Healthy pasta has become a thing here on The India Edition! And no, healthy pasta isn’t necessarily an oxymoron. Today I’m sharing a quick, easy recipe for a classic tomato-based pasta that is so comforting on a cool rainy day. It’s just a good, spicy [vegan] fusilli arrabbiata that I hadn’t made in a very long time.
This one is made with just a few simple ingredients that you’re sure to have on hand. First: I always use whole wheat pasta. A good tomato puree is important too: you can make your own (boil, blanch, skin and puree) or use a store-bought version. I find that those are more concentrated and can often pack in more sodium, so adjust by adding a little water if needed and check before seasoning. Next: dried red chilis. Well, actually, Italian peperoncino (a type of chili) would be authentic for an arrabbiata sauce but I use Kashmiri red chilis (they work perfectly well). Finally, basil, oregano and extra virgin olive oil. I also use a piece of carrot in any tomato sauce I prepare as a natural antidote to the acidity. You can use the carrot afterwards in a vegetable stock or discard it. The whole cooking process is done in about 25 minutes.
This classic tomato-based pasta makes a great weeknight vegan dinner on a cold or rainy evening. If you’re eating it as a meal by itself, there are a few easy ways to make it more filling. Start with a fresh salad topped with nuts and incorporate some baked tofu into the pasta. And of course, you can also top it with a little cheese!
- 100g dry whole wheat fusilli or penne pasta, boiled
- 150ml tomato puree
- 2 dried red chilies, soaked in hot water, de-seeded and chopped finely
- 5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 1 tbsp high heat oil or butter
- ¾ tsp dried oregano
- 8-10 basil leaves
- 1 3-inch whole piece of carrot, peeled
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- ½ tsp pepper or to taste
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- In a large pan, sauté the garlic and oregano in 1 tbsp of any high heat oil or butter for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant and lightly browned.
- Add in the tomato puree, chopped rehydrated red chili and piece of carrot.
- Allow the sauce to simmer for 5-7 minutes.
- Add in the cooked pasta and basil leaves, tearing them into smaller pieces just as you add them in.
- Mix for 2-3 minutes.
- Discard the carrot or use it in a vegetable stock.
- Drizzle 1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.
In other news, my basil plants are blooming! If you don’t grow your own herbs, you must start – it’s incredibly exciting and rewarding. I would love to hear any tips from those who already grow their own.