I carry a dream in my heart to visit Italy, learn their language and watch them cook effortlessly in their home-kitchens, just like how they show us in movies. Until then, I pamper myself with potent Italian stews, cooking pastas and their breads to keep my fantasies alive. When I received an invite to celebrate Mother’s day with Barilla restaurant in Festival City for a cooking demo with Chef Rita, I knew there will be plenty of extra tips I’d take with me home. We lined up excitedly as soon as the children were done making their own pizzas and eating them. Chef started with explaining us the different uses of varieties of pastas, their flavors, sizes, cooking techniques and so on. Her secret of salt water ratio is pretty simple – 1 tablespoon salt per litre of water for 100 gms pasta; adds the right flavor. She went on to say how Italians love keeping their pastas simple. A dash of olive oil, veggies or protein and tomato sauce goes a long way in bringing that kick to homemade pasta. And always follow the instructions for cooking time on the box of your pasta as penne, spaghetti, farfalle all require different boiling durations.
Honestly, my experience of making pasta is limited including making one from scratch and sticking to favorites such as alfredo and pesto spaghetti. However, this time I was in a mood to experiment. Use spices akin to Indian kitchen to observe how well they absorb in spaghetti. I’ve always found my comfort in soothing curries. A kind of food that makes me composed and happy. A food that brings back childhood memories and a feeling of satisfaction. And I was amazed how this dish brought that contentment to me.
Currently prawns spaghetti is the most satisfying meal for me. It evolves with different variations of sauce you like to make – spicy, tangy or highly seasoned with cumin. A beautiful mess. Of a meal.
Beautiful strands of delicate pasta cooked with prawns and spices such as red chilli, cumin and turmeric for a comforting meal; that is attractive and easy to make.
- 250 gms Fresh prawns cleaned
- 200 gms Spaghetti cooked as per package instrutions until al dente and drained
- 2 nos onions finely chopped
- 2 nos tomatoes pureed
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 nos dried red chillies soaked in warm water for 5 minutes
- 5 nos garlic
- 2 tbsp whole cumin
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- salt to taste
- 2 tbsp lime juice
Begin first by marinating the prawns. Dry roast whole cumin and coriander seeds for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Alternatively use cumin or coriander powder if not available. Add all the ingredients listed under marinade in a spice jar and form a smooth paste. Empty the paste into a mixing bowl and coat the prawns completely. Leave it to rest for atleast 15 minutes.
In a wok or your cast iron, heat oil. Add onions and salt. Saute for a few minutes until the onions turn pink. Pour tomato puree and cook till the moisture evaporates. Add marinated prawns and cook well.
Finally add the cooked spaghetti and coat well with the prawn mixture. Serve hot.