Risotto With Idly Rice

Last Friday, I tried this risotto recipe with the idly rice (Earlier I had tried my ‘Humble Risotto’ with brown rice). Though this is not as creamy as Arborio rice, I would consider it a closer variety we’ve in India. I also experimented in substituting cucumber for zucchini, which both of us didn’t appreciate very much but it can be just skipped if zucchini is unavailable. I’ve not used cream in this recipe, Italians do not use them at all; the creamy texture of risotto is rendered by the starch released by Arborio rice and slow cooking is another imperative process in risotto making.


Serves:  2

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes

Ingredients:

1.      Idly rice – 1 ¼ cup
2.    Butter – 1 tbsp
3.    Zucchini (I used cucumber) – 1
4.    Carrot – 1
5.     Bush beans – 5
6.    Tomato – 1
7.     Onion – 1
8.    Garlic – 4 cloves
9.    Italian seasoning – 2 pinches
10. Salt to taste
11.  Pepper crushed – ½ tsp
12. Olive/ shaved parmesan cheese for garnishing (optional)
13.Vegetable stock or hot water – 3 ½ cups approx

Method:

Step 1: Clean and chop all vegetables into small chunks and mince garlic.


Step 2: Hand pick the rice to clean it as we are not going to wash it.


Step 3: Melt butter in a pot and sauté ginger and onion in it for a minute and then add carrot and beans.


Step 4: When the veggies are half done add the rice and fry for a couple of minutes.

Step 5: Add ½ cup stock or water and cook it open in low heat, once the liquid is fully absorbed add another ladle water/ stock repeat this ladle by ladle.


Step 6: When the rice is half cooked add required salt, cumber and then tomato and repeat adding stock/ water.


Step 7: The right way of making risotto is cooking it until there is just a light crisp in the centre of the rice grain though some prefer to cook it completely soft and gooey.

Step 8: Sprinkle crushed pepper and Italian seasoning and adjust salt and spices as required.



Step 9: Garnish with shaved parmesan cheese or olive.


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Creamy Tomato Macroni

This is another delectable macaroni dish that I had tried during my early kitchen days and repeated recently. It is really simple to make and better be eaten within a couple of hours otherwise the tomato might react with milk and cream and get curdled.



Serves:  2

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time:  15 minutes

Ingredients:

1.      Macaroni – 2 cups
2.    Tomato – 2
3.    Onion – 1
4.    Cream – ½ cup
5.     Milk – if required
6.    Salt to taste
7.     White pepper crushed – ½ tsp
8.    Butter – 1 tbsp
9.    Oil – 1 tsp
10.   Italian seasoning – 1 tsp (optional)
11.   Cheese grated – as per liking

Method:

Step 1: Slice the onion and tomatoes and sauté them in butter until soft.

Step 2: Cool it to room temperature and grind it into smooth paste.


Step 3: In parallel cook the macaroni with salt, drain the water and toss with a few drops of oil.


Step 4: Now bring the ground paste to boil and add salt, pepper, cream and the Italian seasoning.


Step 5: Add in the cooked macaroni and add some milk just to adjust the consistency.


Step 6: Serve hot garnished with grated cheese if you like.
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Whole Wheat Ravioli

When my new camera had come home I wanted to shoot some glamorous dish and I was hunting on net for a fancy dish. Ravioli was the beauty I decided to conduct my first photo shoot with. It had come well that I tried it again for the local cookery contest in Little Millennium School in our locality. You know what, it won the first prize and was critically acclaimed ;)… I made a twist to the traditional recipe for accommodating it to the contest theme; I used only wheat flour to make raviolis while traditionally semolina flour is used for the recipe.



Serves: 5

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:
1.      Wheat flour – 2 cups
2.    Dried basil – ¼ tsp
3.    Olive oil – 4 tbsp
4.    Salt to taste
5.     Ricotta cheese – 50 gm (I used cottage cheese)
6.    Parmesan cheese – 50 gm (I used cheddar cheese)
7.     White pepper crushed – ¼ tsp
8.    Tomato well ripen – 10
9.    Onion big – 1, finely chopped.
10. Garlic – ½ a pod, peeled and grated.
11.  Dried Italian herbs – ½ tsp
12.Pepper crushed – 1 tsp

Method:

Step 1: Knead soft dough with wheat flour, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt as per taste, dried basil with luke warm water. Set it aside for a couple of hours.
Step 2: Prepare the filling by blending together both the cheeses with white pepper. It should be in a cream cheese consistency; I added little milk.
Step 3: Drop the tomatoes in boiling water and peel off the skin. Crush them in a blender pulsing few times.
Step 4: Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil sauté garlic and onion in it and add the crushed tomato to it. Simmer it until a nice sauce is obtained. Sprinkle salt, crushed pepper and Italian herbs to it and mix well. Adjust taste and turn off heat. This might take 30 min approximately and you can prepare raviolis in parallel.
Step 5: On a wide working surface, soften the dough and divide into 4 portions. Roll them into long rectangle like sheets and cut each into 2” ribbons
Step 6: Now place blobs of filling on one ribbon leaving 2” gap in between. With the help of brush or your fingers, wet the rest of the surface of ribbon in which filling is placed with plain water.
Step 7: Carefully cover it with another ribbon from one side to the other by pressing your finger in between each filling so as to allow enough covering for the bulges.
Step 8: Once the entire ribbon is covered work to get the sheets stick to each other while not allowing any air bubble to stay in with the filling. Now cut the between fillings to get fresh raviolis. Alternatively you can use cookie cutter to get various shapes but it is meticulous relatively. Freeze them until use.


Step 9: To cook the raviolis, boil salt water in a vessel and blanch the raviolis until they float on the surface. When done, carefully drain all water and collect them. Repeat other batches.


Step 10: Serving is done as per comfort, look appeal and taste. Drop the raviolis into sauce and mix well and serve on a plate; or spoon enormous sauce in a shallow bowl and arrange raviolis on top; or arrange raviolis and pour some sauce over like our idli – sambar 😉 (The photographer in me is yet to mature, bear with me)


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Cornmeal Porridge

Cornmeal porridge is a simple healthy Jamaican recipe that I tried for breakfast today. Eating cereals every day has become the most preferred first meal for its ease of preparation and nutrient richness;  porridge is the next common dish and cornmeal porridge offers another good choice in this category. My husband liked this though I personally felt that it tasted bit like a baby food – smooth and sweet.



Serves: 2
Preparation Time: Nil
Cooking Time:  10 min

Ingredients:
1.       Cornmeal – 1 cup
2.      Milk – 2 cups
3.      Water – 2 cups
4.      Salt – 1 pinch
5.      Sweetened condensed milk –  4 tbsp (can be replaced with sugar)
6.      Nutmeg grated – 1 pinch
7.      Cinnamon powder – 1 pinch
8.     Vanilla essence – 4 drops

Method:
Step 1: Mix cornmeal with water and bring it to boil with a pinch of salt.
Step 2: Add milk and boil in simmer by stirring continuously.
Step 3: Spoon in the condensed milk or sugar and mix well.
Step 4: Sprinkle nutmeg powder, cinnamon powder and drop in vanilla essence; mix well and turn off heat.
Step 5: Serve hot garnished with cinnamon powder.


TIPS:

* I had used the corn puttu flour that I had at home. A coarse cornmeal is generally flavorful.
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Tomato Sauce Pasta

As my husband is a fan of Alfredo sauce pasta, i hardly try something else with pasta. Also, for some reason I do not like red color pastas (tomato sauce pasta) from anywhere outside, I feel it is more ketchupy :). So, this home made one was a step I wanted to take before denouncing tomato sauce pastas for good. Yes, it was not ketchupy when prepared fresh, it was tangy and different. I liked it and he quite liked it.

Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients:
1.     Pasta – 200 gm
2.     Tomato – 4
3.     Yellow bell pepper – 1
4.     Garlic – 4 cloves
5.     Onion – 1
6.     Corn starch – 1 tbsp
7.     Salt to taste
8.     Sugar – 1 pinch
9.     Italian seasoning – 1/2 tsp
10.Pepper crushed – 1 tsp
11.Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Method:
Step 1:  Cook the pasta as per instructions on the pack, toss with few drops of oil and keep it.
Step 2: Puree the tomatoes in a mixer slightly chunky if you prefer, chop the bell pepper & onion in the size matching the pasta used and fine slice the garlic.
Step 3: Heat a non- stick pan add a tablespoon of olive oil, sliced garlic and chopped onion. Toss the bell pepper with it. Sprinkle a pinch of crushed pepper and salt.


Step 4: Add to it the cooked pasta and toss them well and keep aside.


Step 5: In the same pan or another one, add less than a spoon of oil and add Italian seasoning to it. Pour in the pureed tomato and let it boil for 5 minutes.


Step 6: Mix corn starch in some water and stir in the boiling tomato sauce to thicken it. This gives an even consistency to sauce.


Step 7: Add salt and crushed pepper to the sauce.
Step 8: While serving spread the pasta and pour the sauce on top.









TIPS:
*Garnish with shredded cheese if you like it and do not mind some extra calories.
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