October 10th, 2011
Pasta With Roasted Vegetables And Crumbled Fresh Cheese
Today I made a wonderful discovery and am thrilled to bits about it! I have written before about my husband’s pasta fixation! I realized today that the son follows suit!
My baby loves pasta! Please excuse my excitement as these proclamations come from the mother of an extremely finicky eater!
Making this also turned out to be an educational experience for Hari as he asked me the names of the vegetables and the pasta shape. He liked the colours and textures in his lunch and with much curiosity asked me the names of all the ingredients in this dish that crossed his tiny hands.
And then when I was shooting trying to get the perfect horizontal shot, Hari came running and reached out for the parsley on the table, which for me turned out to be the “perfect” shot! Realizing that one day he will be grown up and won’t resort to such antics makes me treasure such moments even more!
This particular meal made an impact on him and as I was putting him to nap in the afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised and mildly amused when his eyes twinkled and out of the blue he said, “capsicum” (what we call bell peppers in India), making an effort or rather effortlessly remembering his lessons earlier in the day.
What adds an interesting dimension to this pasta is the fresh cheese. Its a breeze to make it at home and fresh is always best! Ofcourse, if you wish you always have the option of using store bought cheese. But do give this a try to experience the simplicity and taste.
I love grilling and roasting vegetables in the oven and often find myself doing it with every other meal I that I cook! The burst of colours from the vegetables and flavours emanating from the herbs makes me happy! I try to capture the essence of every step and by so doing, I happened to observe the footprints of the vegetables left behind on the baking parchment. The impressions left by these vegetables also happened to make a pretty picture.
The flavour of the roasted vegetables, the mealiness of the pasta and the softness of the cheese, all come together in this bowl to create a one pot meal that is fresh, healthy and full of relish in every bite.
Pasta With Roasted Vegetables And Crumbled Fresh Cheese Recipe
You can use wholewheat pasta or any other pasta of your choice. You can also use any fresh seasonal vegetables here and use vegan cheese to substitute the dairy cheese for a vegan friendly version.
For the roasted vegetables
1 medium sized broccoli, cut into florets
250 gm (2 cups), baby corn, cut into 2” pieces
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 tsp salt or to taste
pepper, freshly ground, to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
Pre heat your oven to 200 C/400F.
Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Arrange all the vegetables on the prepared tray and grill in the top rack for 20 minutes or till done.*
* Cooking time depends on individual ovens. My convection oven takes 20 minutes while my OTG takes more time.
For the pasta
400 gm (4 cups) penne pasta
3 litres (12 cups) water
4 tsp salt or to taste
oil to prevent pasta from sticking to each other, optional
In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add salt, oil and pasta and cook until done, according to package instructions.
Drain and keep aside.
For the fresh crumbled cheese
2 cups milk (whole or skimmed)
1/2 cup yogurt (less if your yogurt is sour) or 2 tsp lime juice*
In a sauce pan, bring the milk to the boil. Add the yogurt or the lime juice and cook for a minute or two, until the milk solids separate from the whey. Turn off the heat and pour the contents over a strainer. Allow the water to drain completely, about 8 to 10 minutes and you have fresh cheese ready!
*You might have to use a little more, if the milk solids don’t separate.
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika flakes or less if you want it milder
A sprig of fresh parsley, cut into shreds
In a wok, heat the oil over a medium flame. Put in the paprika and the parsley and stir for a few seconds. Toss in the pasta and roasted vegetables and mix well.
Serve the pasta in bowls or plates with crumbled fresh cheese sprinkled over it.