Friday, May 21, 2010

Curry Leaves Pasta

I was introduced to Italian food some 10 years back when I first came to the US. Until then, the only Italian (or should I call it American?) food I knew ..ate was 'Macaroni N Cheese'. My mom made that quite often at home when my brother and I were in school and we absolutely loved it. At first Italian food was quite bland for me and it took quite a few visits to Italian restaurants to appeal my taste buds. On the other hand, D absolutely loves Italian food especially pasta. So, more than often I ended up making pasta meals at home to satisfy his cravings. I especially love making fusion dishes with pasta like adding a pinch of my favorite Indian spice powders to the pasta or flavoring olive oil with cumin seeds while sautéing the veggies. Last night I made this delicious Indianized Curry Leaves Pasta for dinner. The inspiration for this pasta comes from a cooking video I watched few months back. I deep fried some curry leaves and pounded them in my mortar and pestle into a coarse paste. This extremely flavorful curry leaves paste along with some minced garlic was used to flavor the sauce. I also added some red, yellow and green bell peppers along with my favorite grilled veggies like artichokes and corn which made it a very healthy meal. This dish was amazingly delicious with the aroma from the curry leaves and garlic! Do give it a try….I'm sure you will love it as much as we did.

Ingredients -
3 cups Penne pasta
1 cup curry leaves
2 tbsps chopped garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 pinches black pepper powder (optional)
2 cups chopped bell peppers (combination of Red, Yellow and Green Peppers)
½ cup yellow corn
1 cup artichoke pieces/ 1 can artichokes
½ cup heavy cream/ half & half (may need little more than ½ cup)
½ cup grated cheese
2 tbsps oil + 1 tbsp for cooking pasta
½ tsp butter
Salt to taste

Method -
1. Fill a large pot with cold water and boil the water. Add some salt and oil to the boiling water.
2. Add uncooked pasta to the boiling water and stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Cook the pasta for about 10-15 mins till its 'al dente' –firm yet tender with a tiny core in the middle.
(Follow the directions on the package to cook the pasta)
3. Drizzle some oil on a hot skillet and grill the artichoke pieces first followed by the corn niblets. Set them aside.
4. Heat oil in a pan. Deep fry curry leaves in low –medium hot oil till they turn translucent.
5. Pound the fried curry leaves into a coarse paste in the mortar and pestle or in your blender.
6. Heat oil in a pan , add chopped garlic and fry till it turns slightly brown.
7. Add curry leaves paste and cook for a minute. Add red pepper flakes and mix well.
8. Toss the chopped bell peppers and cook for sometime.
9. Add in the cooked pasta, season with salt and cook for 5 -7 minutes.
10. Add some cream, grated cheese and black pepper powder and cook for some more time.
11. Add the grilled artichokes and corn at the very end just before serving.

NOTE – If canned articokes are used, drain all the water and squeeze out any extra water from the artichoke pieces before grilling them.

I'm sending this Curry Leaves Pasta dish to Presto Pasta Nights, the 165th week is hosted by Rachel The Crispy Cook.