Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Taste of Italy

Cooking is NOT fun! Even if it is for your most favorite people. It is tiring, exhausting and tests your patience to the limit. Painful it is. Kind of like preparing you for motherhood.

I called a couple of friends over for dinner last night. The menu was Italian, served with red wine ofcourse. How la-di-dah are we? ;)

Personally I would've preferred fresh lime water/soda with the food but red wine with Italian food sounds more classy & mature. So here's what I made....

Italian Sausages with Peppers (or Capsicum as known in India)

Ingredients: Sausages (cooked is better, else will need to cook them = that much more time spent cooking!), peppers of all colors - green, red, yellow, onions (thinly sliced), minced garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper to taste, Italian herbs - basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, can add a dried red chilly for effect

Cooking Time: God only knows!

Procedure: Shove onions, garlic, dried red chillies (broken into tiny bits) into the olive oil & cook till onions are golden brown. You can't burn them, which is why it takes patience :) Once brown, throw in the peppers along with the salt (reduces the cooking time for the peppers), put the lid on & cook till peppers are slightly tender but not mushy. Add sausages, salt, pepper, Italian herbs, put the lid on again & let cook till the sausages release their juices. Take off the flame, garnish with some fresh chopped parsley & serve.

Cooking Hater's Tip: Use cooked sausages, will save you atleast 20-25 mins of cooking time!

Pasta with Chicken & Mushrooms in Tomato Cream Sauce

Ingredients: Tomato Pasta Sauce (Ragu is your friend), pressed garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper to taste, Italian herbs - basil, oregano, thyme, parsley (dried), fresh cream, Parmesan cheese, cooked chicken (boiled & sauteed), mushrooms

Cooking Time: Long

Cooking Procedure: Boil & sautee chicken. Put aside. Boil pasta in salted water. Drain & put aside. In a frying pan, put olive oil. Add pressed garlic & cook till it turns brown. Put tomato pasta sauce, fresh cream, mushrooms, salt & pepper. Simmer on low heat for about 20 mins, till the mushrooms are cooked & the sauce thick & less tangy than before. Add pasta, sauteed chicken, herbs. Garnish with Parmesan cheese & serve.

Cooking Hater's Tip: Pasta can never be healthy, unless you make wheat pasta salad in olive oil (minus the mayonnaise), so just suck it up!

The results I must say weren't bad at all, except my pasta turned out to be slightly more dry than I would've liked it to. But hey, if you know how to lock the moisture in, more power to you! It took me two & a half hours to put the meal together. Maybe I was ovulating or there were some crazy secretions in my head that I had this mad urge to cook such painstaking dishes!!


Moonshine said...


I made pasta once for everyone at work once.. took tips from Knife!!! :)

How did the sausages turn out finally? It sounds quite interesting... an easier dish that someone served and i loved.. you get sausages filled with cheese... just fry them with onions.. it was yummy!!! :)

Scarlett said...

The sausages turned out really yummy! I used spicy sausages & combined with the Italian herbs & peppers, they tasted nice. BTW...How does one fill sausages with cheese?

The knife said...

damn these evaporating comments. Ok once again

Sounds great. will try them out. must confess that while we have entertained quite a bit of late, have picked the phone up to arrange for food

Best way to stuff cheese into sausage is to call marks or Judes and ask for Al farms cheese and paprika sausages.

A few tips;

- wheat pasta tastes like death. don't inflict it on guests
- boiling mushroom with the pastas could have save you cooking time
- try slitting sausage into half first: cooks faster, tastes even better. Get your guest to do it. can be a party game (am really pissed that I have to rewrite the comment)

Scarlett said...

@The Knife - Thanks for the tips. Will incorporate the next time. My guests included 2 friends very health conscious friends (hence, the wheat pasta) who were determined to show up only after the food was prepared as they highly doubt my culinary abilities & I must admit, their apprehension isn't misplaced :) The mushrooms didn't take much time to cook, the more important thing was to let the sauce cook well.

The knife said...

Sunfeast claims that their pasta is wheat pasta. That tastes fairly good.

Question is, will your friends come late the next time too ;)

The knife said...

Inspired by you i did some home cooking for guests for a change. there were 6 of us and I had never cooked these quanitities before. i made kosha mangshu, rui kaali and alu posto. Must admit that it was easier for me as I got my maid to do some basic stuff like grinding onion and tomato and K did all the tidying up