Seeking refuge in spaghetti!

These days in the kitchen my keywords are ‘quick’, ‘healthy’ and ‘nutritious’. I’m constantly on the lookout for new recipes that make my life easier and make our meals wholesome and interesting. One of the things I do on a daily basis, at least on weekdays, is to include either a soup or a salad in our meals. The weather in Mumbai has been pretty chilly and pleasant over the last couple of weeks so we’ve been leaning a lot towards soups these days. But then there are those days when you want something more for dinner, the times when a daal, rice and vegetable seems too heavy but just a soup and salad doesn’t look enough to fill your stomach. Those are the days when I whip up some pasta!

Since this is usually for dinner I don’t like making it with a white/cheese sauce unless I decide to load it with veggies and tomato sauce is out of the question because after a long day at work, all I want is dinner that can get done in maximum 30 minutes from start to finish. I know it sounds lazy, but I also know a lot of you who are reading this are smiling to yourselves because you absolutely understand what I’m saying, isn’t it?

So back to this pasta dish. Whenever I have fresh basil at hand I generally make a pesto with it and store it in the fridge. This comes in handy for anything right from sandwiches to even using them in quick roti rolls with some veggies. I mixed the last few spoonfuls of this pesto with some light creamy sauce that I made and tossed it with some spaghetti and garnished with a sprinkling of Parmesan and some chopped black olives. This spaghetti was served with a salad of yellow bell peppers, lettuce and tomatoes in a simple olive oil and garlic salt dressing. And that, was a delicious dinner to tuck into after a long day at work. Simple pleasures are sometimes the best ones!

Perfect weeknight dinner

Spaghetti with pesto cream sauce

Here’s my recipe for pesto

2 cups of basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

Blend all these ingredients in the mixie until it forms a smooth paste. Transfer this into an airtight container, check the seasoning and pour some more olive oil over the pesto before storing it in the fridge. The pesto will last in the fridge for a couple of weeks, just be sure to sure a clean, dry spoon every time you help yourself to some.

To proceed with the recipe

150 gms of spaghetti, cooked as per instructions on the packet

For the pesto cream sauce
3 tbsp of pesto
1 1/2 tbsp of whole wheat flour
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups of skim milk
Salt to taste
Some chopped black olives, to garnish

Heat the oil in a pan on a medium flame and add the garlic to this, when the garlic begins to turn golden brown add the whole wheat flour to the pan and gently roast it until it emits a nutty flavour. Be careful as it is very easy for the flour to burn if you’re not paying attention.

Now slowly add the milk to this and keep stirring the sauce. You will notice that it is beginning to thicken, continue stirring to avoid any lumps in the sauce. Turn down the flame and stir in the pesto. Mix it well and allow the flavours to come together after a while, check the seasoning and then turn off the flame.

Pour the sauce into a mixing bowl with the spaghetti and toss everything together. Check the seasoning again, add some freshly crushed black peppercorns and a swirl of olive oil to bring all the flavours together. Oh yes, don’t forget that sprinkle of Parmesan too! Garnish with the chopped olives and serve hot. Buono appetito!

* Agreed that pine nuts are ‘the’ ingredient to be used in an authentic pesto recipe, but they are so expensive! I would think a dozen times before buying them and that’s the reason why I use walnuts in my pesto recipe.

* Serve this dish with plan garlic bread or toss up a salad. But for the salad, ensure that you have other colours apart from green so that your meal looks appealing.

* To up the flavours you could add some chopped cherry tomatoes or roasted baby potatoes or even some chopped sausages to the pasta dish. 

3 Comments

  • Kitchen Queen February 27, 2013 at 3:22 am

    any time its pesto time. loved it. do visit my space some time.

    Reply
  • Sebeena Loyd February 27, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    renuka, lovely one.

    Reply
  • Kalyan March 11, 2013 at 4:11 am

    Spaghetti with pesto is my favourite go to dish too. I

    Reply

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