Monday, September 17, 2012

Recipe: Pasta with a tomato basil sauce and bocconcini

Given the weird weather we have been having these days, I really don't feel like cooking elaborate or heavy meals. Light pastas with some stir fried vegetables are about all I can think of eating by the end of the day.

I had some bocconcini that I had picked up from ABC farms in Pune and it wasn't as flavourful as I would have liked it to be, so I could just make an insalata caprese or any other salad with it.

A recent episode of Masterchef Australi showed Mindy making a  pasta with tomatoes, basil, some chilli and some cheese, so I used that as inspiration and this is the result.

This recipe is also being entered in the Del Monte Blogger recipe carnival

100 gms Del Monte pasta (since this was a loose tomato based sauce, I used the tri colour spiralli, it will work well with penne or any other pasta that can hold the sauce in ridges)
2 tbsps Del Monte tomato sauce (this is for colour and a hint of sweetness - optional)
1/2 kilo fresh ripe tomatoes pureed
2 tbsps finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp oregano (you can use leftover pizza seasoning)
1 tbsp chilli flakes or to taste (you can use leftover pizza seasoning)
a few basil leaves cleaned and roughly chopped
olive oil
salt to taste
100 gms bocconcini - optional
parmeggiano reggiano for garnish

In a tsp of olive fry up the garlic till cooked and then add the tomato puree.
Add the oregano and chilli flakes to taste and cook well till the tomato mixture is completely cooked. You don't want a very thick sauce, nor do you want a very thin sauce, so keep adjusting water (or any mild stock) as required.
Sometimes the tomatoes in season may result in a pinkish rather than reddish sauce, so this is when I add the tomato sauce for colour and a hint of sweetness.
Adjust salt, sweetness and sourness to taste (this is important because the flavours of tomatoes change across seasons and regions, so adjust the balance to something that you and your family like)
Give it a boil, toss in the basil (reserve a little for garnish), give it a stir and turn off the heat.

Cook the pasta in boiling water with a bit of oil and salt to taste.
When it reaches your required level of doneness, drain and run a little cold water over it.
Mix the pasta and bocconcini (if using) into the hot sauce.
Serve garnished with the reserved basil and shavings of parmeggiano reggiano

The sides I have served it with as seen in this picture are:
1. mushrooms, baby corn and yellow peppers flash fried with butter, salt and freshly crushed black pepper.
2. chicken cubes marinated in pesto sauce and grilled with toasted pine nuts added at the end.

1. I had a little pancetta, so I fried that up first and used the fat from that to make the rest of the sauce and tossed the meat back in at the end, but you can just use olive oil.
2. The cheese can be left out if you watn to keep this recipe vegan, the sauce is still very tasty. You can serve the cheese on the side if you have a mix of vegan and non vegan diners at the meal.

This rescipe has also been submitted for the Del Monte Blogger Recipe Carnival at

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Recipe: Laithaun - Traditional Manglorean Suckling Pig (Pigling) Roast

Traditional Manglorean Roast Pigling is called "Laithaun" in Konkani. Its normally stuffed with a mixture of bread, raisins, nuts, liver, onions & spices. It is served with a side of fresh mustard and a soup made from the drippings.

When its served by a caterer at a wedding/christening/roce - its sliced up into thin elegant looking slices - a sliver of skin & fat with a bit if meat. But since we had ordered it for Xmas for our family and we are a family of trigger happy foodies, we told the guy who does the roasting (Jojo Caterers) to deliver it as is & we would do the slicing ourselves after we finished taking pics.

If they serve it whole at a function (an extra for decoration & then taken home for consumption after the event) it is served resting on its stomach (as seen in movies)

I don't remember roast pigling, ever being made from scratch at home. My great grandma might have done it in her time before caterers and large bakeries came on the scene. I do know that some of the bakeries in Mangalore, will let you rent their huge ovens for a couple of hours if you want to roast a pigling that you have stuffed yourself.

J B Lobo's - Home Encyclopedia does have a recipe for Roast Pigling and thats what I've posted below verbatim :)

Kill the pigling. Pour boiling water over, a little at a time, and remove the hair and thin dry outer skin by scraping the hot surface with a knife as quickly as possible. When the skin is cleaned, make a slit down the belly. Remove entrails. Clean inside thoroughly. Also clean the ears and nose well. Wash the pigling in several rinses of cold water.

Prepare the stuffing as described below and stuff the belly. Stitch, using a trussing needle and strong thread. Apply salt all over. Place in a roasting tin and roast at 350F (175C) basting frequency. When done, remove and immediately sprinkle over with chilly powder and turmeric (the heat of the roast pigling will cook the spices). Set aside, into the roasting tin, add flour, chilly powder and turmeric and fry for a couple of minutes. Add water and vinegar and bring to a boil. Simmer till gravy consistency is reached.

Grind masala for the stufflings: 8 Kashmiri chilies (or Kumta long chilies); 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin, ½ tsp turmeric powder; 8 peppercorns; 5cm piece ginger.

Other items for stuffling: ½ pod garlic; 1 tsp garam masala (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom); vinegar and salt to taste; 500 gms cooked potatoes; 500 gms cooked peas; 250 gms onions; 250 gms bread; 1 liver; 1 heart; 1 kidney, 100 gms fat for frying.

Preparation of Stuffing: Grind dry spices using vinegar. Chop garlic and ginger. Dice potatoes. Chop onions. Cut into fine pieces the liver, heart and kidney. (These should be cleaned well by soaking in salt water to remove blood). Heat fat. Fry onion, garlic and ginger. Add ground spices and fry for a few minutes longer. Add vegetables, chopped organ meat and breadcrumbs and mix well.


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