What happens when Indian cooks Spaghetti
I never cooked spaghetti before yesterday. Even for yesterday till I reached the grocery store I was not planning to make spaghetti. But then it all started.
My plan before grocery stop : cook dinner
My plan after grocery store : cook a hearty spaghetti dinner for my wife and father in law!
Angel hair pasta , Chicken hearts, Chicken sausage (mildly hot), Big peppers (Red, Orange and Yellow), Chicken stock, asparagus, canned tomato, butter, salt, mexican cheese shredded, black pepper, basil leaves, itallian sausage pasta sauce, garlic
Wow, that looks like a lot of ingredients to use for pasta. Anyways since it turned out pretty damn good, I thought I might share it with you guys. And don't worry about chicken heart. That was there in my freezer and I had no idea where to use it. But I was happy that I used it for this recipe. Because it rocked!
To start I minced three cloves of garlic. Keeping those aside I minced about 12-15 chicken hearts using a cleaver. Then I heated half a stick of butter in a pan and added the miced garlic into it. I kept the flame in medium to not to burn the garlic. When started getting the wonderful smell of garlic in butter I added the minced meat and kept stirring till moderately brown. To this I added two sturns of ground pepper and a bit of salt. I planned to cook this for 30-40 minutes adding chicken stock at every 10mnts and reduce it to a nice thick flavoury sauce base. Impromptou I added one canned whole tomato and crushed it well into the mixture. As I said chicken stock was added every 10mnts or so and I kept the flame at high to get a quick reduction of the liquid. I have no idea how much chicken stock I added but I guess I added thrice. Anyways while this sauce base is going on I moved on to pan number two to get my vegetables and sausage done. Also I put my pot number 2 the pasta pot to boil. I remembered from somewhere that it is good to salt the water. So I salted it generously.
While pot number 2 was trying to boil the water I heated some vegetable oil in the pan number two. Alongside I cut the peppers and asparagus to neat pieces. I used half of each pepper and six asparagus stems. I figured two asparagus per head is good enough. The peppers I cut into 1inch square pieces. Then I sauted the peppers first seasoning it with a bit of salt and black peppers. I kept a high flame because I wanted the edges and some sides to have a charred look. got it pretty easily :-). I cut each asparagus stem to three pieces. Once the peppers were done I sauted the asparagus on the same oil. I lowered the flame to make sure that asparagus looked nice green and fresh; still soft and delicious for fork. The whole sauteing must have taken 15mnts or so.
While the asparagus was on the fire I cut three chicken sausages - each to about 5 to 6 pieces of 1 inch length. Cut at a slant - you know what I mean. By then my pasta water was boiling. So I added the pasta - good for three servings. After removing the asparagus from the fire I browned my sausages in the same pan - by just tossing them over.
Meanwhile my sauce base had reached the thick bown consistency I was hoping it to reach. To this I added the pasta sauce from the bottle (It was a good sauce with a meaty sausage flavour). I wanted the sauce to be thinner than what came from the bottle. So I added more chicken broath and brought the sauce to a boil. Then the I reduced the flame to simmer and kept it going for the rest of the cookign. Towards the end I pinched two fresh basil leaves, crushed them and added to the sauce to bring out a fresh fragrance.
And the pasta was boiling beautifully by then. The box told 6 minutes for a soft pasta. When I pinched and tasted it at 6 minuted it definitely was not soft. So I boiled it for anothere 3 minutes till it came to a consistency I liked. Then I dranied the pasta. I kept a bit of liquid in the pasta to give it a softer texture. Everything looked fantastic so far.
I first poured the sauce to the plates and then added pasta on top of it. Over the pasta I served up the peppers, asparagus and the browned sausage. Then I sprinkled a generous quantity of shredded mexican cheese (I like this cheese more than the parmegano ones). There I had three beautiful servings of my first spaghetti dish!!
The chicken heart was the heart of the sauce and I have no doubt in my mind that this was the perfect improvisation I could have done to incorporate those chicken hearts into a pasta dish!
If you like it make it :-)
Thanks for your post - I've read about a little chicken liver contributing well to bolognese sauces, so I'm not surprised that "the heart was the heart" of your sauce!
Interesting about the time it took to cook the pasta - I usually find that it takes less time than the box says. Did you use a lot of water? And, though obviously you should cook it to the texture you are happy with, the traditional texture is not "soft" but "al dente" - meaning (in loose terms) with a slight bite to it.
I looked up in google what bolognese sauce is after reading your comment. Very good learning there. I am very inexperienced to comment on this but I approach cooking from a fundamental flavour based experimentation. ( Since I am a foriegner the only italian reference tastes I can relate to are the ones from restaurants sucha as Bertucii's and Olieve GArden :-).) , In my opinion strong flavoured meat should add rich complex flavours to spaghetti sauce. Pigeon meat may be another idea. All organ meats should work fine. My biggest worry while cooking the chicken heart was how much time to cook. Since half the packet of chicken hearts is still there I'll get to experiment a bit more with it.
About the cooking time for pasta, Al dente is not my cup of tea. I like it on the softer side. Does not look like any flavour is lost by cooking it a bit more.
Thanks for the great, detailed post! Sounds really good. And I never would have thought of it, but it makes sense.