METRO PLUS

Tantalising pastas

PASTAS, WHICH have their origin in Italy, have travelled a long way.

Served in most up-market restaurants in India, they leave a lingering taste in the mouth long after the bowl has been cleared off the table.

One might tend to think the sophisticated cousin of the noodle is difficult to make. Why don't you try your hand at it this week? Not just plain pasta. Do it the Italian way, enriched with sauces and herbs.

How to make pasta dough?

Ingredients

Refined wheat flour - 450 gms

Eggs - 4

Salt - a pinch

Water - to sprinkle

Method

Tantalising pastas

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and knead the mixture till smooth. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and leave for a minimum of half-an-hour. You can leave it for up to two hours. Roll it into thin strips using a rolling pan.

Note

Roll pasta dough into long rectangular sheets for Lasagne.

Roll and cut into thin, rectangular sheets (4" X 5") for Canaloni.

Lasagne ( Serves two)

Ingredients

Spinach - a bunch

Butter - 1tsp

Mushroom - 75gms

Mixed herbs (thyme and oregano) - a pinch

Salt - to taste

Tantalising pastas

White pepper powder - to taste

To make Marinara

Tomato- 20gms

Onions - 50gms

Garlic - 2 cloves

Tomato puree - 1tsp

Oregano and basil - a pinch each

To make B�chamel Sauce

Refined flour - 50gms

Butter - 50gms

Milk - 500ml

Salt - to taste

White pepper powder to taste

Method

1. Heat butter, saut� slice mushrooms, chopped garlic and onions. Add mixed herbs washed spinach leaves, correct seasoning and keep aside.

2. For Marinara, blanch tomatoes (dip in boiling water), remove skin and pips and chop the pulp. Saut� garlic and onions for a while, add chopped tomato pulp and puree, oregano and basil and keep aside.

3. Prepare B�chamel sauce, using equal quantities of flour and butter with 10 parts of milk.

4. Boil plenty of water with salt, put the pasta sheets prepared for Lasagne and cook for 3 minutes.

5. Place the pasta sheets in an oven-proof vessel and layer with spinach mixture and Marinara sauce and top with B�chamel sauce. Repeat procedure.

6. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and parsley.

7. Gratinate (Bake or broil food in au gratin style) in salamander to get a golden brown colour and serve hot.

Canaloni

Ingredients

For meat mixture: Butter or olive oil -1tsp Chopped onions - 100gms Carrot - 50gms Celery - 25gms Minced meat - 250gms Chopped mushrooms - 50gms Nutmeg powder - 200ml Cream - 50ml

Method

1. Saut� chopped onion, carrot and celery in butter or olive oil till they turn translucent.

2. Add washed, de-boned and minced meat and cook. Add seasoning and nutmeg powder.

3. When the meat is three-fourth done, add finely chopped mushroom. Add brown stock or water and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Finish with cream.

Note: The mixture should not be soggy. For Canaloni

1. Boil plenty of water with salt and cook pasta sheet cut for Canaloni. Remove and keep aside.

2. Place each pasta sheet separately and stuff the meat filling.

3. Bring together both ends of the sheet and seal to form a cylinder.

4. Turn over the top side and place in serving dish.

5. Top with prepared b�chamel sauce and grated Parmesan cheese and gratinate to golden brown and serve hot.

Spaghetti Italiana

Ingredients Butter - 100 gms

Refined flour - 100 gms Milk - 1 lt Olive oil - 1tsp Make Julienne cuts of bell peppers: Red capsicum - 50gm Green capsicum - 50gms Yellow capsicum - 50gms Oregano - 1/4tsp Chopped garlic - 25gms Chopped onions - 100gms Seasoning (salt and pepper) to taste Spaghetti - 250 gms

Method

1. Prepare B�chamel sauce.

2. Heat olive oil, saut� garlic, onions and coloured bell peppers with oregano.

3. Add B�chamel sauce to it and simmer.

4. Alongside, boil plenty of water with salt and cook spaghetti till 3/4th done.

5. Add spaghetti to sauce and toss, correct seasoning and serve hot.

Optional: Shreds of ham can be used.

(The writer is Head of the Department of Catering Science and Hotel Management, V.L.B. Janakiammal College of Arts and Science, Kovaipudur, Coimbatore.)