The Peanut Butter Pasta Salad– A cooking date with myself

Before you start wondering what is happening on my blog, I will warn you that I ma experimenting. You remember I told you about a blog I want to start about food and travel stories? I have been inspired by so many of food-blogs that I want to start a place where I can share my kitchen creativity too (although I am pretty much sure that I won’t be half as creative as them because I do not have much time). Before I start the blog and buy a blank canvas, I thought about experimenting with at least one post at least so I know whether I will be able to bring my idea in pictures or not? Words won’t be a problem, I know, but pictures are just another story. I have been wondering this for three months now as many of the thoughts and pictures sit in the gallery of my phone. Then Delmonte provided me this inspiration. They challenged the blogger to cook the Pasta Italiano style.

So, I am torturing my dear book lovers to go through a recipe only once and give me the feedback whether the pictures(and recipe) and my idea have the talent to keep a food and travel blog running? This is just one post, I promise, but I need someone to help me get over my insecurity.

Before I begin the recipe, let me tell you the only place I have tasted Pasta is in India… so I have no idea how Italians like their pasta. I have eaten what Indian restaurant call as Italian Pasta, but whether it truly is Italian pasta or is an Indianized version of that pasta, I have no idea about it.I have read hundreds(and I really mean hundreds here) of Pasta recipes and I have tried at least half of them too, but still as my mom says… reading and tasting are two different things. Just because you know how it looks does not mean you know how it tastes. (She says this to my brother every time he makes a face at something which looks bland.)

Before I start my pasta recipe, let me confess I have discussed with my fellow contestants about the recipes and I have discussed with them their favorite recipes too. I have highest respect for them because they spent one hour or sometimes more than one hour in preparing pasta. For me, pasta is a quick dish. When I come home from office and I am in no mood to cook, I cook a bowl of pasta. So, for me Pasta is at max a 20 minute dish. If we can refrigerate it and have it later on without reheating it, all the more better. This means that I can enjoy my pasta during my lunch in office.

And to make it Italian I add what I consider as Italian ingredients.

Not the freshest of the lot... but then I am not in Italy right now, and today is the weekday.

Not the freshest of the lot… but then I am not in Italy right now, and today is the weekday.

So this pasta recipe incorporates that thought of mine. It is quick– 10-12 minutes of cooking time or the time it will take for the pasta to be cooked. That’s all the time you need. This pasta salad has the bite of apple cider and the crunch of peanut butter to form the dressing for the pasta salad.

The pasta is boiled along with all the veggies (except the cherry tomato which I like to oven dry) with enough amount of water to cook it. Then it is mixed with the salad dressing. I like to refrigerate it before eating, but it tastes good when warm too.

So let us move on to the recipe. Since I live alone, I have to cook only for myself. This recipe gives enought for one person.

Ingredients

1 cup of pasta

(My pasta came from Delmonte itself and they sent the  durum wheat pasta which is like the healthier version of the pasta!)

1/4 of the yellow capsicum

1/4 of the red capsicum

A few Basil leaves

A bunch of Parsley leaves

1 clove of Garlic

A tablespoon of olive oil.

A bunch of cherry tomato

For the salad dressing

1 tablespoon of peanut butter

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

A pinch of paprika

Salt according to taste

Recipe

  1. The first step is to boil the pasta. Just make sure not to add too much of water to the pasta. The double of the quantity taken should be sufficient for the first boil. Add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of oil in the water to ensure that the pasta does not get sticky.

    Pasta... on fire!

    Pasta! (I know I need presentable pots and pans.)

  2. While the pasta is boiling, put the cherry tomatoes in the oven for drying for 10 minutes. (I set the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes). Before putting in the oven, cut the tomatoes in half and add a drop of olive oil over them. I like to add dried oregano too to them because of its awesome fragrance and that subtle taste.  This is how the cherry tomatoes look after being cooked in the oven for 10 minutes.

    The cherry tomatoes

    The cherry tomatoes

  3. Meanwhile, cut the yellow and red capsicum. You can add the cucumber too (European cucumber tastes awesome in this too, but since I am new to Mumbai I could not find a single place which sells them).

    Cut Capsicum-- A riot of colors

    Cut Capsicum– A riot of colors

  4. After pasta has boiled for few minutes, mince the garlic and add it to the pasta. Also add a few basil leaves and a bunch of parsley leaves. Let the pasta continue to boil.
  5. After around 7 minutes, add the capsicum to the pasta. Adjust the water if needed and cook the pasta till al dente. This means the pasta should retain its crunch. This should take another 3-5 minutes.

    Adding the life to the boring color of Pasta

    Adding the life to the boring, plain Pasta

  6. As and when the tomatoes are done, mix them in the boiling pasta.
  7. Take the pasta off the heat when only slightest amount of water is still left in the pan. It means that the pasta should not be completely dried but should be glistening with water. This will make it easier to add the peanut butter.
  8. Mix the peanut butter and the apple cider vinegar to the cooked pasta.

    Peanut Butter and Apple Cider-- Ready to be mixed

    Peanut Butter and Apple Cider– The zing of the salad, ready to be mixed

  9. Add the paprika and adjust the seasoning as per  the taste. I like to add the hint of dried oregano and parsley for the taste and fragrance.
  10. Eat it warm or let it cool in the refrigerator overnight.

    And the Final Dish of Pasta Salad

    And the Final Dish of Pasta Salad

P.S.– In order to make the mixing of peanut butter easier, one can always blend it along with the apple cider  as this will reduce its density a bit, but mixing it while the pasta is still hot and when it has the slight amount of moisture is actually not that difficult.

And this is my fallback recipe when I am in no mood to cook or have no time to focus too much time on cooking.

Do tell me if you liked the recipe (and if you think I will able to even 1% of the justice to a blog I want to start!)  And even if you don’t think I can do it, that’s okay to tell me too. I am very soon going to bury this post under the deluge of book reviews that are pending, so that will be just okay.

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sonia Lal
    Aug 19, 2015 @ 04:34:33

    I have never heard of putting peanut butter in pasta. Hmm. It doesn’t look bad though.

    Reply

  2. TheLastWord
    Aug 19, 2015 @ 06:10:59

    I have never heard of adding veggies into the water with the pasta… for me pasta is boiled separately and sauce made separately. The past, drained, is then added to the sauce… i should try it this way one day.

    Reply

  3. Sonia Lal
    Aug 20, 2015 @ 01:40:39

    I actually tried it today. No bell peppers, because I don’t have any right now. Used normal tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes, because I don’t have cherry tomatoes right now, either. I chopped onions into it, too. I didn’t have parsley or basil leaves, either. LOL

    But the peanut butter and apple cider vinegar idea is so good. I was doubtful, but it works. I added a few Indian masala to it.

    It was good. I will make it again. With bell peppers, if I have them!

    Reply

  4. marriagebooklin
    Aug 20, 2015 @ 10:56:46

    Really superb innovative recipe. Pictorial presentation too is one of a kind with clear to the point explanation to the making of it. Will surely try out this recipe soon.

    Reply

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