Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Boss's Pasta and My Spicy Moroccan Soup

My Boss's Pasta
We were at Fashion Week recently and a friend pointed us to the Smokehouse Deli saying we had to try 'My Boss's Pasta'. After we got over the confusion caused by the fact that she runs her own PR firm, we did go across and try it out. Simple, light and delicious, so much so that I couldn't wait to recreate it in my own kitchen, with fairly good results.

1 pack spaghetti
Handful of green beans, topped and tailed and cut into half lengthwise
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced fine
Handful of spinach leaves, washed
Splash of white wine
Olive oil + EVOO
1-2 dried red chillies
Grated Parmesan cheese - a handful or as much as you can get away with :)
Pepper, finely ground and paprika

Put a pan of water on to boil, salt lightly and toss in the red chillies. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, add spaghetti and cook until al dente; drain, reserve some ( half to 1 cup) of the cooking water. Blanch the beans; blanch the spinach leaves. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil on a low flame and add the onions and garlic. Sweat them on a low flame until transparent and soft. Add the splash of wine and let simmer on low flame. Add to the spaghetti along with the beans, spinach and some of the cooking water ( it's not a sauce-y pasta, just moist). Top with the Parmesan and add pepper and paprika to taste.

Pass around the Parmesan with a grater at the table for more joy.

After eons, now the weather is cooler, I craved a really nice, spicy, yummy soup. I looked up various bean soups and decided on Gordon Ramsay's Pumpkin and butter bean soup. However I couldn't not add my own twist, so I decided to add Ras el Hanout to it to heighten the spice. Of course, being lazy me, this was the quick and dirty version of Ras el Hanout, which meant chucking the ingredients into the oil before adding the veggies and then blending it all together later.

When I eventually tried out the soup I had a blinding flash of realisation - Ras el Hanout is nothing more or less than our own desi Shahi Garam Masala. I looked up the rarely used pack of Shahi Garam Masala and sure enough, the exact same list of ingredients! Ok, trouble saved in the future :)

It was an awesome soup, though so highly recommended.

750 gm pumpkin ( I'm guessing here by the volume of pumpkin I used)
3 orange carrots
4 spring onions and 1 ordinary red onion
3-4 garlic cloves
Half cup of yellow and red bell peppers
1/2 inch ginger
1 dried red chilli
Handful coriander leaves
1 can butter beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 liter water/ stock

For the masala:
Half teaspoon each of: coriander, white pepper, black pepper, turmeric, cloves, mace, nutmeg, cinnamon, paprika, ginger powder
Dry roast and powder

Cube all the vegetables. Heat the oil and add in the garlic and onions. Once they are soft, toss in the vegetables and 1/2 of the water. Let it come to a boil, then let simmer until the vegetables are soft. Let is cool, then puree as finely as desired. Open the can of butter beans and rinse them. Add them to the puree, add the rest of the water and mix well, heat up to serve.

Serve topped with fried onions, a sprinkling of coriander leaves and a dollop of yogurt. Bliss out!