If you need to impress someone with a yummy meal but don’t know how to cook something glamorous in a short time; you have come to the right place. I have spent many years impressing people with my cooking prowess without too much worry, sweat or time.
The dish I am presenting today is my own version of a red sauce pasta, which takes only 60 minutes to make from scratch. I make it another way which takes a lot longer, but the point of the blog is to give simplified recipes that are light, easy, yummy and yes, quick. This recipe uses only One Teaspoon of oil. So if you’re in a hurry and can’t think of anything stunning to make; just run to the grocery store and grab pasta, tomatoes and all kinds of vegetables and get started!
Skip to the bottom of the post for a quick summary slide show.
Pasta – 250 g serves 2
Oil – 1 teaspoon (Preferrably Olive oil, however any oil with do)
Pepper – For flavour
Basil – For flavour and garnish (If accessible and desired)
Tomatoes – 10 small or 7 medium for 250 g pasta
Onions – 2 medium. Can be replaced by 3-4 cloves of garlic.
Cheese – For sauce and garnish
Salt – To taste.
Chili powder – optional
Green chilies – optional
Vegetables – Bell Peppers, Carrots, Mushrooms, Baby Corn, Broccoli, Sweet Corn, Olives etc. as desired.
1.Add a teaspoon of oil to the pan and let it heat up.
2. Add crushed pepper to the hot oil, followed by chopped onions. You can replace onions with 3-4 crushed garlic cloves.
3. When the onions are transparent (or slightly golden), add chili powder, chopped tomatoes and chopped green chilies. If you have basil, you can crush and add a couple of leaves at this stage. You can skip the green chilies if you want it mild.
4. Boil ~4-5 litres of water in a large vessel, with a teaspoon of oil, salt and chili added to it. The taste should be like sea water. You can skip the chili at this stage.
5. When the water boils, add pasta and let it boil on full flame for ~10 minutes until it is tender. Refer the back of the pasta packet for directions on how long to cook in water, different types may need different amounts of time.
6. Cut the vegetables. I prefer bell peppers and carrots done julienne and mushrooms diced. You can add any vegetable you wish and cut it any way you want. Blanch your cut vegetables in boiling water for two minutes, this cooks them a bit while retaining their colour. Drain the water and add vegetables to the tomatoes. Ensure the tomatoes are beginning to dissolve before adding vegetables.
7. Add about half a teaspoon of cheese to the sauce at this stage. It gives it a consistency by pulling the water and pulp together.
8. Add water if needed. The water provides the volume needed by the sauce to cover the pasta properly.
9. Turn the flame on low and let the sauce cook. Check on the pasta when 10 minutes are over. Chew a piece to check if it’s cooked. It should be tender but shouldn’t disintegrate.
10. Drain the pasta water if the pasta is done. Immediately wash it with cold water else the pasta begins to stick. Add the pasta to the sauce, followed by salt. Tip: If you can’t add the pasta to the sauce immediately, store the pasta in cold water.
11. Mix well. If the pasta begins to break, it is overcooked. Mix very carefully. Let the pasta stew in the sauce for a few minutes on low flame. When the consistency of the sauce is as desired and the pasta is fully covered in sauce, turn the flame off.
12. The pasta is now ready! Serve with as big a dollop of cheese as desired. A little creamy cheese on hot pasta never hurt anybody. #TruthOfLife
13. Crush some fresh pepper on top if desired. You can also add some fresh basil leaves for flavour and garnish if you wish. Your pasta is now ready to impress your guests!
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- You can grind the tomatoes if you have more time, but then you’ll need more tomatoes. I use chopped tomatoes when I want a quicker version.
- You can use packaged tomato puree as well. I prefer the taste of fresh tomatoes.
- You can use any vegetables and any kind of pasta you want.
- Use virgin olive oil, garlic and basil leaves for authentic Italian touch. I have mentioned where to use them in the detailed recipe.
- You can add some vinegar and sugar to enhance the sweet and sour contrast of taste in the sauce.
- If you want it to taste more Restaurant-ey, you can mix some ready-made Pasta and Pizza sauce to your fresh sauce.
- For a Restaurant-ey experience, you can lightly toast some buns with butter to serve with the pasta.
Time taken for pasta to cook – 15 minutes
Time taken to prep and blanch the vegetables – 20 minutesTime taken to prepare the sauce – 15 minutes
Pasta stewing, sauce thickening and service – 10 minutes
There you go! It’s my go-to pasta recipe when I’m bored with regular food and I don’t want to invest hours. There is no compromise on taste, this pasta tastes heavenly. It’s very light on the calorie count too; for you can regulate the amount of cheese you add on top at the end. So go on, try it at home and let me know the rave reviews you get from the guests you want to impress.
Until we meet again with something to cook in a jiffy with a teensy amount of oil, Sayonara!