Italian Summer Pasta Salad

 Italian Summer Pasta Salad1

 

After radio silence for 3 weeks, I’m back. Again. Can’t say for how long but I am here. So how are things guys? Here, monsoon has almost arrived and summer is officially over (for good!). But here I am, with a huge backlog of summer recipes. What am I to do when all these days I have been cooking all things “summery” regularly but not getting time to post them. Let’s just say that it is still summer somewhere in the world, right?! 😉

I love anything and everything Italian so when I came across this pretty looking salad on Sommer’s amazing blog I knew I had to get to it pronto. It is so good and SO refreshing! Zests of orange and lemon, al dente pasta, orange chunks, tiny tomatoes and torn basil all tied together with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. What’s not to love? Must try, whatever time of year it is for you.

I hope you’re having an awesome weekend.
Stay cozy, it’s gonna be a rainy one! xx

 

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Italian Summer Pasta Salad

Recipe scaled down & adapted from A Spicy Perspective

Yield: 2-3 servings | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat Farfalle pasta
  • 1 naval orange, zest and orange segments
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup scallions, cut into 1 inch segments
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, zest the orange and lemon. Place the zest and the juice of lemon in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and whisk. Peel the orange, gently break the segments apart and seed them. Place them in the bowl.
  3. Slice the tomatoes in half and add to the bowl. Then pour the drained pasta over the tomatoes and gently toss to coat. Add the scallions and basil leaves to the bowl and toss. Salt and pepper generously, about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: I didn’t have scallions at hand so I had to skip them but they are highly recommended as it’d add some crunch & make the dish all the more flavorsome. 🙂

 

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Crust-less Zucchini Pie

Crustless Zucchini Pie3

A wonderful savory pie made with zucchini, parsley, basil, onions, Cheddar and Parmesan cheese.

A simple recipe to make your meal exciting!

I had a wonderful birthday weekend and I am still in a weekend recovery mode.. (Can anyone blame me?! I think not!)

So I was just browsing throu my recipe folder, seeing what mess it is and found this unposted recipe. I had baked this pie almost more than a month back for taking to a party at friend’s place but forgot to post it here and wanted to do it ASAP before it gets lost in a huge mess that my laptop has become! (I need to organize everything into folders big time!!!) 😛

It is as easy as all the other recipes on my blog as easy is what we all love, isn’t it? The hero of this pie is my favorite zucchini which is available in abundance around this time of year. The flavors get a touch of refresh due to parsley and basil leaves. It is perfectly cheesy and oh-so soft and moist.

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Be sure to squeeze all the liquid from grated zucchini otherwise the pie will stay uncooked at places and it will be sticky while slicing into pieces. So squeeze it down till its last drop, okay?!

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Crust-less Zucchini Pie

Serves: 4, Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini, liquid squeezed out
  • 1 large red onion, chopped finely
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh curled parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp olive oil plus extra to grease the pie dish
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly cracked pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Shred zucchini, put it in a cheese cloth or muslin cloth and give it a good squeeze to remove extra liquid. Preheat the oven to 400°F/ 200°C. Grease a pie dish with olive oil.
  2. Combine zucchini, onions, parsley, basil and cheddar cheese in a bowl.
  3. Sift flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add milk, olive oil, beaten eggs, salt and pepper to it and blend well. Combine with zucchini mixture and pour it into pie dish.
  4. Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took exactly 37 minutes. Let it cool on a rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.

*Serve it with crème fraiche or fresh tomato salsa. Pairs well with soups too!

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.

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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.

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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.

Fresh Mint and Chocolate Chunks Ice-cream

Hello beautiful people.. I hope you all enjoyed my yesterday’s ice-cream post!

But if you have not read my previous post then let me tell you that I am doing an ice-cream week on the blog and I am going to post super-easy ice-cream recipes which does not require the use of ice-cream maker! Week-long of deliciousness! Excited??!! I really am… Imagine 7 beautiful ice-cream treats for 7 days of the week! 7 gorgeous flavors! Yup.. I’ll be blogging continuously for 7 days! Anything for you guys! 🙂

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So keeping up with this week’s ice-cream theme, I have got you a Fresh Mint and Chocolate Chunk Ice-cream… Sounds refreshing right? Feeling of cold running down your spine while having the first lick of this ice-cream is what you should expect and nothing less! That too made with fresh mint.. No mister, no mint extract involved here!

Mint and chocolate is a match made in heaven! This is one of my favorite ice-creams to have in summer… Love the splash of green it has! I know… Girls and colors!!! 😉

If you do not like green color, no worries, simply omit it as it is only for the visual effect! But I bet your kiddos or kids in you will love it!

Large chunks of chocolate really compliments cool mint, mellows down the flavor and yet packs a punch!

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So you would be curious as in how did I manage to extract so much flavor from fresh mint without adding even a drop of mint extract? Actually it was very simple! I added mint leaves to the cream and let it sit in the refrigerator for around 4 hours. Kind of let the mint marinate the cream and after 4 hours you get the base for your ice-cream! Dang easy!

Whip this cream with a drop of green color and add as many chocolate chunks as you like to it, hide it in freezer for 4-5 hours and it’s ready to be devoured!

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Just a 4-ingredient treat!

Fresh Mint and Chocolate Chunks Ice-cream

Yields: around 12-14 scoops

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh medium fat cream (40% fat)
  • 2 large handfuls of mint leaves
  • 3 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 drop of green food color (optional)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks (I like lots of it, you can use less)
  • chocolate sprinkles and/or chocolate sauce, to garnish

Directions:

In a bowl, add mint leaves to the cream and place it in a refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Use sieve and strain the cream in another large bowl to separate mint leaves. Add sugar and food color to it and whip using a electric mixer till you get a light and fluffy mix. Fold in chocolate chunks and spoon the mix in airtight container. Freeze it for 4-5 hours and serve it as is or with chocolate sprinkles or chocolate sauce.

Tips:

*When serving leftovers, remove container from freezer about 15 minutes before serving to soften.

*Dip your ice-cream scoop in a warm water for scooping out the ice-cream easily.

Farfalle with Fresh Coriander and Cashew Pesto

As I have proclaimed here before…. I looovvveee pasta!

And my all time favorite pasta sauce is basil pesto.

But then I came across this creamy coriander pesto & now, I have a new favorite!

Fresh coriander & Cashew Sauce2

On a rainy evening, hubby & I were sipping coffee at our favorite cafe located down the street from our house. They have quite a versatile menu and I really love the place. One pasta sauce in there really caught my eye and I had to order it immediately. It was a spicy coriander and cashew sauce prepared in cream cheese and was served over Conchiglie (shell shaped) pasta.

The dish was so delectable that I had to replicate it at home with bit of a guesswork. Of course my version differed from theirs as I did not use cream cheese and did not add red chili flakes. But it was every bit as scrumptious if not better! Now would I lie to you? NO! So believe me 🙂

It is a pesto sauce so you have your usual suspects.. fresh herb, garlic and nuts!

The pesto has a fresh summery fragrance from fresh coriander and a rich texture from cashews. I used Farfalle pasta instead as that is what I had on hand.

You would be really surprised at how creamy it turned out and pretty low in calories too! Very delicate dish all in all! 🙂

So let’s get down to the recipe!

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Farfalle with Fresh Coriander and Cashew Pesto

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Farfalle pasta, cooked al dente as per the package direction
  • 2 cups fresh coriander leaves (packed into measuring cup)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup cashews, soaked in water for 2-3 hours
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup hot milk and 1 cup hot water, mixed together
  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes (I omitted it)

Directions:

  1. Cook 2 cups of Farfalle pasta in salted boiling water as per the direction mentioned on the package. Once pasta has cooked al dente, drain the water and start preparing the sauce.
  2. Add coriander leaves, garlic cloves, soaked cashews, pinch of salt and 1/4 cup milk in a blender and blitz till you get a soft puree. Add little milk if required.
  3. In a pan, melt the butter and add flour to it. Let the flour cook for about 3-4 minutes on a low heat.
  4. Add hot milk and hot water mixture to the pan and whisk to make sure there are no lumps. Add grated cheese. Cheese will melt and mixture will thicken a bit in about 5 minutes.
  5. Add pureed coriander mixture in a pan and whisk. Season with salt and pepper as per your taste. Add red chili flakes if you want a hint of spice. Add pasta to this and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes so that pasta has absorbed the sauce. Serve immediately.