Tricolor exotic pasta platter: celebrating happiness

When I say the word ‘celebration’, what image dose your mind conjure? Don’t you see a joyous place filled with your family, friend and loved ones with lavish food to sooth your cravings. Isn’t that image too enticing for your taste buds! Celebration and food are two most essential tools that fill everyone’s life with exuberance and enthusiasm. They both complement each other and coexist. A celebration is not complete without food and every food is a celebration in itself. In real terms they are aspects that connect us to the profound meaning of life that is to be happy and help others to achieve the same happiness. Now, how can one help others to be happy? Simply by making them a part of our happiness especially those who aren’t as privileged as most of us. So, that’s why I decided to celebrate this 69th Independence day of India (15th August) with an underprivileged little girl along with my friends.

This blog post is an appeal to all those who are reading this, please share your happiness, celebrate your happiness with underprivileged kids as well, they need us. How many times have you seen a small child across a bakery looking longingly at it’s glass display, reach out and buy something for him, he will remember that for his life. We eat lavish exotic food all the time, share it with someone who can’t afford it and it’s taste will enhance ten folds for you.

Now back to the Independence day celebration, the first thing was to decide the menu as I planned to call them up at my home so that little girl would be more comfortable in homely simple environment. I think only my refrigerator can decide the menu so let’s take a look into it.

Fruits

Del monte pasta, farfalle, spaghetti
Del monte pastas, sauces and others

Kids love pasta and the shape of Farfalle and I love it too. From my well stocked Del monte Farfalle and spaghetti pasta also sauces you must have guessed it’s quite an awesome brand when it comes to Italian refine cooking. So for me, exotic pasta platter it is, taking account of the occasion am going to give it a patriotic twist, yes it’s going to be tricolor. Hey isn’t national flag of Italy is of tricolor too! Well, that just fits in perfectly. Let’s get on with the recipe then.

Watch above video for detailed visual instructions of the complete recipe.

Recipe:

There are total 3 dishes on the platter:
1) Tricolor exotic pasta pie
2) Eggplant mushroom pasta
3) Sweet and tangy pasta salad

Firstly cook Del monte Farfalle pasta:

Instructions:

  1. Bring water in a wok to boil, add 1/8 tablespoon of salt and oil
  2. Add Del Monte farfalle pasta into it, stir gently
  3. For authentic al-dente pasta, cook it without lid and stir occasionally gently for 10 minutes. Al dente means cooked such that it still is firm when bitten.
  4. Remove for heat then drain.

TIP 1: Rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process, this will keep the pasta firm and spread some oil over it which will prevent it from sticking together.

How to cook al dente pasta
How to cook al dente pasta

Let’s start with Tricolor exotic pasta pie recipe: 

Tricolor exotic pasta pie, pasta pie, exotic pasta
Tricolor exotic pasta pie

This dish is made of pasta prepared in 3 type of sauces: Arrabbiata sauce (Red sauce), Flavoured Béchamel sauce (White Sauce) and Green pesto.

Preparation of pasta in Arrabbiata sauce (Red sauce): 

The Arrabbita sauce I am making has a twist and secret ingredients. Twist is the use of tomato concassé and secret ingredient is oven roasted tomato puree.

Recipe of Tomato concassé:

Preparation time: 10 minutes.
Requirements: 6-8 red ripe medium to large tomatoes, a wok, iced water, sharp knife.
yield: 500 ml

Instructions:

  1. Put water to boil in a wok (or large container)
  2. Make a slight cut in form of ‘X’ on tomatoes and make slashes all over, so fine that only its skin in slit.
  3. Once water is boiled, put tomatoes in it for 30-40 seconds.
  4. Once its starts to peel, take out in iced water bowl, this will shock the tomato and the skin will come out easily. Peel the tomatoes.
  5. Now remove its seed and membrane and finely chop them.

Tomato concassé is ready to used further.

tomato concasse recipe
tomato concasse recipe
tomato concasse recipe
tomato concasse recipe

Recipe of oven roasted tomato puree:

Preparation time: 15 minutes.
Requirements: 2 red ripe medium to large tomatoes, an oven/microwave oven/OTG etc
yield: 50 ml

Instructions:

  1. Slice the tomatoes and place them over marble/oventray/oven proof flat dish
  2. Roast it in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 80-100 degree Celsius (Low heat)
  3. Then peel them once cooled and blend/finely chop into chunky puree.
oven roasted tomato puree
oven roasted tomato puree instructions 

For pasta in Arrabbiata sauce (Red sauce):

Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 100 grams Del monte farfalle pasta- cooked (Al Dente)
  2. 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  3. 8 medium garlic
  4. 2 tbsp of diced thick cilantro stems (replacement of celery)
  5. 500 ml- Tomato concassé
  6. 50 ml – Oven-roasted tomato puree (Secret Ingredient)
  7. salt to taste
  8. black pepper powder to taste
  9. 1 tbsp- red chili flakes
  10. 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs – Oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley
  11. 1/2 tsp – fresh cream
  12. 40 gms diced red bell pepper
  13. 2 pinch of sugar
  14. Del monte tomato ketchup

Ingredients for pasta in Arrabbiata sauce

TIP 2: Italians love their garlic chunky so don’t mince it but press it with knife over chopping board which will release it’s oil and give extra flavor and then roughly chop them. (Refer Images)

Italian garlic

INSTRUCTIONS: 

  1. Heat oil in pan, add garlic and sauté till it’s raw smell is gone.
  2. Then add diced thick cilantro stems, stir for a minute. (TIP: If you are out of celery or can’t find it, this this replacement works wonders)
  3. Add some tomato concasse and stir it in, then add rest of the tomato concasse. Then add oven-roasted tomato puree and 2 pinch sugar and stir. (TIP: Sugar will give it a beautiful red color)
  4. Cover the lid for 2 minutes
  5. After removing lid, add salt and black pepper powder to taste. let it cook.
  6. Then add dried herbs and red chili flakes, del monte tomato sauce and fresh cream and stir.
  7. Add Farfalle pasta and red bell pepper.

TIP 3: Oven- roasted tomato puree will give it a smokey flavor and no one will be able to guess this secret 🙂

(See the video at beginning for detailed visual instructions)

Arrabbita sauce pasta
Arrabbita sauce pasta

Pasta in Flavoured Béchamel sauce (White Sauce):

Preparation of Flavored milk :

Cooking time: 5 minutes
Requirements: 600 ml milk, 1 bay leaf, 1 cinnamon stick (medium) and 1 star anise.

Step: Add bay leaf, star anise and cinnamon stick to milk and bring it to boil.

Flavored milk for white sauce
Flavored milk for white sauce
Blanching babycorns . blanching, Blanching carrots
Blanching babycorns (Don’t mind the carrots, blanched it for the salad)

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 40 gms butter
  2. 40 gms plain flour
  3. 1 tsp Extra virgin olive oil
  4. 600 ml flavored milk
  5. diced Blanched baby corns
  6. 100 gms farfalle pasta
  7. fresh cream
 Béchamel sauce ingredients, white sauce
Béchamel sauce Ingredients

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Roux preparation : Add some oil in a heavy bottom skillet or sauté pan over medium heat then melt butter.
  2. Add plain flour and stir continuously so that lumps aren’t formed. Once it gets of golden hue, roux is prepared
  3. Add flavored some milk and keep stirring continuously till it completely incorporates into the sauce, then repeat else lumps will be formed.
  4. Once white sauce is thickened, add pinch of salt and white pepper.
  5. take some white sauce into pan then add diced blanched baby corns and farfalle al-dente pasta.

TIP 4: Using hot milk for roux makes white sauce smoother.
TIP 5: Adding some fresh cream gives it a rich texture.
TIP 6 : Flavored milk make the white sauce extremely yummy, the induced flavors works wonders believe me

INFORMATION: White sauce is extremely versatile, it can be used as a base ingredient in numerous dishes from any cuisine. I am using it in 3 sauces! It’s tricky but super easy to make, once you have learnt it then you can add magic to your rather mundane dishes.

(See video at beginning for detailed visual instructions)

Pasta in Green Spinach pesto:

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Yield: 6 Servings

Blanch Spinach : 

Blanching spinach
Blanching spinach
How to roast peanuts
How to roast peanuts

Ingredients: 

Ingredients for green pesto
Ingredients for green pesto

Green pesto spinach

Put everything in blender and blend it into a fine paste.

TIP 7: Parmesan cheese is a hard grating cheese which is authentically used in Italian pesto, it isn’t easily available so any hard cheese can be used in it’s place.

TIP 8: Cheese is salty so be careful with salt while adding.

Instructions:
  1. Take some Béchamel sauce (white sauce) then add 2-3 large spoon full pesto. Stir well so that its a smooth green paste.
  2. Now add farfalle al-dente pasta and chopped green capsicum.

This is a super quick pasta.

(See video at beginning for detailed visual instructions)

Tri color pasta

All three components are ready for assembling. Take a glass/oven proof dish and grease it with oil/butter. Then place the each layer of pasta.

Pasta layers for pasta pie
Pasta layers for pasta pie

Generously spread grated mozzarella cheese over it then garnish it with sliced black olives (You can use anything to garnish)

Garnish

Put it in preheated oven (Grill) at 180 degree Celsius for 10 minutes (Or till cheese melts and gets golden in color). It will yield 8 servings.

Tricolor exotic pasta pie recipe
Tricolor exotic pasta pie is ready!

Dish 2: Eggplant mushroom pasta:

Eggplant mushroom pasta
Eggplant mushroom pasta

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  1. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  2. 4-5 Thick slices of eggplant (Pan fry)
  3. 150 gms- Finely chopped button mushrooms
  4. 1-2 tbsp- Diced yellow bell pepper
  5. 2 tbsp- Finely chopped blanched spinach
  6. Star shaped sliced yellow capsicum
  7. salt and black pepper to taste
  8. Red chili flake
  9. black olives
  10. Grated mozzarella cheese
  11. White sauce (2 tbsp)
  12. Red and green bell pepper julienne for garnish

TIP 9: Soaking eggplant slices in water takes off it’s bitterness and adding salt to water adds required salt to it.

Eggplant mushroom pasta ingredients
Eggplant mushroom pasta ingredients
pan frying eggplant slices
pan frying eggplant slices
Preparation of creamy mushroom pasta:
  1. Take some olive oil in pan.
  2. Add chopped button mushrooms, cook till they are soft.
  3. Add white sauce to it and mix will.
  4. Add chopped blanched spinach to it.
  5. add diced yellow bell pepper. Add salt.
  6. add Farfalle pasta. Sauce is ready.
Creamy mushroom pasta
Creamy mushroom pasta

TIP 10 : Do not use spinach puree, it will make sauce green in color. We need to keep it white and creamy so use Finely chopped blanched spinach. It will give it beautiful exotic unique texture like in the Image. Everyone loves this sauce! It’s so beautiful and equally delicious.

Now place fried slices of eggplant over a over proof plate, place yellow capsicum over it. Fill it with creamy mushroom pasta. Top it with grated mozzarella cheese, sprinkle red chili flakes and garnish it with black olives. Then place it in pre heated oven for 10 minutes or till cheese melts.

Instructions
Instructions
baked mushroom eggplant pasta
baked mushroom eggplant pasta 

Garnish it with julienne of Red and green bell peppers and it will look a lot like the logo of Del Monte 😀 (Yes that’s my inspiration for this recipe)

This recipe is brother of another mother of Del monte ;)
This recipe is brother of another mother of Del monte 😉

Sweet and tangy pasta salad:

Sweet and tangy pasta salad

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients: 

  1. Handful farfalle al dente pasta
  2. Diced fruits (2 Apricots, 2 peaches,2 plums and 1 pears)
  3. 50 gms – Steamed corn kernels
  4. 2 Diced blanched baby corns
  5. 40 grams Green and red bell peppers julienned
  6. Half lime juice
  7. 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar (Twist)
  8. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  9. 5-6 tulsi leaves (Indian basil)
  10. 1 tsp – White sauce (Secret ingredient)
  11. 1 tsp Dried herbs and 1 tsp red chili flakes
  12. Cilantro to garnish
Salad Dressing Instructions:
  1. Take lime juice in a bowl, add balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and white sauce and whisk till it emulsifies.
  2. Add Dried herbs and red chili flakes and whisk again

TIP 11: Balsamic vinegar is a reduction made from grapes, it’s sweet in taste. It’s not easily available so you can use grape juice reduction+ vinegar as a substitute and if you don’t want to use grape juice reduction then use plain white vinegar and honey for sweet and tangy taste.

TIP 12: Adding dried herbs and chili flakes to dressing induces it’s flavors to the oil and as the dressing matures, the flavors gets stronger and more prominent.

Sweet and tangy salad dressing
Sweet and tangy salad dressing

Now add all the fruits, corn kernels, vegetable and pasta to it. Tear the tulsi leaved by hand and mix it all in. The sweet and tangy pasta salad is ready to be served.

TIP 13: Tear tulsi by hands, do not use knife as it oxidizes and it’s goodness is reduced!
TIP 14: This salad dressing will last up to a month in refrigerator, it’s a creamy Italian salad dressing that we generally buy in supermarkets at high price!

Sweet and tangy pasta salad preperation
Sweet and tangy pasta salad preperation

Final plating:

Tricolor exotic pasta platter recipe by Ankita Singhal
Tricolor exotic pasta platter recipe
Tricolor exotic pasta platter recipe by Ankita Singhal
Tricolor exotic pasta platter
Tricolor exotic pasta platter recipe by Ankita Singhal
Tricolor exotic pasta platter

All my hard work was well rewarded by the smile of that little girl I shared my happiness with 🙂
Believe me when that little girl told me she always wanted to eat pasta but couldn’t, I felt as if it’s an honor to be the person who made her small wish true. I think I celebrated happiness the best way possible. Do celebrate your happiness with little kids who needs you too. Thanks for reading this excruciatingly long blogpost 🙂

Sharing happiness
Sharing happiness

To know more about Del Monte like their Facebook Page HERE

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9 thoughts on “Tricolor exotic pasta platter: celebrating happiness

  1. The tricolour pasta looks awesome and the sweet smile on the face of your little one more than compensates for the labour you would have put into it. You have a video up there too!. Best wishes for the contest Ankita. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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