Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pasta in a Roasted Pepper-Tomato-Garlic Sauce for a Lazy, Rainy Day

The rains are lashing the city and all one wants to do is snuggle in bed, nurse a bowl of warm comforting food, read a book, and watch the raindrops pelt your windowpane harmlessly.

The reading of the book is an integral part of the rain experience for me.  And it needs to be a warm, snuggly book. Don't you agree that all books have a flavor, much like food, that would best describe them? Like Homey. Cloying. Bittersweet. Crackling. Tingling.

Books and food just seem to go so well together. When I was a child, Enid Blytons were my favorite and not having access to scones, jugs of cream, and homemade jams, I would make do with honeyed toast! You should try it some time... tastes just as good even today.

This Pasta dish is just another such homey, comforting dish perfect for the rains. I had made this a few months ago and it has been languishing in my drafts. But today seemed the perfect day to dust the cobwebs off this warm, easy, filling recipe.



Whole Wheat Pasta - Penne/Farfalle/Fusili/Rigatoni - 250gms Tomato - 1 small
Red Pepper - 1/2 a large one
Garlic cloves - 2 to 3
Almonds - 4
Olive Oil - 2 tsp

Soak the almonds in some warm water. Hull the tomato and mark an X with a sharp knife so its easy to remove the skin later. Peel the garlic cloves. Now drizzle  the tomato, garlic and the half red pepper with some olive oil and roast them either in the oven or on the stove top. I was too lazy to switch on my oven, so just roasted them on the handheld grill I sometimes use for puffing up my phulkas.

Once the three main components are nicely charred, remove from flame and let cool. Now remove the skin of the tomato and chop it up along with the pepper and garlic. Blitz all of them together in the blender till you get a smooth, dull red sauce. Add a little water if needed.

Now heat another teaspoon of olive oil in a large non stick pan and add this sauce. Add salt and a liberal dash of freshly ground black pepper. Mix well. 

Boil pasta as per instructions on the pack. It should be al dente. Wash the pasta in cold running water to stop it from cooking and immediately toss into the pan containing the roasted pepper-tomato-garlic sauce. Make sure it coats the pasta well. Switch off heat, toss, and adjust seasoning. Scoop into a bowl and enjoy!

The way I like it: 
This sauce has a wonderful roasted, smoked, nutty flavor to it. Mop it up with some fresh garlic bread. Or any kind of bread really.
 This was made on a particularly lazy day, so I skipped adding any vegetables. But this sauce tastes just as great when you add some baby corn, mushrooms, olives, broccoli, etc. You can also add shaved parmesan or just about any cheese you like. Goes well with a lovely Agatha Christie murder mystery or any book that you find comforting on a rainy day. Yes I am weird that way. I find murder mysteries lovely and comforting.