Castles in the air - they are so easy to take refuge in. And so easy to build, too.

आम्हां घरी धन शब्दांचीच रत्नें | शब्दांचीच शस्त्रें यत्न करुं ||
शब्द चि आमुच्या जीवांचे जीवन | शब्दें वांटूं धन जनलोकां ||
तुका म्हणे पाहा शब्द चि हा देव | शब्द चि गौरव पूजा करुं ||
- abhang of Tukaram Wolhoba Ambile of Dehu

There's No Freedom Like That of a Child's Imagination

கடலுக்கு உண்டு கற்பனைக்கு இல்லை கட்டுப்பாடு

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pasta alla salsa verde

This is a simple, whip-up recipe, as suitable for making by a thirty year old portly bachelor with little interest in both cooking and subsequently washing greasy dishes. It wasn't meant to be green, but it turned out that way.

Required:
Patience (loads of it)
Cutting-board, knife and peeler (and a couple of band-aids)
Mom (as long as she is a phone call away but not looking over your shoulder)
1 mixer-grinder
1 mixer bowl, its old contents cleaned out with soap and rinsed well
1 dhakkan of mixer bowl, that fits tightly (this is very important mind you)
1 large frying pan
1 pan to boil the spaghetti in (large enough to boil in without the water spilling and extinguishing the fire)
1 matchbox with dry matchsticks
1 wooden ladle
Dishwashing soap and scrubber, for the hell that comes afterwards
Imaginative Italian-sounding name for the dish that turns up at the end of this all

For the salsa verde:
Small onion - 1
Green tomato - 1
Parsley - 1 handful*
Basil - 1 handful*
Thyme - 1 handful*
Curry leaves - 1 handful*
Rosemary - 1 pinch
Green chilly - 1
Fennel (or a spice that looks like Fennel but you can't really be sure what it is) - 1 pinch
Cheese - as much as dad can grate for you, but two handfuls** should do
Soy sauce- 1 dhakkanful
Chilli sauce - As many drops as can be shaken out from the coagulated sauce in the refrigerated bottle
Salt
Olive oil - 1 tablespoon (as much oilve oil as can be extracted from the imported metal tin)

For the spaghetti:
Spaghetti - Enough for two men that will do for dinnr and next day's tiffin box
1 supermarket packet of Carrots, Beans, Peas, Cauliflowers, and Babycorn, washed well
Water in large quantities

Not required:
Dad looking over your shoulder

Steps:
1. Choppy-choppy all the herbs. Add olive oil, place in mixer and grind.
2. Add one handful of cheese. Grind again (only one handful goes in at one time).
3. Discvover absence of salt. Add pinchful and grind again.
4. Add next handful of cheese. Add more salt (since it doesn't feel salty) and grind again.
5. Grind, check, grind, check till reduced to smooth green paste.
6. Keep aside. Hide disappointment.

7. Chuck vegetables into frying pan with 1 tablespoon cooking oil.
8. Go hunting for the matchbox.
9. Find a dry matchbox and finally light the gas.
10. Keep stirring till the vegetables are fired.
11. Divide attention between mixer and boiler and fryer till vegetables are singed.
12. Add half-tumbler water to the vegetables.
13. Run and wash your face after the sizzling water nearly scalded your face.

14. Keep water in a large vessel to boil (Vessel must be large. Else the boiled water pills over and extinguishes the flame, as I found out twice.)
15. Add spaghetti sticks.
16. Wait, wait, wait.
17. Cut spaghetti with knife to see if it got cooked.
18. Plunge hand into boiling water to pull out spaghetti to see if cooked (and then scream very loudly and put hand under cold water stream$).
19. Pace kitchen floor anxiously while spaghetti cooks.
20. Add slat at last minute, stir and hope to hell that it will go into the spaghetti.
21. Wait impatiently again.

22. Drain out spaghetti and upend it into the frying vegetables.
23. Mix and bring to boil.
24. Add the salsa verde and stir with wooden ladle.
25. Keep stirring till water evaporates and the thing begins to look like a suspicious, slimy mess.
26. Stir, stir, stir so nothing sticks to the bottom.
27. Remove from flame and serve immediately (lest the starch congeals and the thing becomes gooey).

Serving suggestions:
Choppy-choppy lettuce, sald leaves, cucumber and tomato for an accompanying salad. Toss, recover the bits that fell outside dish, ensure no one was looking and put them back.

1 loaf of soft, garlic bread. Useful for wiping off the salsa from the mixer bowl.

*A baby's handful. Use your baby, or borrow one from the neighbours if need be.
**Your own handful. You need a lot of cheese.
$ No kidding. I actually did this.

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