Lately, I’ve been exploring a low carb diet and have primarily been sticking to complex carbs like whole grains, legumes; fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils etc. And I must say I’m really enjoying them. I now look at simple carbs, fried food, and processed food as ‘empty’ calories and try to avoid them as much as possible. It must be paying off because I’m several pounds lighter and much fitter already. I can now easily resist the allure of fragrant basmati rice when a ghee laden Gujarati Peanutwali Dal is simmering away at home or the tantalising aroma of freshly baked bread at Philu’s bakery across the street. Her fresh, hot loaves come out just before lunch and permeate half our sleepy village awakening my mild mannered hunger into a raging monster…
But Pasta? It is my absolute undoing. Pasta makes me pick at it while it simmers in its sauce, burning my fingers in the bargain. It makes me sneak into the fridge in the middle of the night for just one more heavenly bite. Pasta makes me cook it in copious quantities so I ‘accidentally’ have leftovers for a few lunches and breakfasts. Yes, breakfast too.
Pasta as we know is extremely versatile and happily participates in my culinary experiments with gusto. Most home pasta recipes like mine are improvised versions of traditional recipes and usually devised as they go along. From this staple Chicken Pasta in Mushroom sauce to the fiery Sausage Pasta to the Sindhi Macaroni Kheema Bake or the Bombay Working Girl Pasta, pasta makes everything better. Quick, economical and versatile, pasta is absolutely worth cheating on your diet for!
Chicken Pasta in Creamy Mushroom Sauce
200 gms Boneless chicken, cubed
200 gms Fresh button mushrooms, chopped
50 gms shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced
Use any other mushrooms or maybe, all!
1 cup roasted/ grilled onions
300 gms Pasta, cooked al dente
2 tsp Garlic, minced
¼ cup Fresh cream
1/2 cup White wine
1 tbsp Capers
1 tbsp Fresh coriander, roughly chopped
½ tsp White pepper
Olive oil, as required
Salt to taste
- Marinate the chicken in salt, white pepper and lemon juice. Cook the pasta al dente and drain. Rehydrate the shiitake mushrooms and slice thinly.
- Grill the onions till charred and sweet or wrap them in tin foil and roast on an open stove top flame. Cool, peel and chop.
- Heat some oil in a pan. Add the garlic and chopped onions. Turn on the heat and add the mushrooms. Toss well till the mushrooms are cooked.
- Puree to a smooth paste in the food processor. bring back to heat and add the white wine. simmer till the wine has evaporated and the sauce has thickened. Let cool and stir in the cream into the sauce.
- Heat some butter in a pan and till it is golden brown. Add the chicken and sear on high heat till browned and just cooked.
- Combine the pasta, fresh coriander, shiitake mushrooms and chicken and pour the mushroom sauce over it. Mix well and heat gently before serving.