Category Archives: Pasta

Penne with Kransky and Vine-Ripened Tomatoes

I know that I have written enough about the dull, dreary winter out here in Melbourne but I continue to write about it because I have turned into the laziest, slouchiest (if there is such a word) person in the world. Instead of embracing the beauty of the winter whites, all that I can think of and do is – sleep.

Oh! I can sleep – hours altogether without a worry in the world. I enjoy late nights and then sleep into the late mornings, sometimes afternoons. But the euphoria of the long, relaxing sleep does not last long. The mountain of household and professional chores gets to me and before long, I get grumpy and moody (vehemently making a mental resolution to follow better and disciplined sleeping habits). And to repeat it all again the next day. Sigh!

During the weekdays, I do not get to indulge in this erratic behavior and try to maintain a semblance of normality. But with the winter and school holidays setting in, I am back to my crazy schedule which leaves me hardly any time to cook elaborate meals or even get creative and experimentative in the kitchen.

And my go to dish for such days is pasta. There are a zillion recipes that you can come up for pasta and many of these require very few ingredients. Pasta is extremely forgiving and versatile, ready to take up any flavours that you infuse into it.

Today’s dish is penne with kransky and vine-ripened tomatoes; just as the name suggests, the main ingredients complimenting the pasta are the sweet and juicy vine-ripened tomatoes and the salty, earthy kransky. For those of you who do not know, kransky or Kranjska klobasa is a Slovenian sausage usually made from pork and seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper. This has a rich and meaty flavour and works really well with pasta.


And before we head off to the recipe, let me tell you of a little perk-me-up that I received during the past week. I got a mail from the US chapter of the website, saying that they would like to feature my blog on their website and also want to do a short interview for them. I was flabbergasted but happy too for this attention that my blog has received. So I did the interview, a very short one, and if interested, you can read it here.


Recipe Courtesy – Woman’s Day


• 500g penne
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 red capsicum – deseeded and sliced
• 1 onion – sliced
• 2 garlic cloves – crushed
• 1 red chilli – sliced finely
• 4 kransky (or other continental sausage) – thickly sliced
• Vine-ripened tomatoes – 4
• 50g baby spinach leaves
• 90g feta – crumbled
• Salt – to season
• Black pepper – to season


1. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 10-12 minutes.
2. In the meantime, heat oil in a large pan on medium. Sauté capsicum, onion, garlic and chilli for 4-5 minutes until softened.
3. Add sausage and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir spinach through until it starts to wilt.
4. The pasta would have cooked by now, drain and add to the tomato-sausage mixture.
5. Toss well to combine; season with salt and pepper after tasting. Garnish with crumbled feta cheese.
6. Serve hot.




And if you are a pasta lover, then check out some of these awesome recipes.


Penne with ham, egg and roasted seasonal vegetables

A sense of belonging – that’s what really matters when you start life in a new country. It has never been friends or family that helped me feel connected or welcome in any new place but rather the food. The accessibility of fresh produce, availability of ingredients and the independence of roaming around the markets – all these have helped me adjust to a foreign environment. Maybe it’s my food obsession or my inherent inability to make friends easily…..

Migrating to Australia was no different. It was the presence of a local market, fresh produce and availability of all kinds of ingredients that made me feel at home here. I cannot altogether discredit the presence of friends in my life – I have made some extraordinary and irreplaceable friendships in my life. But speaking of developing and forging new friendships, it happens always over food for me, even here.

And that were my thoughts and rationale when I decided to take a dish for the Maundy Thursday meal at our local church. Now this was a very new tradition for us – but we loved the concept. A potluck meal shared together by all the congregation members before the main church service. The members could bring any dish but must fall under 3 categories – lamb, vegetarian or fruits. It is believed that Jesus Christ at these at the Last Supper table before He was betrayed and crucified.

Walking into the dining hall with my dish in hand, placing it amongst many others symbolized that ‘sense of belonging’. Isn’t it such a joy to share the food you cooked with others? It is, it truly is, because you are sharing not just food – you are sharing love. I finally belong here!

And here are some of the delicious dishes that were a part of the potluck meal. I made grilled paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and vegetable skewers with yoghurt, saffron and spice marinade.


Coming to today’s recipe, it is a classic pasta dish – a simple, hearty pasta dish with roasted seasonal vegetables, ham and eggs.


Apart from the fact that it is an extremely easy one to make, this is a wholesome and healthy dish as it has the right mix of carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. I used zucchini, tomatoes, red onion and bell peppers but you can use any type of vegetables that are in season. And if you like gooey, runny yolk, replace the boiled eggs with poached ones. Personally, I would go with the poached egg but no other fans at home so did the boiled ones.

To spice up the dish a bit, I used Nando’s peri-peri salt. If you haven’t tried it yet, you must – it adds just the slightest hint of spice and a dash of salt which is perfect for seasoning fries, steaks, roast vegetables etc…



Recipe Courtesy – Loosely based on a recipe from Coles magazine.


1. Penne (use any type that you want) – 500 gm
2. Zucchini – 1, diced
3. Spanish red onion – 1, diced
4. Ripe yet firm tomatoes – 2, deseeded and diced
5. Broccoli florets – 1 cup
6. Bell pepper – 1, diced
7. Garlic – 4 cloves, whole
8. Ham – 100 gm, diced
9. Eggs – 4
10. Olive oil – 3 tbsp
11. Nando’s peri peri salt – to sprinkle
12. Baby spinach leaves – 50gm
13. Freshly shaved parmesan – to serve


• Boil the eggs in salted boiling water; peel, cut into halves and keep aside.
• Line a tray with baking paper and add all the diced vegetables except spinach leaves. Add the whole garlic cloves, sprinkle with peri-peri salt and olive oil. Mix well and roast in oven at 200°C for about 20 minutes or till done. Keep aside.
• Boil the pasta in salted boiling water, drain and keep aside.
• Heat olive oil in a large pan, add the ham and cook on high heat for a minute. Add the roasted vegetables, baby spinach leaves and cooked pasta; mix well and cook for another minute.
• To assemble, divide the pasta into bowl, add 2 halved eggs and shave parmesan cheese on top. Sprinkle the egg with peri-peri salt.
• Enjoy your bowl of goodness!




Spaghetti with Chicken Sausages in White Sauce

A comfort dish is what this one is….easy and simple to prepare especially if you stock up on white sauce. Just throw in some sausages, stir in the pasta and you have a filling delicious meal in no time.

When I started blogging, a big advice I received from many is that I need to connect with my followers through my writing and not just my recipes. But my problem is that I really don’t want to fill up the pages with my life but I would rather write about the dish or food in general. And I want to connect with all here through food and nothing else. But I am interested to know what you guys think – do you like what you see here or is there something I need to change big time? Love to hear your comments….


  1. 350 gms spaghetti
  2. 6 chicken sausages (skinless); sliced
  3. ½ red onion; finely chopped
  4. ½ bell pepper/capsicum; finely chopped
  5. ½ tsp dried Italian herbs
  6. 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  7. 2 tbsp olive oil
  8. Parmesan cheese; for garnish
  9. White sauce:
  • 2 tbsp white flour
  • 2 tbsp plain unsalted butter
  • 3-4 cups milk
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese; grated
  • ½ tsp dried Italian herbs
  • Salt, to season
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to season


  1. Cook the spaghetti as per packet instructions; drain and keep aside. Reserve 1 cup of the drained pasta water.
  2. To make the white sauce, melt butter in a large pot and add the flour. Mix well and cook on low heat to prepare the roux (this is essentially cooking for a minute or two to remove the raw taste of the flour). Add 1 cup milk and mix into the roux using a whisk. Continue cooking stirring constantly so that no lumps are formed. As the sauce begins to thicken, add another cup of milk and whisk well. Add the seasoning and cheese; continue to stir and when the sauce thickens again, add the third cup of milk. Whisk well and cook till the sauce attains a creamy consistency. Keep aside.
  3. In another pot, heat olive oil and add the onions and bell pepper; sauté for a minute till the onions are just softened and add the sliced sausages. Cook for 1-2 minutes till the sausages are lightly fried and then add the seasonings.
  4. Mix well and add the white sauce followed by the cooked spaghetti. Mix well to incorporate and if the sauce feels too thick, add some of the pasta water to loosen it up.
  5. Serve immediately with grated parmesan on top.

Spaghetti with chicken sausages and white sauce -





Peri-peri Pasta (with bacon and oyster mushrooms)

I have fallen in love with the Nando’s peri-peri sauces! Now that’s an understatement – it is more like an obsession, wanting to add the different sauces to just about anything I cook.

The first time I tasted Nando’s was after coming to Australia. But later got to hear that a Nando’s outlet opened in Chennai (Tamil Nadu, India) for the first time the month we flew to Oz land. Of all the different dishes that I have tasted in Nando’s, my all-time favourite is the corn on the cob smothered with the hot peri-peri sauce. Spicy sweetness in one bite – touching heaven’s doors! (as one of my classmates would put it)

Now, my pantry is always stocked with the different peri-peri sauces which I use to re-create many traditional meat dishes. Here I went overboard and used it for pasta. This is not one for the mild-hearted; it is spicy but not overpowering to burn your taste buds. Bacon and oyster mushrooms were a good choice as both are meaty and great for soaking up the sauce.

Peri-peri Pasta (with bacon and oyster mushrooms) -


1. Pasta (any type) – 2 cups
2. Oyster mushrooms – 1 cup, diced
3. Bacon – 6 rashers, cut into small pieces
4. Red onion – 1 small, diced
5. Tomato – 1 small, deseeded, diced
6. Basil – 4-5 leaves
7. Nando’s hot peri-peri sauce – to individual preferences
8. Salt – to taste
9. Olive oil – 4-5 tbsp
10. Dried basil – for garnish


• Cook pasta in salted boiling water, drain and keep aside.
• In a pan, heat olive oil and fry the bacon. Add diced onions and sauté on high heat.
• Next, add oyster mushrooms and sauté till soft.
• Add tomatoes, season with salt and toss well to combine.
• Next add the peri-peri sauce and the pasta; toss again to combine well.
• Serve warm garnished with dried basil.

Pasta Stir-fry (with asparagus, broccoli, peppers and snow peas)

Once in a while, I like to go off the heavy pasta sauces and have it light and simple. And this is my go to dish then – the veggies keep changing but the concept is the same.

This dish is more like a warm pasta salad but a complete and fulfilling meal in itself. And a good way to get children to eat vegetables too. A pinch of chilli flakes provide the spicy edge for our Indian taste buds but you can skip it for a neutral flavour or add a dash of tomato sauce too. My kiddo likes it with the chilli flakes though.

Adi loves to take these kind of pasta dishes to school; and I am more than happy because he really enjoys the veggies when cooked this way.

Pasta Stir-fry (with asparagus, broccoli, peppers and snow peas) -



1. Pasta curls – 250 gms
2. Asparagus – 1 bunch, sliced diagonally
3. Broccoli – 1 small head, cut into florets
4. Snow peas – 50gms, sliced diagonally
5. Red bell pepper – 1 small, thinly sliced
6. Red onion – 1, sliced
7. Olive oil
8. Salt – to taste
9. Pepper – to taste
10. Chilli flakes – 1 tsp
11. Dried Italian herbs – 1 tsp


• Cook the pasta in salted water till al dente. Drain and keep aside.
• In a large wok or pan, heat olive oil and add sliced onion. Saute for one minute.
• Add asparagus, broccoli, bell pepper and snow peas and sauté for another minute or two.
• Add the cooked pasta, chilli flakes, dried herbs and season with salt and pepper. Stir fry on high heat for a minute.


Pasta, White Sauce and Paprika Mushrooms

Whenever I make basic pasta sauces, I always prepare in bulk and store away in the freezer for lazy weekday nights. So there was one remaining jar of white sauce languishing away in the freezer and decided to come up with this dish. I had also bought a packet of smoked paprika and was dying to use it in some form or the other.

Didn’t really have a culinary plan when I started out making this dish but somewhere along the way, the dish evolved. The spicy sweetness of the paprika mushrooms went quite well with the cheesiness of the white sauce. A very comforting meal!

Pasta, White Sauce and Paprika Mushrooms -


  1. Pasta (any type can be used); 400 gms
  2. White button mushrooms – 2 cups, cubed
  3. Smoked Paprika – ¾ tsp
  4. Olive oil
  5. White sauce:
  • Maida/flour – 1 tbsp
  • Butter – 1 tbsp
  • Milk – 1-2 cups
  • Red onion – ½, finely chopped
  • Green bell pepper – ½, finely chopped
  • Oregano – to season
  • Salt – to season
  • Black pepper powder – to season
  • Parmesan cheese – 1 cup
  1. Parmesan cheese – grated, to serve


Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, drain (reserve 1 cup water) and keep aside.

To make the mushrooms:

  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan and add the mushrooms. Sauté on high heat for about 30 seconds.
  • Next season with paprika and salt and toss well.
  • Sauté for another 30 seconds and keep aside.

To make the white sauce:

  • In a large pot, add butter and the chopped onions and bell peppers. Sauté till the onions are softened.
  • Then add flour and mix well, cook for a minute or two to remove the raw taste.
  • Add 1 cup milk, little by little, and stir on low flame. Continue to stir on low flame till a creamy consistency is attained.
  • Add the cheese and season with salt, pepper and oregano. Mix well to combine. If the sauce feels too thick, add more milk. Remove from heat and keep aside.

To finish, add the mushrooms and pasta to the white sauce and mix well to combine. To loosen up (if necessary); add a little bit of the reserved pasta water.

Serve warm with grated parmesan. Enjoy with a glass of chilled white.






Linguine with Asparagus and Tomato

Linguine with asparagus and tomato; a recipe that I had jotted down in my cookbook diary long back. Stayed out of sight and out of mind for a long time but was thrilled to rediscover it. And since I did not think that I would be publishing or blogging about this recipe, forgot to write down where I got it from. So sorry that I cannot give due credits.

Linguine with Asparagus and Tomato - Meatless Monday cannot get more delicious -

Asparagus is a relatively new vegetable for me as it is quite expensive back in India; in fact, I have tasted it only once at a five star resto, before coming to Australia. It is a wonderful vegetable to cook with, fresh with a delicious crunch. Overcooking asparagus is the worst thing that you can do to it as it lose its crunch and vibrancy, two qualities which make it unique. Blanching or grilling is the best way to preserve its natural taste.

A very simple, easy to prepare pasta dish which has become a regular in our home. And a perfect one for Meatless Mondays.

Linguine with Asparagus and Tomato - Meatless Monday cannot get more delicious -

Linguine with Asparagus and Tomato - Meatless Monday cannot get more delicious -


  1. Linguine – 300 gm
  2. Green asparagus – 500 gm
  3. Cherry tomatoes – 200 gm
  4. Canned tomatoes – 400 gm
  5. Olive oil – 4-5 tbsp
  6. Garlic – 2 cloves, chopped finely
  7. Salt – to taste
  8. Pepper – to taste
  9. A pinch of sugar
  10. Italian herbs (optional)
  11. Chilli flakes (optional)
  12. Parmesan cheese – freshly grated


• Rinse and trim the asparagus; cut into short sections.
• Heat olive oil in a pan and lightly fry the garlic till golden brown.
• Add the asparagus and toss for a few seconds. Then add the cherry tomatoes and cook further on high heat for a few seconds. Next add the canned tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add a pinch of sugar and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes.
• Cook linguine in salted boiling water; reserve a bit of the water in which the pasta was cooked, drain the remaining and add to the simmering sauce. Use the reserved pasta water to loosen up the sauce if it feels too thick.
• Grate fresh Parmesan cheese on top and season with Italian herbs and chilli flakes.
• Serve warm.

Linguine with Asparagus and Tomato - Meatless Monday cannot get more delicious -

Linguine with Asparagus and Tomato - Meatless Monday cannot get more delicious -


Pasta Fantastico (Prawn, snow peas and chilli penne)

Pasta is a family favourite and all of us love to devour it in any shape, style and sauce. Back in India, my knowledge of cooking pasta dishes was minimal and it was typically called ‘white sauce pasta’ and ‘red sauce pasta’ – the Italian culinary terms were beyond me!

After coming down to Australia, I started preparing more styles of pasta dishes especially recipes which hardly uses any sauce at all. This recipe was such a find in a popular magazine out here. And like its name, the dish was simply fantastic, easy to prepare, light and delicious….…..the fresh crispness of the snow peas works wonderfully with the slightly spicy warm prawn flavour. A perfect winter-warmer!

Prawn Fantastico -


Recipe adapted from Woman’s Day Magazine


  1. Penne– 500 gm
  2. olive oil – 4-5 tbsp
  3. garlic – 2 cloves, crushed and chopped
  4. Prawns – 500 gm, deveined and cleaned well
  5. snow peas – 100 gm, trimmed
  6. sweet chilli sauce – 1 tbsp
  7. Italian dried mixed herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano) – 1 tsp
  8. chilli flakes – 1 tsp (more for serving)
  9. salt; to season


1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water according to packet instructions, drain (reserve half a cup of pasta water) and keep aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan on medium. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add prawns and cook, tossing, for 2-3 minutes, until they change colour. Then add the dried herbs, chilli flakes and sweet chilli sauce; continue to cook till the prawns are almost done.
3. Add the snow peas and cook for another minute (dont overcook the snow peas)
4. Add the pasta to the pan, season with salt and toss to combine. Add some of the reserved pasta water if it feels too dry.
5. Serve warm with a pinch of chilli flakes and a drizzle of olive oil on top.



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