Day -24 : Bean and Pasta Soup

Bean and Pasta soup is a dish with proud Mediterranean origins with an Italian Twist; this soup is a winter warmer to be served with warm crusty bread and if you like, a slice of cheese.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup baked beans (canned)

1 medium onion , sliced

2 garlic cloves , sliced

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup macaroni or any small pasta

1 tbsp corn flour

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tbsp fresh cream

2 tbsp tomato ketchup

2 tbsp butter

salt and to taste

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Method:

  • Heat the butter in a pan; add the onion and garlic and sauté till the onion turns translucent.
  • Add the baked beans, tomatoes, macaroni, salt and 3 cups of hot water and bring to a boil. Simmer till the macaroni is cooked (aprrox. 8 to 10 minutes).
  • Dissolve the corn flour in 1 1/2 tablespoons of water and add to the soup.
  • Add the oregano, cream, tomato ketchup, salt and freshly ground pepper and mix well.
  • Serve hot, garnished with the cheese.
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Day – 19 : Italian Cuisine

A couple of decades back, the only Italian most of us knew was macaroni or spaghetti baked with pineapple and cheese (at least in India). Italian cuisine has now gained popularity across the globe, and is a popular option for fusion dishes as well. We now have the pastas and the risottos that many of us prefer frequently for our main course (Personally, yours truly loves Italian food because the abundant usage of cheese… 😉 )

With Italian cuisine, the number of ingredients is not as important as the quality and original flavor, still the key ingredients of modern day Italian cuisine are maize, bell peppers, tomatoes, flour preparations (pastas) and cheese. Apart from cheese, wine and coffee are key bonding components of Italian cuisine.Olive oil is another key ingredient of Italian cuisine. The nutritional aspects and health benefits associated with olive oil are now known across the globe, and hence the increase in its usage. Pasta is the most popular of all Italian main courses. Commonly available pasta’s include fusilli (swirls), spaghetti (thin rod-like), penne (cylinders) and lasagna sheets. Pasta is generally served with red, white or mixed sauces. Although not popular in India, pasta made with eggs is also a delicious preparation. Ravioli is a popular option that consists of spinach stuffing within pasta sheets.

Risotto, a rice preparation is another fundamental component of Italian cuisine. With risotto, it is possible to introduce multiple variations based on the ingredients. Vegetables, fish, seafood, meat are used to prepare the broth with risotto. Wine, along with fruit flavors can also be used to prepare risotto. It is the rice preparation that forms the core of the risotto, irrespective of the remaining ingredients or flavors added for the taste.

Talks about Italian cuisine is incomplete without considering PIZZA. We will not delve into more details with pizza understandably 🙂 other than to mention that it is a gift to the world by Italian cuisine.

Italian cuisine is abundant in desserts as well. My personal favorite is the Tiramisu (Literally means, Pick me up! – well,who won’t!), a layered dessert consisting primarily of coffee!! Another popular dessert is the “gelato” or the Italian version of ice cream.

These days, Panna Cotta is also in the race with these two! Panna Cotta means Cooked Cream in Italian. This dessert is made by simmering together milk, sugar and cream (and also the flavor if you are adding any!), mixing this with gelatin and letting the mixture cool till it is set.

For coming few days, I will be posting various pictures as well as the recipes of various Italian recipes, hope you all will enjoy it!

Day – 5 : Bechamel Sauce

Bechamel Sauce is commonly known as White Sauce, and is frequently used in various Italian dishes, and commonly used as Pasta Sauce at home cooking. So this is how I make my Bechamel Sauce:

Ingredients:

2 tbsp of All Purpose Flour (Maida)

2 tbsp of Soft Butter

3 Cups Milk

Seasoning (Oregano, Salt, Black Pepper Powder) as per taste

2 tbsp of Processed Cheese Grated (Optional)

Process:

  • First of I make Beurre manié, which literally means ‘Kneaded Butter’. For that, mix equal portion of Soft Butter and All Purpose Flour to give it a kneaded texture, keep it in refrigerator.
  • In a pan, heat the milk, til almost boiling level.
  • Now add Beurre manié in the milk. To do so, hold Beurre manié in one hand, add little bits of it in the milk, while whisking the milk with other hand. Keep whisking.
  • When the mil thickens (the consistency depends on you), add the seasoning and cheese if you like, and the sauce is ready!!

Serve with pasta as sauce, add veggies and bake a little or have it like that (yes, my hubby dearest does this)! you’ll like it, always