Farfalle with veggies and pesto sauce
I love my pasta and am always looking out for new recipes…different flavors, different colours, different pastas :-). Penne and spaghetti are my favourites, but i also use macaroni (the elbow shaped ones) occasionally. My pasta sauces are mostly homemade, not because I do not like the bottled sauces available (I love the Ragu brand of pasta sauces that are available in the market) but because when i make the sauce from scratch I have felt a distinct difference in how the pasta tastes finally. And no, my pasta sauces have not been limited to the red kind. I love white sauce in my pasta too and I should soon put up, in another post, the recipe for the white sauce that I like with pasta.
Coming back to this post, for a long time now, I’ve been thinking of trying a pasta dish using fusilli (the twisty pasta) or farfalle (the bowtie pasta). I happened to get hold of the Del Monte (i’ve been buying Del Monte now for a while) Farfalle pasta at the local grocers in our apartment complex. I must say that I was quite surprised to see that packet on the shelves there, for I expected to find the farfalle and conchiglie kind (the big shell shaped pasta) only on the shelves of those fancy gourmet stores….oooooohhhh….how i love to walk the aisles of those gourmet shops imagining myself cooking up some exotic fancy dishes in a matter of minutes in my pristine white apron…(a la MasterChef?!). Well, coming back to reality…..I got my packet of Farfalle and the next step was to locate some kind of a nice different recipe. Now here I must tell you that for some time now I have been extremely bored of the red and white sauces that I’ve been making with my pasta. You know sometimes you just get fed up of a particular taste in your mouth. So I started rummaging through this box full of recipes that I have collected over time……some of which I’ve tried and liked, but most of which have been confined to mental simulations of cooking that I often indulge in! And, in this box I find 2 recipes for farfalle and 1 recipe that I had shortlisted a while ago for preparing fusilli pasta (and for which i’d bought some expensive ingredients like fennel – all under the impression that I had a packet of fusilli lying in my kitchen cupboard…..which as you might’ve guessed was also just one of my flights of fancy…the well stocked larder like Nigella Lawson’s!!!) Phew!!
So, here i was with a packet of farfalle pasta, some expensive ingredients for an imaginary pasta in my cupboard and 2 recipes of which thankfully I had almost all other required ingredients. What I tried and what turned out well (thank God for small mercies) was a combination of these two recipes with some additions of my own. So here goes the recipe:
3 cups of farfalle pasta cooked and drained according to the instructions on the pack
2 medium red onions thinly sliced
1 small ripe tomato roughly chopped or 1 cup of cherry tomatoes (I used a regular tomato)
1 small zucchini sliced
1 small fennel thinly sliced (stem and leaves)
1 cup of thinly sliced button mushrooms
2-3 tbsps Olive Oil for cooking
2 tbsps cream (I use the Amul fresh cream tetrapak available in stores)
1 crushed garlic
6 tsps of pesto sauce (available in stores as such or made by bringing mint, coriander, garlic and lime juice to a fine paste/sauce – i left out the mint since I’m not a big fan of that particular flavor)
3-4 tsps of that divine italian seasoning (i use the ones that are delivered with pizzas :-))
Parmesan or other processed cheese such as Cheddar (I used Cheddar)
Salt to taste
Juice of half a lime
Cook the pasta as per instructions on the pack. Dont forget to see my tips at the bottom of this post.
Heat the olive oil and add the crushed garlic and sliced onions to it. Fry until browned.
Now add the fennel to this and fry for just a minute.
Add the chopped tomatoes, zucchini and mushrooms. Stir on a high flame for a minute or so until the zucchini turns soft.
Add the cooked farfalle, pesto sauce and cream to this and toss well to combine.
Add the Italian seasoning and the lime juice, toss again and check for seasoning.
Grate some cheese over the pasta and your Farfalle with veggies and pesto sauce is ready!
Note: This recipe easily serves about 3 adults AND my 3 yr old loved it….with the veggies!!! Yay!!!
1. When cooking any pasta, always remember that the water should be brought to a boil first with some salt added to it. Once it starts to boil you add the pasta to it and keep the water boiling….bubbling all the time. It is this bubbling that cooks pasta without letting it get all pasty. Also remember to cook the pasta al dente – literally meaning ‘to the tooth’, but figuratively meaning ‘just cooked’. You can tell if your pasta is cooked al dente when you see a small bit of the inside of the pasta uncooked. Better still you chew it and if you feel a slight resistance at the center, then lo…your pasta is al dente. 🙂
2. While cooking mushrooms always remember to cook them over a medium to high flame, stirring continuously. Mushrooms have a high water content and tend to let out a lot of moisture while cooking. If not cooked on a high flame then all the water that they release could make your dish and the mushrooms a bit soggy. If cooked on a high flame they get cooked and are yet firm.
3. With veggies like zucchini too, you mustn’t cook them covered. Zucchini too lets out a lot of water while cooking. They turn soft in a minute or so and retain their colour if cooked uncovered.