Beat the heat with pasta

July 15, 2011

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Summer in Pakistan doesn’t just call for some sun screen and a straw hat. It calls for drastic measures that simply alter your life, and that of course entails a change in diet. Only the hopeless addicts continue their daily chai routine, and it’s all about refreshing and chilled juices and drinks.

I for one, live off of lemonade for days at a time, but I can’t go on like that forever, so I have a few recipes up my sleeve that beat the heavy duty garam garam ‘desi food’ that I just cannot eat when I and the world around me are melting with the constant bombardment of sunlight and humidity that can drive anyone crazy.

It’s also impossible to slave away in front of a stove for hours at a time cooking, so this particular recipe takes 10 minutes from start to finish (the trick is to take all the ingredients out before hand so you’re not running around the kitchen gathering everything), and believe me, I’ve timed it!

The great thing about pasta is that it can be eaten warm or cold, so on those dreadful summer days when load shedding is at its best, you can still eat a decent meal without taking out the pots and pans to reheat it. This pasta is great on its own or with a slice of garlic bread and is the perfect lunch for me any day!    

Dish: Pepper Pasta (simply because I use two types of peppers in it!)

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups fettuccini 1 bell pepper 1 tomato 2 cloves of garlic 1 tablespoon oil 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 teaspoon mayo  1 teaspoon mustard paste 1 teaspoon barbeque sauce 3 tablespoons cream ½ teaspoon each of crushed red peppers and black pepper (Serves 2-3 people)

Method:

Boil water in a saucepan and add the fettuccini. While that’s boiling, thinly slice the tomato and bell pepper, and chop the garlic. Heat the oil in a pan and add the garlic and bell peppers. Add the soy sauce and sauté on high heat for two minutes (make sure the exhaust is on or everyone in your house will be coughing like crazy) and remove the pan from the heat.

Add the mayo, mustard paste and barbeque sauce and mix till the sauce is smooth. Now put the pan back on a medium flame and add the tomatoes and cream. By now the pasta will be done so drain it and quickly add it to the pan (don’t drain the pasta completely; it helps keep the sauce from drying out).

Now all you have to do is sprinkle over the crushed pepper and black pepper, toss everything around, and put in a plate and eat it right away.

I usually don’t fuss about decorating my food like carving our carrot leaves or tomato roses, but I do make an effort to make my food look good, so garnish it with a sprig of coriander and dish it out in a nice plate and it’ll taste so much better, because what looks good tastes good too! 

The writer is a communication designer with a passion for food and baking. She blogs at www.fatimarana.blogspot.com

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