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.

Caprese Ice-cream

Does the title of this post shock you? Do you think it’s a typo? Nope… It is exactly what you read it is. Caprese Ice-cream… It has tomatoes, basil, Mozzarella cheese and whatever else an authentic Caprese Salad is supposed to have!

Caprese Ice-cream1

 

A perfect summer entrée for your guests!

It is the last day of the week-long ice-cream marathon going on here and I wanted to come up with an out-of-the-box flavor! A unique ice-cream which you have never read about on any other blog or probably (I’m just guessing) have never had it at any of the sophisticated restaurants! A treat I have specially created for you!

Our favorite summer salad made into an ice-cream!

It is actually a mix between ice-cream and sherbet.

It’s beautiful pink color will be a complete deception for your guests till they take a first bite of it!

It has a very refreshing kick from basil and is light on palate due to tomatoes.

We cook the tomatoes and basil leaves with olive oil on low-heat thus extracting basil flavors completely. The sieved puree is then mixed with Mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, sugar mayonnaise and whipped cream.. Freeze it overnight and just before serving blend it to a smooth consistency like how we made our frozen whip and serve immediately!

You can even add roasted~peeled~pureed red bell paper to add a different dimension to it!

Trust me it is a perfect start to your elaborate dinner party. Just double the recipe if serving a larger crowd.

Caprese Ice-cream2

Caprese Ice-cream

Serves: 4 | Serving: 1 scoop | Yields: 4 scoops

Ingredients:

  • 15-17 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 basil leaves
  • salt and freshly cracked pepper, as per taste
  • 1 Tbsp finely grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 tsp mayonnaise
  • A dash of lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 Tbsp fresh Medium fat cream (40%)

Directions:

Add tomatoes, olive oil and basil leaves in a saucepan and cook it covered on a low-flame for about 4-5 minutes till the tomatoes have soften, stirring occasionally. Pass them through sieve to remove the skin, seeds and leaves.

Season the puree with salt and pepper. Add grated Mozzarella, mayonnaise and lemon juice to it.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream and sugar together till you get a soft peak. Fold in the tomato mixture in a cream mixture and scoop it in a airtight container. Freeze it overnight.

Just before serving, add the frozen ice-cream to your blender and process it till you get a smooth consistency. Scoop and serve in individual glasses topped with basil or mint leaves.

*The last step of blending before serving is MUST as the tomatoes have high water content and therefore the ice-cream straight out of the freezer will be icy.

Enjoy!

Simple Summer Mac Salad with Tomato & Zucchini

Summer mac salad1

I love pasta in any and every form. Be it a hot or cold preparation. It’s my favorite at dinner time as it is pretty quick to put together and simple.

Especially this salad… It is perfect for summer nights when you are craving something light and refreshing! I particularly loath anything heavy for dinner… So this one ticks all the boxes for me! 🙂

I love this one so much that it’s been prepared 3 times already in my house! It was much appreciated by our guests too! Its an apt side-dish at any elaborate lunch or dinner parties and a must accompaniment for picnics! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Summer mac salad2

Simple Summer Mac Salad with Tomato & Zucchini

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 150 grams uncooked elbows
  • 200 grams grape/cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp eggless mayonnaise (American Garden’s)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider/red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp yogurt
  •  2 tsp mustard (optional)
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta in generously salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine onions, mayonnaise, vinegar, yogurt, mustard, oregano, garlic powder, basil leaves; mix well.
  3. Add tomatoes (and any juice from the tomato), zucchini, pasta, salt and pepper to taste, toss well and place in a large bowl.
  4. Serve immediately or keep in fridge till the serving time.

Enjoy chilled with a glass of your favorite mocktail or cocktail! 🙂