A hot bowl of soup,some pan fried croquettes and herbed butter tossed pasta- A perfect little dinner!

Last dinner for dinner my younger teen asked for a ‘soupy kinda meal’. It resonated with what I was feeling ,battling a sore throat as I was. So I rustled up a tomato-onion soup with brown bread baked croutons, some pan-fried potato croquettes and a herbed butter shell pasta. It made for a simple, homey and satisfying meal.

Tomato Soup Croquettes and pasta

For the soup ( this makes 4 generous servings)
6-7 large ripe tomatoes
3 large onions
Salt to taste
½ tsp black pepper powder
A pinch of sugar

Pressure cook all of the above ingredients with a glass of water. Cool, blitz in the mixer-grinder and strain.

Put the pot on the stove again and adjust seasoning if needed. Add some herbs, fresh or dry. I added some oregano and fresh parsley.
Serve steaming hot topped with some grated cheddar cheese or cream and some baked croutons.

For the croutons, toast 4 slices of brown bread in the oven till they were crisp and brown. Lightly butter them and cut into squares. Done!

For the croquettes

5-6 boiled and mashed potatoes
2 onions and a large green chilli, both chopped fine 
Salt 
Pepper 
Some Lal mirch, amchur powder and a pinch of garam masala
4-5 slices of brown bread ground to a coarse powder in the mixer
Combine all of the above.
Shape as you like and pan-fry on a non stick pan till well browned from both the sides.
Serve hot!

For the pasta
Boil 200 gms pasta
Heat a tsp of butter and let it brown slightly.
Throw in the pasta.
Add salt, pepper and any herb of your choice.

That’s it! You have a soul-satisfying meal ready to serve. It took me all of 30 minutes to get it together too 😀

Tomato Soup Potato Croquettes Pasta

Ricotta/Paneer stuffed Rigatoni

Pasta is a weekly regular in my kitchen. I am always scheming to sneak in more and more veggies into it by hook or crook, sneaky Mommy me! 😉
I often make this Spinach, ricotta and garlic stuffed Rigatoni cooked layered with red and white sauces-lasagna style. My teenagers were wide-eyed and delighted when I made it for the first time 😀

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Ingredients

Rigatoni,boiled al dante – 500 gms
Mozarella/chedder/processed cheese- 1 cup

Mix these for stuffing the pasta
Spinach,blanched and chopped- 2 cups
Ricotta/Cottage cheese(Paneer), crumbled- a cup
Garlic, minced- 2 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste

Marinara /Red Pasta Sauce – 3 cups (I used my three-pepper marinara)
Béchamel/ White sauce- 2-3 cups ( Here is a pictorial on making it )

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Stuff the pasta is stuffed with a mixture of ricotta/paneer,crushed garlic and finely chopped and blanched spinach.
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2014-08-02 20.31.36_wmLayer a baking dish alternating layers of pasta with the red and white sauces.  Use the sauces generously.Top with white sauce, sprinkle the cheese ( Cheddar or mozzarella) and bake for about 15 minutes at 180C
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Remember to boil to rigatoni just halfway through for ease of filling.
Sauces have to be used generously for the pasta to get cooked thoroughly while baking and yet remain most.
Enjoy!

I am taking this family favourite of mine to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. A big shout of thanks to Edna and Madge for co-hosting the party ❤
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White Sauce or Béchamel

Back to basics time today  🙂
Here is a pictorial on the Béchamel or white sauce. It is simply flour roasted in butter and then milk added to it gradually till it thickens. It is then seasoned with salt and pepper to get the basic white sauce. Grated cheese may be added once it is off the heat to get cheese sauce. I use it for pastas and au gratins and for quick lunch box fixes like this Mixed Vegetable Macroni
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Ingredients

APF/Maida- 1 Tbsp
Butter- 1 ½ Tbsp
Milk- One cup (May add more to get a thinner sauce)
Salt- ½ Tsp
Black pepper- ½ tsp
Grated cheddar cheese- ½ cup (optional)
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Heat the butter in a saucepan.
Keeping the heat on medium, add the flour and roast till it changes colour slightly.
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We are looking for a blonde/ dark cream colour. This is the roux. Keep stirring at all times. It burns very quickly.
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Add the milk gradually, stirring non-stop, till all the milk is used up.
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Stir well and cook another couple of minutes and your basic white sauce is ready.
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Season it with salt and pepper.
To get a cheesy sauce, add half a cup of grated cheddar after talking the sauce off the heat.

Mixed Vegetable Macaroni 

Here is a quick Mixed Vegetable Pasta just perfect for the lunch box.
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For this, as soon as the sauce begins to thicken ,I throw in half a cup of mixed vegetables chopped very fine and half a cup of boiled macaroni.
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Add some oregano or herb spice mix, stir and done!

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I skip the cheese for the lunch box as in makes the sauce sticky on cooling down.

This pasta went to school with some stuffed focaccia. You can find the recipe for the basic Focaccia here. I just stuffed it with some stir fried vegetables and cheese. Then rolled it and baked in a loaf tin.
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I am a happy Mommie when the Lunch box comes back all clean!

Three Pepper Fusilli/ Pasta

Friday is here and it is time for Fiesta Friday at Angie’s. I am bringing a delicious pasta to the party,full of hidden vegetables!
Three Pepper Fusilli!

Pasta gets made at least once a weak in my kitchen.As much as my boys love pasta, the chopped vegetables go uneaten, no matter how fine I chop them. So, like all good Moms I have learnt to sneak in as many vegetables I can into the sauces. Friday lunch was this delicious Three Pepper Fusili with our favourite bread of all seasons, a  mixed-herb Focaccia and some mini-buns.
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THREE PEPPER FUSILLI

Fusilli pasta- 500 Gms

Boil the Fusili till al dente (as per the instructions on the pack)

THREE PEPPER MARINARA/PIZZA SAUCE


Ingredients

Onions- 2 large, finely chopped
Garlic- 7-8 cloves, minced
Tomatoes- 8-10 large, pureed
All three peppers- 2 of each, chopped into cubes
Olive oil- 2 tbsp
Salt to tase
Oregano and mixed herbs- 1 Tbsp
Black Pepper crushed – 1 tsp
Chilly flakes- 1/2 tsp (optional)
Tomato ketchup – 2 tbsp (optional)
Fresh Cream/malai- 2 Tbsp

These proportions make a biggish batch. I use as needed and refrigerate the rest in a glass bottle.

Heat the oil. Add garlic and onions. Fry till onions are transparent. Add in the tomato puree and cook uncovered for ten minutes.
Grind the peppers in the mixie to a coarse paste. Add to the tomato onion mix. Add salt, black pepper, oregano, mixed herbs and tomato ketchup ( if using).Cook covered on low heat for about 20 minues. Keep checking and stirring to avoid burning.

You will get a thick, rich and aromatic sauce. The three pepper paste really adds a lovely flavour and reduces the sourness of the tomatoes. Great way to add veggies to the sauce too!

 

To assemble- Heat the sauce and add in the sauce. Simmer for a minutes and turn off. Stir in 2 Tbsp fresh cream. Add in the fusilli.
Enjoy with fresh home-made focaccia or some dinner rolls.
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