If you ask me, Pasta is hands down the best comfort food there is. Its versatile, time saving, and fun to make as it gives you plenty of opportunities to be creative. You can make it however you like, go bananas with your selection of ingredients, and it still comes out tasting great almost every time. So, if your weekly meal schedule is bringing you down, give your routine dal chawal sabzi a break and satisfy your carb cravings with these INTERESTING ‘pick-me-up’ pasta recipes.
Mutton Chili Skillet Lasagna
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 400 grams minced mutton or keema
- 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup red wine
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 chopped fresh chili (more if you like it hotter)
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 4-5 finely chopped tomatoes
- 350-gram kidney beans cooked, drained and rinsed
- 4 lasagna sheets
- 2 packed cup shredded cheese
- fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- ½ onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- Preheat your oven to 176 degrees C.
- Heat up the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook on medium/high for about 3-4 minutes until softened. Add in the garlic and cook for a further minute. Add in the keema and cook until just brown. Break any large pieces up with a wooden spoon. Add in the red peppers and cook for another minute.
- Add in the wine, bring it to a bubble, and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add in the veggie broth, coriander powder, mixed herbs, red chili powder, cumin powder, ginger, fresh chili, and tomato paste. Stir and allow to bubble for 2 minutes.
- Add in the chopped tomatoes, stir, and bring to a simmer. Let it bubble on medium heat for 5 minutes, until the liquid has reduced slightly.
- Stir in the kidney beans, then scoop most of the chili to one side of the pan. Slide in a lasagna sheet and spread the chili over the top. Scoop the chili over to the other side of the pan and repeat. Add another layer of lasagna sheets by scooping half of the chili over (so you have a layer of chili on top of the lasagna sheets that are already there). You should end up with two layers of lasagna sheets, both topped with chili.
- Sprinkle on the cheese, place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until bubbling and browned.
- Remove from the oven/microwave and top the lasagna with fresh chili slices, sprinkled coriander leaves, and onion slices.
2. Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce Pasta
- 5-6 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese- optional
- 400 gram any pasta of choice, cooked and drained
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the cauliflower florets to the water. Let it cook for about 7-10 minutes.
- In a skillet over low heat, add the butter and garlic. Cook until fragrant, not browned (usually around 30 seconds).
- Once the cauliflower is cooked, transfer it to a blender. Add one cup of the water from the pot, milk, garlic, salt and pepper, and blend for a few minutes until smooth. Add more liquid if you want your sauce to be thinner.
- Add cooked pasta and mix gently until combined.
- If you would like to add cheese, transfer the sauce back into the saucepan and grate Parmesan cheese into the sauce. Mix until it’s completely melted.
3. One-Pot Cheesy Pumpkin Walnut Pasta
- 453 grams pasta of choice
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups pureed pumpkin
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup walnuts
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 8 tablespoons fresh cream, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder-optional
- coriander leaves for garnish
- Prep your vegetables by dicing the onion and mincing the garlic.
- Add onion, garlic, vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, pasta, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, garam masala and cinnamon powder to a medium-sized pot.
- Bring to a boil on medium/high heat while slowly stirring the ingredients together.
- Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- While the pasta is simmering, toast the walnuts on medium heat until they are lightly browned and fragrant.
- Once the noodles are cooked, stir in the cream, butter, and a handful of walnuts, leaving some for garnishing. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves, toasted walnuts, and enjoy!
4. Skillet BBQ Mac + Cheese
- 1 1/2 cups BBQ Potato Chips, crushed
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- ½ onion, diced
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole fat milk
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- 3 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 453-grams penne, cooked al dente
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 178 degrees C. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter to the pan. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour. Whisk.
- Slowly whisk in the milk. Add salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Add cheddar cheese and BBQ sauce. Whisk until melted.
- Pour cheese mixture over the pasta. Coat evenly.
- Pour mac and cheese back into the skillet. Top pasta with crushed chips and Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
5. Pasta Pizza Salad
- 8-10 cups cooked bowtie pasta
- 1 bunch basil
- sprigs of fresh coriander
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
- 1 cup sliced black olives
- 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, shaved
or topping of choice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- salt and pepper, to taste
Place cooked bowtie pasta in a large bowl. Cut pepperoni pieces into quarters and set aside. Mince garlic cloves. Chop basil and coriander leaves. Add minced garlic and herbs to pasta.
Add pepperoni pieces, olives/mushroom, mozzarella, parmesan, and salt and pepper to the bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Mix to combine. Serve with red wine and enjoy!
Q1: How to pre-heat my Microwave?
A: You need to place a slatted rack that comes with a microwave to pre-heat it. Now, choose the convection option. Once you set it on the convection mode, your microwave’s digital display will reflect the minimum temperature setting available, you can just increase or decrease it according to your requirement and press start.
Q2: How to make a veggie broth?
A: Veggie broth is just the leftover flavored liquid you get after simmering veggies in boiling water for quite some time. Onions, carrots, and celery are always the base of a good vegetable broth, but you can add any leftover vegetables and herbs you want/like.
Q3: What can I use instead of red wine?
A: You can easily replace the red wine called for in your recipe with an equal chicken broth or vegetable broth. This will contribute both, the desired flavor and color to the recipe.