That day started with a lengthy discussion on pasta shapes and poor tuna simply got named and ended up getting mashed! Specky said, ‘You must really try preparing a pasta dish. These are easy and I’ll know you’re eating something during the days I’ll be gone for my conference.’
I nodded my head and moodily replied, ‘I know pastas come in all shapes and sizes. But they’re all the same, aren’t they?’ She didn’t answer but went to the PC and opened up an entire chapter on pastas. I learned that day that Lasagna was pasta… that Macaroni too was another type of pasta… that even Spaghetti and Vermicelli were one of their kin! Penne and Penne Rigate fascinated me as they were the ones I had met most often. Ziti emerged as the most intriguing name and I voted Riccioli as the most romantic name. Finally, I needed to choose a couple of these shapes for my pasta dish and I chose Farfalline and Penne Mostaccioli.
‘Hmm… this part is over,’ said Specky, ‘and fortunately we have a stock of both the shapes you’ve chosen. So what will the final dish be?’
‘Something creative and innovative,’ I answered, wanting our lunch that day to have a bit of mystery.
For the simpler folk, I had decided to prepare a Tuna-Pasta Salad… but the twist was to come towards the end when I decided I’d add a fistful of masala boondi and give it a crunchiness that should push any salad out of a boring existence! Yes, the addition of boondi would not let this dish remain a favourite of the health conscious people, but then I said to myself, ‘What is life without a bit of smiling indulgence?’
So, a smiling indulgence it was to be.
The ingredients included:
2 tins of Tuna as I was preparing this dish for 4 people
Cooked pasta just enough for four, as we were expecting 2 guests
2/3 tbps of olive oil
A clove of garlic
Yogurt, the one any Indian home has
Steamed corn and steamed peas (obviously, I opted for the frozen variety and had to defrost and steam them)
Salt and pepper (Frankly, I’d have loved to added a magnanimous helping of oregano too, but didn’t)
The last one is crunchy masala boondi that would give my dish its creative twist!
The entire time spent in the kitchen that day was around 45 minutes and this included all the defrosting and steaming that was going on. The cooking involved a lot of mixing and, believe me, this needs to be done with care or there will be lumps of masala or pepper which would win you a lot of ‘you’re no good’ stares! So do your mixing with care! I mixed the boiled and then cooled pasta with steamed corn, steamed peas that had already been cooled and introduced to a paste that had mashed garlic, olive oil, yogurt and the salt and pepper. Mashed Tuna was added and the entire bowl slid into the freezer for a chilling time!
These salads are best enjoyed when they are chilled to the core… and this is precisely what I had done. The final step was to add the masala boondi which I did with my heart going lub-dub lub-dub!
‘Aha! So the chef has a delicious salad for us,’ said one of the guests with a naughty smile.
I said nothing and allowed them all to discover the innovative touch to my dish. ‘Hmm… I love this crunchiness,’ said a guest, ‘it makes me feel that even mashed tuna is tapping its feet in pleasure!’
I sighed in relief and poised my fork for my first mouthful!
And, by the way, did I tell you that I had to write a doodle recipe of this dish for the guests… they insisted they wanted one. So here is a picture of that doodle-recipe for you all:
11 October 2013