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

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