine with the cooked Del Monte pasta.

  • Sprinkle the oregano flakes. Serve hot with a garnish of grated cheese and garlic bread sides.

And then served it to all in my family. And I basked in the reflected joy in their content faces!
And in Italian as they say,"Bellissimo!" sums up my experience!

That's my pasta story, lemme know your thoughts!

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