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A quick, cheesy, tasty, and nutritious pasta

December 16, 2006
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After reading scores of recipes on how to make pasta I have developed one which is a mish mash of them all. Call it a quickie pasta or a jhat-phat pasta (no sauce), it’s cheesy and it’s tasty. Ideal for a bachelor cooking for himself. Not awfully original, but it’s my very own.

Ingredients:
2 cups firmly cooked pasta.
Slightly more than 1 cup grated tomato
A pinch of mixed herbs
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-5 flakes sliced garlic
1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.
Red pepper flakes or black pepper powder (according to taste)
Salt
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped vegetables.

(Ensure that the grated tomato is more than half the volume of the cooked pasta and the cheese about three-quarters the volume of the cooked pasta. The quantity of garlic and pepper can be varied according to taste. However, too much garlic spoils the subtle flavour of the herbs)

Method:

1. Heat oil and add garlic. Sauté. If you want to add vegetables then add them now.
2. When the vegetables are lightly fried, lower the flame, and add the grated tomato and the herbs. Do not cook. Just stir until well mixed.
3. Add the cooked pasta.
4. Add the salt and pepper.
5. Mix thoroughly.
6. Add the grated cheese. Again, mix well until the cheese coats the pasta completely and starts to melt.
7. Shut the gas and cover with lid for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
8. Consume immediately.

Notes:
Olive oil: This can be substituted by any refined oil. But do not use any strong smelling oil like mustard or groundnut.
Herbs: Mixed herbs are available in large department stores if you live in a metropolitan city. If you have to use Indian spices, use them in moderation.
Pastas: Imported pastas are preferable as the the Indian varieties soften if they are slightly overcooked. The cooked pasta needs to be firm, with a good bite. Whole wheat pastas are the best as they are the most nutritious. One place where good whole-wheat pastas are available are at Fabindia at the Nirmal Lifestyle Mall (Mulund) and at Crawford Market, Mumbai.
Cheese: Do not use cooking cheese. Amul and Nestle blocks are fine.
Tomatoes: Fresh ripe tomatoes should be used and grated with skin.
Vegetables: Broccoli and mushroom taste good with this dish but any vegetable can be used.

Enjoy.

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