This lockdown is bringing out the inner chef in all of us. Some of us are learning how to cook whereas most of us are rediscovering the joy of cooking – including yours truly. But cooking good food doesn’t necessarily have to take up a lot of time, nor does it require fancy gourmet ingredients or involve long painstaking procedures. If like me, you enjoy eating well but also don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen, these pasta recipes below are perfect to whip up quickly and taste absolutely amazing.
Pasta remains one of my favorite things to cook (and eat!). And over a period of time I’ve mastered these two basic sauces such that now I can cook them in 30 minutes with my eyes closed and hands tied behind my back. Okay, not the latter. Feel free to experiment with choice of pasta (spaghetti vs penne vs fettuccine vs fusilli) and choice of protein (chicken vs prawn vs tofu) – but I’ll mention my favourite combinations at the end.
*drum roll* Without further ado here are my easy ‘red sauce’ and ‘white sauce’ pasta recipes. (Yes, I am desi like that.) *rolls eyes at pink sauce*
Garlic Tomato Pasta – Arrabbiata
- 1 large chopped Onion
- 8 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 3 large diced tomatoes
- Crushed basil leaves
- For Seasoning: 1 teaspoon sugar, salt, oregano and chilli flakes
- To Cook In: Olive oil
- In a medium sized pan, heat olive oil. Add chopped onions followed by garlic. Sautee until brown and cooked.
- Add diced tomatoes into the pan allowing them to simmer for 10-15 minutes after adding some water or leftover tomato juice.
- Season the sauce with sugar, salt, oregano, chilli flakes and crushed basil. (You can add more chilli flakes depending on your spice level.) Continue heating the sauce until it comes to a boil and begins to thicken. The tomatoes should have turned into pulp by now. If not, use a wooden spoon to mash them up further.
- Once the sauce has thickened, you can mix this into cooked pasta of your choice, along with shredded cheese topped with crushed basil leaves.
Choice of Protein – I’ve found that shrimp works beautifully with this sauce. Cook shrimp with a dash of olive oil over medium heat until both sides turn pink and set aside to mix into the pasta later.
Choice of Pasta – Go down the healthy route with this one. I usually pair this with whole wheat spaghetti. Cook the pasta separately and remove 2 minutes before fully cooked. Remember it’s going to cook a bit more over the pan when you mix it in with the sauce.
Pro Tip – This sauce can be made into a large batch and frozen. Works very well on those days you get back home late from work and have no inclination to cook.
Check out another lazy-easy recipe for Chorizo Fried Rice here. One of my favourite things to cook with leftover rice.
Creamy Alfredo Pasta
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 250 grams of spinach leaves (optional)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- For Seasoning: Salt and crushed pepper
- To Cook In: Butter
- Heat butter in a saucepan. Add garlic and sautee till lightly brown. At this stage you can add your spinach if you like and sautee a bit more. Personally, I feel spinach adds an interesting flavour profile to the otherwise one dimensional creamy sauce that results.
- Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Add cheese and pasta into this sauce, cooking throughout on a low heat. Season with salt and crushed pepper as per your taste.
Choice of Protein – I love adding chicken into all of this creamy goodness. Cut your chicken breasts into small cubes, and cook them first in a pan over medium heat on all sides. Season with salt and crushed pepper and set aside to be mixed into the pasta later.
Choice of Pasta – This ones a no brainer! Penne generally works best with all cream based sauces since the cavity of the pasta allows the sauce to fill up inside.
Pro Tip – We usually add some mixed vegetables (corn+carrots+peas) that have been par-boiled on the side into this mix so we feel less guilty about all the cream and cheese we are about to consume.
Do let me know if you end up trying these pasta recipes out at home in the comments below. Stay safe and happy cooking!