There are times, when you stumble in at home at 6 pm, and you feel like you’ve just fought the world. Your face is dark, your bag seems twice its initial weight, and your body just wants to collapse on the bed like tomorrow is the start of the weekend. At such times, all you want is your mum to cook for you, and serve you a hot meal as you freshen up and step into your comfort clothes.
It is at times like those, you should count your lucky stars if you happen to be male. For it is only then, your mum will be more than glad to cook you anything you demand for. But I have somehow always been excused off this pleasure. Whenever I stumble into the house, with a dark face, and worn out Kolhapuris and yell out into the house for my mother to cook me something fresh and hot, she’ll yell back with a “I had a long day in school. Please scrounge up something for yourself. I think there is Maggi in stock.”
A major “Ugggh!” moment. Because there are sometimes, Maggi just doesn’t cut it. So I gear myself for one last fight for the day, and fall back on my faithful Pasta with Tomato Sauce, which never fails to make me feel warm and good from the inside, and doesn’t take longer than 15 minutes to cook. And also, did I mention, it is gloriously delicious?
Pasta with Tomato Sauce
Serves : 2 (Or one very hungry kid)
Difficulty : Easy Peasy. When that MS fellow in Amreeka can make it too, why can’t you?
Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cook time : 15 minutes.
- 1 medium Onion
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 medium tomato
- Tomato Puree
- Just less than 1/2 a cup of Cream (Healthy Substitution – Plain Milk)
- Oregano, or just mixed Italian herbs.
- 1-2 tbsp of sugar
- Pasta! (Any kind you like!)
Taking wise advice from Julie Andrews, lets start from the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start.
First, in a big enough vessel, you need to cook the pasta first. So fill 3/4th of the vessel with water, and throw in the pasta.
(Quick tip – Add a tbsp of salt here, it quickens up the whole the process, and drop in a few drops of oil at the top, so the pasta doesn’t stick to each other after it’s cooked.)
After about 10 odd minutes, it’ll looked cooked through. Like this.
Pick up a a spoon full, pinch it to see if it’s cooked through. If not, let it be for another few minutes. When done, drain!
See how none of it sticks together? The oil works! *air punch*
Getting back, chop your onion and tomato as fine as you can manage, while you place another pan on the stove. Add about 2 tbsp of olive oil into the pan, and wait for it to heat up.
Place a hand above the pan, once the heat starts hitting your hand, throw in the chopped onions, and stir stir stir!
Once its nicely coated with oil, get hold of your cloves of garlic and the grater. If you are as lazy as me, grate the garlic directly over the pan. Else if you’re more comfortable by doing this grating process before hand, no issues.
But directly grated garlic does absolutely help your pasta transcend into a totally different plane of epic.
Okay, kidding. But lazy is, as lazy does. I shall leave this decision up to you.
Now, stir stir stir, till it all becomes amazingly golden.
At this point, throw in the chopped tomato (The day I made this, there were no tomatoes at home, so I skipped this step. Though tomatoes do add amazing body to the sauce, so I suggest you don’t skip them unless you have no other choice.)
*Imagine a photo where I add in chopped tomatoes*
And then, add about 125- 150 gms of tomato puree into the pan. (Your usual tetrapack of tomato puree is 200 gms, so add in about 3/4th of the pack.)
Mix it around. Let it boil, and bubble. Let it do its thing. In about a minute or so, add in the sugar. The sugar helps balance the acidity of the tomato puree. Do not skip the sugar I tells ya.
Oh yes, also, through in some Mixed Italian herbs. Gives it that authentic touch. Just Oregano will do too.
Now, the sinful act begins.
If you’re the kind of person, who calls gluttony their sin, please do yourself a favour and pour in the cream into this mixture.
But then again, if you are the kind of person who calls gluttony their sin, and then are absorbed with guilt for indulging in such dairy products, or just want to be healthy, substitute this cream with plain milk.
I am trying to be healthy, yes.
Now once you stir the dairy product in, the fiery red colour will soon transform into this beautiful orange hue.
And then, dairy product number two strolls in.
Grate in the amount of cheese that feels right for you. Everyone has their Cheese coefficient. (You know what I’m talking of)
Inhale the tomato cheese smell which hits you right about now.
Watch the cheese sink.
Now, finally, dump in the boiled pasta!
Fold it in with the sauce. Make sure it is all coated with the sauce uniformly.
Then let it be on the heat for another minute or two. Take it off the heat.
And plate up!
Garnish with coriander, and a sprinke of Oregano if you have the patience.
And then you know what to do. Just dig in.
Reassuring, and hot. Sigh.
Just how I like it.