We recently had a weekend abundant with heavy food: snacky chaat and popcorn at the movies, my dad and I made a dinner of 'bakarkani' (a buttery baked bread with almonds and raisins... lovely), and a rich, buttery daal (equally delicious), pancakes, kulfi etc.
I was motivated to try and invent my own recipe, after reading about Izy, as mentioned in my previous post.
The subtitle says 'reinvention' because of Masterchef (:P). I've often read about making zucchini pasta, with zuchinni ribbons substituting for the regular noodles. I figured that going full-out vegetable would be a little too health-freakish for my clientele, especially given what a hardcore pasta fanatic my sister is.
So I met them in the middle: The sliced zucchini and the carrots play te role of pasta, in the form of papardelle. I chopped the fusilli and the penne in order to make them the size that chopped vegetables usually are in pasta dishes. The proportions remained the same: the amount of pasta was greater than the vegetables, however I'd like to try swapping them around sometime, and using wholewheat pasta would be perfect.
The idea behind this dish is that it's a kind of detox: fresh, minimally cooked vegetables; heart-healthy walnuts and almonds; no creamy sauce, just a generous dose of olive oil (again, insanely good for you); chili flakes, salt, pepper, fresh basil and real parmesan provide all the flavour necessary for a dish that leaves you with a really clean and satisfied feeling.
This recipe is really general, because I can't for the life of me remember the specific quantities... feel free to increase the vegetables' quantities or reduce the pasta, change the pasta, don't chop it, whatever you like.
Wash a carrot and a zucchini and peel the carrot. Slice them in half and use a cheese slicer to make long ribbons.
Put the pasta in a large saucepan with a pinch of salt and enough water to cover it all, and boil it until al dente.
Wash some fresh basil and chop it roughly.
Peel and finely chop a couple of cloves of garlic.
In another large saucepan, heat a generous amount of olive oil and fry the garlic until just lightly coloured. Add in the carrot and zucchini ribbons, tossing well in the oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, and about a teaspoon of dried red chili flakes. Taste the vegetables to see if they're cooked, according to your preference.
Roast a handful each of walnuts and almonds on a skillet and roughly chop them.
When you're ready to serve, toss the pasta with the vegetables, heating gently with a little more olive oil. Serve garnished with fresh basil, the toasted nuts and some freshly grated parmesan cheese