5-minute Tomato Pasta Sauce ~ Meal for Two & Some Chit Chat

5-Minutes Tomato Pasta Sauce1

 

Let’s chat, shall we!? Time to end the lazy slump I’ve been rolling in lately. A lot’s been going on around here and I’m up for a full disclosure now. I did slip the news on Instagram couple of weeks ago but didn’t announce officially on the blog. So here it goes!! Drum-rolls please!!! I am going to LONDON this FALL for a one year postgraduate programme!!!!! WOHOOOO!!!!!!! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!! Sorry for all the yelling but I’m SOOOOO excited for this new chapter of my life to begin. This year has been truly magical so far!

I got the confirmed offer on my admission about a couple months ago but was skeptical on sharing the news as there were so many things to consider and plan for before I decide to accept the offer. Let’s just say I didn’t want to jinx it! I was ecstatic (to say the least) to get into this prestigious college. I was (still am!) over the MOON would be an understatement. I leave in September and there is so much to do. I need to visit my parents, apply for Visa, do the shopping, pack my bags and off I go. Fingers crossed for a smooth sailing!

Now here is a bit of not-so-good-news. Umm… I’m not sure if I’ll be able to continue blogging along with my studies but I’m not going to incessantly worry over something I can’t control. As of now, the only thing I’m sure of is that the programme is going to be very intense and I am going to have to give my 101% attention to it, even if blogging takes a backseat. I AM absolutely ready to prioritize. I love blogging so much therefore I’ll be blogging here as much as I can until September and after that we’ll see how things go. I would love to pop over in between during my stay in London to share my experiences in new country, food related or not. I will definitely try to stay as active as possible on Instagram nonetheless so do follow me there to stay in touch and be my companion on #LondonDiaries! 🙂

*Recipe*

This recipe I am sharing today is bonkers awesome! It is the quickest meal I have ever made (apart from toss-in-all-you-have salads or couscous!). If you can boil the pasta then you can make this recipe. This one here is basically foolproof! The tomato paste (Brand name – Splitz) I used for this quick pasta sauce is made locally in Bangalore and the ingredients list reads – Tomatoes. That’s it! It does not have any funky ingredients I can’t understand or pronounce, just pure tomato goodness without any color or preservative or salt! Too good to be true and but sadly, it is mostly available only in Bangalore. But fret not. You can go ahead and try any other good, organic tomato paste you can find in the store near you.

This packet is definitely going with me everywhere I travel. I guess it’d be a blessing during my soon-to-start student life! What a cheap, no-fuss and delicious meal option with so many possibilities. Add any number of vegetables to this dish to make it more hearty and fulfilling. Just a heaping Tablespoon of this potent tomato paste is enough for one portion. You can tell I’m quite impressed! What can I say, sometimes simple is truly THE BEST! xx

 

5-Minute Tomato Pasta Sauce2

 

Quickest Tomato Pasta Sauce ~ Dinner for Two

Yields: 2 generous servings | Prep time: 2 minutes |Cook time: 15 minutes | Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups macaroni pasta
  • 1 cup pasta water, reserved after boiling
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • Scant 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dry basil herb
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • Shavings of Parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Cook pasta as per the package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.
  2. In the meantime, heat the pan on a medium-high heat. Add olive oil, garlic and onion and sauté for a minute. Add tomato paste and salt and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, scraping and stirring occasionally. The tomato paste will turn brown and this will enhance the flavors. Mix in basil and pepper and cook for another minute.
  3. Stir in 3/4 cup of reserved pasta water to the tomato paste and magically you’ll get your pasta sauce ready! If you want thinner consistency sauce, add remaining 1/4 cup pasta water too. Stir in the drained pasta. Divide between 2 serving dishes. Top with some shavings of Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Notes:
*You can add vegetables of your choice to make the meal more hearty. Just sauté the vegetables along with garlic and onion before adding tomato paste to the mix. Zucchini, broccoli, eggplant, bell peppers…. sky is the limit!
*You may also top the pasta with capers or olives.
*Use whole wheat or quinoa pasta to make this meal healthier. 
*Use penne or spaghetti pasta instead of macaroni.

Good Bye 2013 ~ Top Viewed 10 Blog Posts —-> A Toast to Past & Future!

Top10Collage

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

― Ira Glass

2013 has been a sweet year for Cook By Book! I feel super-ecstatic as I type. This was a first year of blogging for me. I was thrilled when I started this place in April, 2013. It has been 8+ amazing months of interaction with you all. I loouu you my readers and fellow bloggers! I am so thankful for you all. Really!! Through all the ups and downs of life, I have still been able to post 82 recipes on the blog! Hurraaayyy!!

Another milestone to be thankful for — I was able to achieve 100+ follows from fellow bloggers. Yippiii!! I thank them from the bottom of my heart! You all have been absolutely lovely and soo encouraging with your kind comments! ♥ ♥ ♥

A special thanks to Pinterest too! If you don’t follow my boards there please do so 🙂

The blogosphere is getting filled with ‘Top-10’ posts and I decided to jump on the bandwagon too. It will be a great post to look back to in a future. I pulled out the stats for the past year and made this list. The top post was of course the Homepage and third spot was taken by ‘About Me’ page so they don’t count. Top recipe posts were definitely the ones I had posted in the beginning of the year when I was an amateur (I still am!) so they may not be my best work. I will let you judge!

Here goes the list! Let me know in the comments which one is your favorite! 🙂

10. Kiwi Buttermilk Cake ~ Eggless

 9. M&M Oreo Cookie Bars

 8. No-Bake Kiwi Cheesecake with Oreo Crust

 7. Skinny Zucchini Boats

 6. Skinny Devil’s Food Cake Mix Cookies 

 5. Farfalle with Fresh Coriander and Cashew Pesto

 4. Mini Mango No-Bake CheeseCake

 3. Microwave Chocolate-Nutella Mug-Cake

 2. Funfetti Cake Mix Cookies

 1. Mountain Dew Cupcakes with Mountain Dew Buttercream Frosting ~ My Favorite & apparently yours too!!

Wish you all a Rocking New Year Eve & Happiest New Year!
Clink Clink! 😀
See you back in 2014!!!

Lemony Peas & Mushroom Pasta & My Random Thoughts

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
– Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist

And it really happened to me! Something really tiny, to prove it right. But it did happen and now I have altered perspective.. Of course you would have read about this in the book ‘The Secret’ but it is hard to believe anything till you experience it personally.

Let me come straight to the point and tell you what exactly happened. There is a place close to my house where my friend once saw a snake and after she told me about this incident when ever I used to pass from that place I used to think about a snake crossing my path. I am pretty scared of snakes and I mean who isn’t! So that anticipation, that fear was always there in the back of my mind. I used to imagine about snake coming out of nowhere and crossing my path every single time! It was and is crazy till now! So this thinking continued for around 4-5  months. And on one rainy evening finally my vision came to life! Instead of one I saw two snakes, intertwined with each other, dancing at tunes being played by rain gods. Oh yeah, there it was! In front of my eyes! I stared in bewilderment! I thanked my lucky stars fervently that I was not on foot and was protected by my car. And even till date, whenever I pass by I still think about the snakes crossing my path. You know how human mind works (or at least mine seem to!)… I try not to think about it but it’s there! So much that I have started skipping that area altogether!

So if you are still with me on my randomness (WOW, you are!) let me ask you something.. Is it only me or does it happen with you too? You would want to know why I am writing about it on my blog today?!! As mentioned in my last post I am turning 28 tomorrow and I was just reflecting on what all happened in last year and how I want my life to be in next year.. If our mind and thoughts have power to make it real, why not use it positively? I can constantly think about good things to happen and shape my life accordingly! Isn’t it just genius?!… Things to ponder!

So I’ll stop talking now about random stuff (Finally!!!). I sincerely thank you for being there in front of the screen and I love you for reading this post (longest till date!). I really do! 🙂

 It’s my birthday week so I am cooking all of my favorite things and you all know how much I LOVE pasta! So I made this simple pasta dish with peas and mushroom.

Lemony Peas & Mushroom Pasta1

I used Conchiglie pasta in this recipe but you can use any other short pastas you have like Fusilli, Orecchiette or Farfalle.

Peas have been mildly blanched so you get the crunchy texture. Tad bit of Cheddar is added to make it perfectly cheesy. Addition of lemon zest just takes it to another level! It is light, buttery and perfect for quick lunch/dinner.

Lemony Peas & Mushroom Pasta2

Lemony Peas & Mushroom Pasta

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup Conchiglie
  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, diced
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp grated Cheddar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • fresh parsley, chopped finely, optional

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta as per the manufacturer’s instruction. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Pour the remaining pasta water over the peas in colander so that peas will get blanched and pasta will get drained. If you want more tender peas then add them to the pasta pot 1-2 minutes left of cooking time.
  2. Heat the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan and add minced garlic. Saute it for about a minute, then add mushrooms and saute it for 4-5 minutes until tender.
  3. Add onion powder, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Then add 1/4 cup of pasta water and cooked pasta and peas to the pan. Add little more pasta water if required. Turn off the heat.
  4. Finish it off with grated Cheddar and lemon zest. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.